We’ve seen reasoned discourse rearing it’s ugly head again, both in the comment section (comments go most recent first, rather than last, start at the end to see the anti-gun commenters) of the LA Times story I linked to earlier, and also at this place, which Dave Hardy linked to over the weekend.Â You’ll notice that, for the most part, our side is appearing with facts, and reasonable arguments, and their side is slinging personal insults, stereotypes, and various other manners of prejudices.
I think the reason for the vitriol is that we have unwittingly hit on a nerve.Â The LA Times article presented gun owners in a human light.Â For those who have their identities wrapped up in who they are not, which is ignorant, paranoid, rednecks compensating for some kind of inadequacy and reacting to an irrational fear of crime stoked by the right wing establishment, it’s horribly destabilizing to a smug sense of self to read that those types of people might actually have things in common with you.Â They may even have a serious point of view!
No, no.Â Can’t have that.Â That’s a threat to our every sense of superiority.Â Â Those aren’t people.Â Those are paranoid knuckle draggers.Â Â Real people are enlightened.Â Real people don’t feel a need to carry a gun to the grocery store.Â The reason they hate articles like this is because it makes them face an unpleasant reality; we’re ordinary people, and we’re getting better at getting that message out.
We dominate, and are courageous in new media.Â They can’t come here without dealing with us.Â Folks like we’ve seen on the LA Times comment page avoid the gun blogosphere like the plague, because if they spent enough time with us, they’d realize we’re not easily crammed into the nice box they’ve made for us in their narrow minds.Â One thing I’ve often pondered about the Brady Bunch, is that I know they read gun blogs, so they surely have to know us to some degree.Â Â I’ve joked often that they believe we’re shills of the NRA, but in reality I don’t think it’s a joke.Â They really believe that.Â They have to believe that.Â They’ve spent their whole careers battling NRA as an evil monolith representing the powers of darkness.Â If we don’t fit neatly into that, well then hell, what have they been doing with their whole career?Â That’s why I often get upset with people like for doing the same thing to the other side, because it lets them off easy.Â If we fit the stereotype of everything they want to believe, it’s easy for them to justify to themselves why we have to be steamrollered.
We do not have to demonize the other side in order to have persuasive arguments.Â We don’t need to do it to feel right, because we’re not advocating that people’s freedoms be taken away.Â We’re the people who want to be able to keep shooting competitively with an AR-15s.Â We’re the people who don’t want to have to wait 10 minutes for the police to show up when seconds count.Â We’re the people who think our constitution means something.Â I think we ought to have the courage to be able to stand up to the other side, as fellow citizens, and say “Sorry, you’re wrong, and here’s why.”Â That is our power.Â The other side can’t do that, and it shows in how they approach the issue.
What we ideally want is for the Brady Campaign to have a hard time retaining qualified staff, because their hearts just aren’t in it anymore.Â Let them move on to other progressive causes, or the for-profit sector.Â Politics isn’t war.Â Sometimes you can win by humanizing yourself to the other side.Â Ultimately we will win by breaking down stereotypes and fighting ignorance, just like every other civil rights movement in recorded history.Â The Black Panthers didn’t end Jim Crow, that was ended by African Americans humanizing themselves to America, and demanding fair treatment.Â The lesson is already there in history if we’re willing to follow it.