Ironically, the vituperative howls of indignation from the “pragmatics”–the calls to silence us less “polite” gun rights advocates (good luck with that, by the way) are what kept this issue on the front burner, and provoked us to dig in our heels. It’s “gun rights advocates” volunteering to shoot us, who make us all the more determined.
Invectives were definitely flying from both sides in what is, obviously, a highly emotionally charged topic. My initial reaction to the letter was emotional as well. But I am not looking for a new enemy to fight. I don’t really consider Kurt, David, or even Mike an “enemy.” I have strong disagreements with them on methods, but in the end, I recognize we have common goals, and common foes.
As much as I’d like to say we should all just be able to get along, the fact is, we won’t always. We will have disagreements, and we will air disagreements, and invectives will fly. As I said last night in the show, one of the advantages the anti-gun folks have over us is solid control of their message. Because they have no substantive grass roots, they get to have these arguments behind closed doors where only people like Mary McFate get to hear them. Because we are a grass roots movement, we don’t get that luxury, so arguments over tactics and messaging happen out in the open where everyone can see it.
But you know what? I wouldn’t trade our grassroots for what the anti-gun folks have. I think people on both sides of the gun rights debate need to step back, and realize these squabbles are going to happen, and they shouldn’t be taken too personally. As much as it might seem, no one really expects the other side to just shut up and go away, and I’m not sure our movement would be better off if people did. I’ve heard more than a few people ask “Can’t we all just get along?” To which, I’m afraid, the answer is no. But I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing.