The Activists Commeth

One thing that’s always shocked me is that, from what I’ve been able to tell, the vast majority of activists on the other side are people who are channeling their grief into the movement to ban or severely limit gun rights. We would seem to have the first of what no doubt will be many gun control activists created by this high profile tragedy.

It’s not uncommon, and certainly not limited to gun policy in this country. Many individuals who lost loved ones to lung cancer have gone on to become anti-smoking crusaders, for instance. Bitter and I both lost parents, hers arguably to smoking and poor lifestyle choices, and mine to breast cancer. This kind of channeling grief into activism is a difficult thing for both of us to understand, and I’ve pondered why some people channel their grief into public activism while others either don’t get the idea or are put off by it. I tend to have a negative view of channeling grief into activism, no matter what the activism, because when I went through it, I didn’t think it was the world’s duty to revolve around what I was going through, and what happened to my mother.

That’s one reason I’m not a huge breast cancer advocate, nor is Bitter an anti-smoking activist. Lots of diseases kill people, and breast cancer being a leading killer, will always get research money, mostly because big, evil pharma companies want to make money selling those treatments. Bitter, similarly, views her father’s poor lifestyle choices as just that, his choice.

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Arizona, I feel for the victims, but particularly the ones who don’t want their grief made into a public spectacle. If I were in that situation, I would deeply resent the news coverage, and attempts by groups to try to manipulate my circumstances for their own gain in the public arena. If I spoke out, it would only be to condemn them.

9 thoughts on “The Activists Commeth”

  1. I dunno why being somewhat effected by something suddenly makes you a policy expert on it.

    My car was totaled when a deer hit it. This does not make me an expert on wildlife management.

  2. Spade: suffering from an event may cause a person to read up on the issue, and see what can be done about it.

    But emotional linkages to causes rarely cause a person to study conflicting claims or potential bad side-effects of their proposed cure.

    Example: last time I visited a County-level political convention, some protester was wandering around with a poster-size photo of a bloody deer carcass. She was against the hiring of firms to selectively thin out deer herds in suburban areas, and claimed that car/deer collisions could be reduced by other means.
    She had no clue about the problems of overgrazing, or any idea how many deer were in the suburb in question or how many car/deer collisions happened every year. All she knew was that she detested the thought of these people being hired to Shoot Bambi, and Bambi would suffer horribly.

    I found myself unable to talk with this protester for more than five minutes.

    Thus my comment above: it is very hard for an emotionally-driven-advocate to become a good debater on the subject in question.

  3. An aside: why is it that a gun-control advocate is For Increased Gun Control, but a breast-cancer advocate is not For Increased Breast Cancer Incidence?

    That quirk of language bugs me, but it apparently doesn’t bug most people…

  4. I see most of them as attention whores with little-to-no scruples. I say this because most of them target laws that weren’t relevant to their case, but they still use the name of the injured or departed as leverage, nor do they seem concerned when the laws don’t work as they claim.

    There are blood dancers, and then there are these people.

  5. You might want to put quote around “evil” when describing pharma companies. Yes they make money doing what they do. But that’s not evil. And since their product is purposed to enhance quality of life or save it… that’s not too evil either. If they invent a pill that cures cancer tomorrow and want to charge $50k for it, well that’s a bargain.

  6. I thought the context made it obvious it was sarcasm. And for those who know me better, it would mean I’m evil, since I work in the industry.

  7. My father died from Parkinson’s Disease. It is a cruel illness, as is the treatment. It may be hereditary with me in its sights. But although I enjoyed him as an actor, I really have little sympathy for Michael J. Fox’s efforts to extort tax money from me to solve his personal problem.

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