Armed and Safe takes issue with Uncle’s old post about a certain demographic of people who, politically, it is unwise to frighten.Â It is correct in one respect, that if we merely defer to people’s comfort level, we’ll end up like gun owners in the United Kingdom, who constantly did so, until that comfort level dropped to the point where sharp pointy things drive their political elite into hysterics.Â We absolutely can’t defer to people’s discomfort when that discomfort is caused by ignorance and unfamiliarity, as is quite often the case with our cause.
The problem we ultimately face is, more than half our population fall into the category of being completely ignorant of firearms, and the broader culture that surrounds them.Â In a representative form of government, this means we’re dependent on the acquiescence of this majority for the continued protection of that right.Â If we lose that acquiescence, even the second amendment will not practically be a barrier to them.
I see no reason to increase the inevitability of that by essentially writing off the majority of the population as unpersuadable and uneducatable, by not thinking about how to tailor the pro-gun and pro-self-defense message so that a majority buy-in to our ideas. If changes in polling on support for gun control and gun rights are any indication, 9/11 and Katrina did quite a lot to convince Americans of the need for self-protection.Â The gun rights side of the argument has been advancing, as people have seen Americans face situations where having a firearm might have been useful.
Uncle’s admonition shouldn’t be taken as a call to never push the boundaries, but it does suggest that attempting to crash through them can lead to disaster politically. The Civil Rights Movement committed to changing hearts and minds, and changing their political fortunes by working within the system.Â It is a tragedy that the role armed self-defense played in the Civil Rights Movement has largely been lost to history.Â We have to tell that part of the story.Â But if the Black Panthers, who called for settling the issue through violence, had been the public face of the Civil Rights Movement, it would not have garnered the support it needed from mainstream Americans in order to get the landmark civil rights rulings, and subsequent civil rights acts.
In a functional and stable Republic, which largely respects the basic rights of its people, the population is going to abhor violence, or the threat of violence, as a means to solve political problems.Â We’ve seen how well that type of system works in Iraq and Afghanistan.Â There has to be a balance in the gun rights movement between our public rhetoric and our private beliefs.Â If someone wants to polish their marksmanship, or learn about explosives, shaped charges, infantry tactics, and various other subjects, I think that’s their right as a free person.Â But the moment the public believes we gun folks are learning these things to use violence as a political tool they are going to want to disarm us all in order to preserve the stability of The Republic.