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On Strategy and Tragedy

A few people seem to be offended that I’m not jumping right into the fight, in regards to a previous post I have done suggesting that going around advocating we arm teachers isn’t really going to win any hearts and minds, especially in the immediate aftermath of a horrific event like this. While we have made a lot of advances in the culture in regards to our issue, we have not yet made quite enough progress that such a thing can be seriously proposed. Diving right into the fight does not feel instinctively right to me, nor does it seem like wise strategy.

Why do I think this? How many states have successfully passed laws easing restrictions on permit carriers in Universities? In the wake of Virginia tech, this was tried, in several states, and we got our asses handed to us in notorious anti-gun legislatures such as Texas and Virginia, and a gubernatorial veto in Arizona by the same governor who signed the right-to-carry without a permit. We’re talking here about schools full of adults, and we can’t get it done. Removing gun free school zones for primary and secondary schools is up there with legalizing machine guns in terms of “culture just isn’t there yet” issues.

When I speak of now not being the time for politics, that’s not a capitulation. It not only makes us look decent, it’s a smart strategy. The big issue you have in the wake of a tragedy like this is that the “something must be done” crowd is going to demand that, well, something be done. Remember that in the wake of Virginia Tech, the gun control organizations were shouting from the rooftops and pushing their whole agenda, but before the (then Democratic) Congress could really get any momentum on it, the “Something must be done” crowd was appeased by what, on balance, was able to be made into a pro-gun bill. That bill  encouraged states to report more mental health adjudications to NICS (which most of them haven’t lifted a finger to do for various reasons, including state privacy laws) in exchange for turning mental health prohibitions on gun ownership from lifetime prohibitions to prohibitions one could petition to have lifted. I can promise you that the Bradys were less than happy with that bill, but they had no choice but to get behind it. It offered Congress a way to please the “Something must be done!” crowd, and go back to their shocked and horrified constituents and tell them what a wonderful thing they did. A lot of people were upset with NRA for floating that bill, but it staved off the possibility we were going to get something far worse as a result of Virginia Tech. In my opinion, it was a brilliant maneuver on NRA’s part to keep the bad bills from moving in a Democratic Congress whose leadership was hostile to civilian gun ownership.

So what is going to be the issue to hit the “Something must be done” crowd this time? I spent a lot of time looking through posts on social media, seeing what my family is saying, seeing what my former schoolmates are saying, childhood friends, coworkers, etc. Most of these folks are ordinary people, and not activists or bloggers, or political junkies. There are some talking about gun control, but I don’t see people shouting from the rooftops. The vast majority are just shocked, horrified, and upset. If you hit them with “Arm teachers!” you’re going to turn them off. They’ll stop listening to you. But one message is definitely out there, and that’s the colossal failure that is our current mental health system. If you want people not thinking gun control is the solution, that’s the policy point to make. I know a lot of libertarians are uncomfortable with this, but it’s going to come down to a choice: either we hospitalize the most seriously mentally ill, or we turn the rest of the country into a low level padded cell where no one can have dangerous or sharp objects. The vast majority of the population who are not libertarian will likely force this choice.

Plus, fixing the mental health system, unlike gun control, has a prayer of actually making a difference. This guy committed his horrific act in Brady #5 ranked state Connecticut. Connecticut requires a permit to purchase a handgun and has a statewide assault weapons ban. Connecticut also has a safe storage law. I also heard that the shooter tried to buy a gun and was denied by NICS. Neither of these laws stopped the shooter, because he murdered his mother and stole her guns. Many of us responsibly keep our guns under lock and key, but if someone murders us and gets the key, there’s no gun control law in the universe that’s going to prevent those guns from falling into the wrong hands. If lunatics are going to keep getting a hold of guns, and as long as lunatics roam the streets, they will, we have to have solutions, and win over the public, most of whom think “something must be done!” from those who will propose more gun control as the solution. In this vein, I think every gun owner needs to read Clayton’s book, My Brother Ron. We do not live in a world where people are going to watch 20 kindergarteners brutally murdered, along with their teachers, and the response is going to be “C’est la vie.” Events like this, in one day, can erase years of cultural progress if we don’t play our cards well.

38 Responses to “On Strategy and Tragedy”

  1. MicroBalrog says:

    I disagree with Sebastian on the whole ‘the culture is not there’ yet, but jumping in and starting to advocate armed teachers doesn’t sound like the right tactic to me. Mostly because I despise tragedy-exploitation.

    • Harold says:

      In the face of the evidence he’s cited, why do you think this situation or this time is different. I’ll grant you that for K-12 we’re not talking about students being armed, but otherwise?

    • Patrick H says:

      I think its the right time. Its a solution. Many times after this, they are offering “solutions.” All we have is “Well, bad guys do things. More laws wouldn’t have helped. Guns saves lives.” That’s not solutions, its a counterargument. I’m sure if you present it right, by making them think of themselves in the situation, or a loved one, and asked “Wouldn’t you like to have had a gun?”- it might make them change their mind.

      Its time to go on the offense, instead of just being defensive.

      • Harold says:

        I don’t know, asking the public school system to be more responsible for their charges when they’re failing to teach them to read or do math due to ideological reasons … well, we can ask/demand.

        We do now have a good case to make, there have been enough incidents, enough slaughters in “gun free” schools and colleges. One almost happened in my home town, fortunately the middle school delinquent didn’t know how to seat an AK-47 pattern magazine, his first and only shot hit the ceiling, then a (male) principal or vice-principal was able to tackle him as he futilely pulled the trigger.

  2. MicroBalrog says:

    Naturally, of course, I believe teachers should be able to be armed on the job just like anyone else. Perhaps there are some organizations that have an angle towards promoting that viewpoint – tactically, it would make sense for these groups to be made out of actual teachers. But I think as individual civil rights advocates who don’t have a large soap box we shouldn’t wade out arguing this on FB and such platforms in the wake of the tragedy. It’s neither fun nor is it productive.

  3. NukemJim says:

    I believe your are correct in your judgement on this issue.

    As for losing on university carry I believe the reason is that “We’re talking here about schools full of adults,” is an debatable statement. The majority of people in a US university are under age 21. They have some of the legal rights of adults but not all. The age of majority being lowered to 18 was a political trick used to help reduce opposition to the Vietnam War. Objective fMRI and PET scans have shown that the human brain does not fully mature till around 24-25 in most people. Also the way that some of the students behave usually convinces school employees that the students are indeed children.

    It is my understanding that there are 7 colleges that allow CCW in the US. I doubt that they have had a problem in reality.

    But as we all know in politics belief > reality.

    NukemJim

    • Harold says:

      Errr, aren’t all the public colleges in Colorado and Utah covered? The latter by fairly recent state court decisions? That’s a lot more than 7….

      • Sebastian says:

        I believe Colorado and Utah were both court decisions, but I’m not 100% sure about Utah.

        • Alpheus says:

          For public institutions, it’s legal to carry, although the University of Utah has been known to be guilty of a few shinanigans.

          I would also point out that, while it’s true that humans don’t fully mature until about 25, it’s also true that there have been times when six year olds have carried rifles with them (albeit, typically “only” .22LR); I see no reason why some twelve year olds couldn’t be taught to be responsible enough to carry, particularly when they are old enough to handle dangerous power tools, after being given adequate instruction.

          But, in any case, we’ve had Campus Carry for several years, and we haven’t had any problem. Whether we can convince the public to allow it, is a different matter, and certainly it’s politically untenable to allow twelve-year-olds the right to carry. (L. Neil Smith wrote an essay that convinced me that there really isn’t any reason NOT to train twelve year olds on how to use guns, and then allow them to carry them.)

  4. jbiros says:

    I agree.
    They are going to introduce all kinds of draconian bills.
    The best we can do is to attempt to guide the discussion to ways that will make a difference.
    Reports I read say an M-4 style rifle was found in his car.this means that it was not one of the murder weapons.Yet a new AWB is already being discussed.
    It only limits the law abiding of course but our adversaries will “feel” good about it.
    I really think that this was just an evil event and evil sometimes happens.
    I also think the 24/7 barrage of coverage only gives ideas to others that are sick enough to want their 15 min of fame and want to go down in ablaze of glory.
    I don’t of course want to censor coverage of the tragedy, they have a Right to report.
    I think there are many little contributing factors that add up to create the perfect storm.
    Was his mental health properly addressed? Was he abused/bullied in any way? Was he exposed to violence through violent video game so that he was desensitized to the outcome ? ( I realize violent games are not thought to be a contributing factor, but if your child has mental health issues maybe exposing them to violence is not the best thing. A person with a normal mental capacity knows right from wrong,real from fantasy.)
    all these things need to be looked into and can actually make a difference.
    Thanks for letting me vent
    J.

    • Harold says:

      Errr, the “.223 Bushmaster” has been reported to be found in the car, but .223 brass was reported to be found in the school and the local medical examiner (who isn’t doing all the autopsies) reported that all the children he examined were shot at least twice with a .223 (that’s my memory of what he said, he determination of caliber is probably from what was found at the scene and the difference between those sorts of wounds and 9 mm from handguns). 3 or 4 guns at the scene have variously been reported.

      • Ash says:

        Sebastian is right that arming teachers is not, will not and will never be a solution. My sample of social media is showing a focus on the guns, not mental health. It’s a little disingenuous for anyone who opposed Obamacare anyway. Frankly all of my conservative and 2A friends are MIA on Facebook right now.

        The killer used four commonly available weapons. Two handguns, an AR and a shotgun. There is video of a Saiga type shotgun being removed from the car after darkness fell, and the medical examiner said the majority of the shootings were .223.

        There will be no discussion about gun control – we are about to have a raft of federal and state gun control rammed down our throat and there is nothing our side can do about it.

        • Harold says:

          It’s a little disingenuous for anyone who opposed Obamacare anyway.

          Huh? It’s been a traditional duty of “society”/the government to take care of the severely mentally ill for a very long time. Certainly by the time colonists came over here (Clayton has documented this).

          We non-libertarians on this issue in fact are rather upset that the government has switched from an emphasis on this and other age old duties to things that buy more votes, like transfer payment. I can’t help but note that the first wave of deinstitutionalization has significant overlap with the Great Society. (There’s a second one of the “mentally deficient” or whatever is the PC term nowadays that followed a decade and a half later, and continues to this day at least in my home state of Missouri.) It’s also been noted that states could shift much of the obvious financial burden from themselves to Federal SSI payments….

          There will be no discussion about gun control – we are about to have a raft of federal and state gun control rammed down our throat and there is nothing our side can do about it.

          Don’t know about that, but if it happens it will end the Republican party, which BTW has more state level power than it’s had since the ’20s.

          • Alpheus says:

            As an anarcho-capitalist, I’d rather go with a completely private solution to detaining dangerous mentally ill patients, as well as those who aren’t necessarily dangerous, but can’t take care of themselves, whose families do not have the means to take care of them.

            Having said that, since we *have* a government, that government has placed rules upon us that make such a private solution very difficult, if not impossible. We could argue whether or not those rules need to be in place, but it doesn’t matter: they are there, and to a certain extent, they even limit what government itself can do.

            As a pragmatic anarcho-capitalist, I understand that my desire to have no government, whether or not it would work, is simply politically untenable, too. If we’re going to instist on having a government, then I’m going to insist that it limit its duties to as small a scope as possible. ObamaCare, which is a great intrusion on private insurance, is certainly not in that scope! But handling mentally ill patients is.

        • Sebastian says:

          I tend to agree with Harold, in that I view the mental health system as separate from health care in general. The public interest in state mental hospitals is the same as that for prisons; you have people who need to be separated from society for the safety of society. But mental health issues are a different animal from criminal issues. The dangerously mentally ill need to be separated from society, but it is not right to use the prison system to do this.

          • Harold says:

            It’s inhumane to put them in prison, plus they obviously have to commit a serious crime first if it’s going to keep them out of circulation for any length of time. To continue to disambiguate it from Obamacare et. al., it serves as a public good as well as a private one, and the former is enough justification.

            The other reason is well covered in the most recent posting linking to a mother’s experience with an impossible child, it’s just too much of a burden on a single family. Especially if the patient is male the physical disparity or simple dangerous parity becomes an issue soon enough, and the child may well outlive his parents. And of course prior to the ’50 we had no cures; unfortunately for this mother, her child has a condition that’s incurable to date. Even if there was a medication that controlled the problem, she will not be able to force him to take it once he becomes an adult.

        • Patrick H says:

          Sebastian is right that arming teachers is not, will not and will never be a solution.

          Why not?

          • Alpheus says:

            I don’t think Sebastian said that arming teachers will never be a solution. But he’s right that it probably isn’t a politically tenable one right now.

            It’s too pessimistic to say it would never be possible. For that matter, Texas is taking steps to arm teachers right now. At a minimum, Texas will demonstrate that arming those who are responsible for our children’s education won’t result in blood-baths; from there, we could discuss arming teachers in other states…

            But it’s going to take time for this to propagate through the culture!

            • Sebastian says:

              No, I am definitely not saying it should be ignored entirely. Our main trust needs to be to get the “something” in “something must be done” off guns and onto something else. This is also good policy too, because something else might actually work better at preventing this kind of thing.

              Long term we keep fighting gun free zones. I’m just not convinced in the wake of a tragedy is the time to be emphasizing it. Discussing it yes. But it’s a tertiary point. See Dave Kopel’s WSJ article. It was the last thing mentioned. The rest of his article was educating people, and making them aware of facts. Bringing up the gun free zone argument grossly misunderstands how informed the average person is in this debate. Most people have never given any thought to gun policy at all, so education on the very basics is key.

              • Patrick H says:

                I’ve come around to this too. I think it needs to be mentioned along with gun free zones, but as a third point. I think it needs to be entered into the conversation, as one of those long term “let’s get it out there and into the public mindset” kind of things. It helps that both Texas and Tennessee are considering it.

                I think the CCW movement is a good basis for that- a slow changing of minds that leads to law change. We didn’t get 42 states of shall issue overnight. It was a slow process that started in one state, with lots and lots and lots of education. Then once one state does it, and there aren’t any problems, we can get another state, then another state.

                But I think mental health reform should be our focus.

      • jbiros says:

        Reports I read stated that the .223 was found in the car.
        One of the problems with constant coverage is inaccuracy.
        guess we will have to see when they release actual reports

        I suppose the 4th gun could also have been a .223 if there was a forth.

  5. I disagree. When we have a US Congressman going on the news, nearly in tears, saying that he wishes the principal had an M4 instead of her bare hands, I think the culture has shifted.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/12/16/gohmert-i-wish-to-god-connecticut-principal-had-an-m4-assault-rifle/

    Sebastian, you seem to be objecting to the style, not the substance. Larry Pratt can come across like a jerk. I think that this video of Congressman Gohmert will hit in a far different way.

    The average person can’t be expected to think outside of the box that he’s been given. The average non gun person can’t be expected to understand and accept a logical pro-rights argument that he never hears. We have to make sure that he hears that argument. That’s the only way that the box gets shifted. We need to move the limits of debate.

    • Sebastian says:

      It’s a positive sign, but one Congressman in an R+21 district doesn’t represent a cultural shift, it represents a Congressman who can get out there ahead of the culture because he’s in an absolutely safe seat.

      Through the history of Congress, there were always members who were willing and able to get far out there ahead of the culture. There have even been Congressmen who were in such safe districts they could afford say things that put them in outer orbit. Bob Dornan was a walking set of whacked out beliefs which he was never afraid of parroting to anyone who’d listen.

      I’m not saying Gohmert is anything close to Dornan, or that his positions are, but it illustrates that Congressmen in safe districts don’t have to necessarily be where the culture is, or advocate for things that are achievable. I can promise you that Gohmert is saying this because many in his home district will feel better about him that he said it, and not because he’s planning to float a repeal of the GFSZA. That’s distinct from what we need to advocate to the rest of the public in order to, short term, deflect whatever bad is going to come our way, and try to destroy any cultural progress we’ve made on taking this issue into the mainstream, and, long term, continue on the path to get the culture where we want it to be, and it seems to me before you can push letting teachers carry, you have to be able to win in colleges and universities, and we’ve shown few signs we can win on that issue.

  6. Richard says:

    What you are talking about here is not strategy but tactics. Not that there is anything wrong with that but there is an important strategic question too. Our whole approach (magic thinking about banning guns from places) to protecting people from dangerous people is a failure. Unless we change something basic, atrocities like this are going to continue to happen which will leave us vulnerable to the more of the same approach from the anti-self defense forces. Maybe focusing on the mental health system as you suggest can help but your other post on this topic did not encourage me that that will work either. So that brings up the question of defensive action (aka arming teachers). Agree that the culture isn’t there yet but where was CCW 20 years ago. The cops can’t be everywhere so when something bad happens at a school or elsewhere, people are on their own for 5-15 minutes. Need more talk about Israeli methods. Process needs to start before the next outrage.

    • Sebastian says:

      The United States is not Israel. It’s something worth pointing out in a debate, but it’s not going to be adopted as policy, so I don’t think we should kid ourselves about what can be accomplished. We haven’t been able to get campus carry in places like Texas, Virginia and Arizona. How are we going to block what’s coming by proposing something even more impossible?

      • Richard says:

        Let me try again. Granted we are not Israel. Our failure to come up with an effective strategy on this problem is one example of that. We are not going to change the culture tomorrow. But neither was Marion Hammer when she started the modern concealed carry movement. I think that your mental health system approach has merit but it (and my approach) is not the only possible way to go. 30 years on from Marion Hammer’s initiative the culture has changed much for the better. We need to think long-term. Morally, as well as politically, we need to come up with something that actually works. Clearly, gun-free zones do not work.

        • Harold says:

          I disagree, not because either is a long slog—a NRA page said she worked for 7 years to get the Florida shall issue law passed—but because “teachers with guns” is by and large a new thing in America (did that even happen much in the days of the frontier?). Whereas shall issue is a renorming of the American tradition of going about armed, side tracked by campaigns against dueling, freedmen, less WASPy immigrants, and eventually all but the anointed.

          And looking and thinking about the dates, I’ll bet you an accommodation with the idea of blacks carrying guns was necessary for Florida, at least, to take that step.

          • Richard says:

            Perhaps but we need to come up with something that works or we wind up on the defensive every time the current policy fails again. We should not dismiss potential answers because they are hard. The mental health policy option is hard too. So is fixing the media.

  7. terraformer says:

    I disagree. The other side dances in blood all of the time and we cower like we need apologize for something. Feinstein is already pimping legislation and the media is howling in spite of calls by people not typically seen as pro-gun that we need to look at mental health.

    These people didn’t care when a mentally deranged lunatic threw a man in front of a train last week because a gun didn’t kill him. That’s what we are up against.

    • Sebastian says:

      I don’t think anyone is cowering here. It’s more like choosing the time and place to engage your opponent. Feinstein’s actions are predictable. The question is whether she can move legislation forward. That kind of thing will take some time to play out, and it’s not an immediate emergency. I am not advocating capitulation, I’m advocating not jumping into the fight rashly, and with arguments that can’t work, before we even really know what shape the battlefield is going to take.

  8. Dave says:

    When have we ever, as a lobby, capitalized on a tragedy? We haven’t, largely because a great deal of our side has failed to understand the mindset of our enemy, underestimated the determination of our enemy and looked down on their disdainful tactics. Then we wait until the discussion is already framed and those few on our side who do dare go out there and advocate for common sense loosening of firearm restrictions are scoffed at, ridiculed, criticized and marginalized.

    So the “something must be done” crowd get out their first, put their agenda on the table and the news media dutifully endorses it. A lot of times this view is the only view discussed. By the time the “correct time for the politics debate” crowd grant their approval for gun owners to talk, the conversation is over. This is why we have fought largely defensive battles – stemming the tide of restrictions, cutting the number of restrictions from legislation, passing laws that contain restrictions but offer some carrots to our side and the very, very, very few incidences of law, regulations or policy restrictions being repealed.

    A lot of us look down on the other side for their cheap, theatrical stunts and tactics like their post Virginia Tech “die ins”. VCDL had the best answer for this of any gun group I have seen to date. When the anti-gun lobby bussed in students for the post Virginia Tech lobby day at the General Assembly building, VCDL handed out guns save lives stickers to about 1/4 of them.

    When the “die in” happened, VCDL members got in front of the cameras with pro- gun signs completely obscuring the anti-gunners.

    As you can imagine, this infuriated the anti gun side and they complained to some legislators that they were threatened. Too bad for the antis that several VCDL members video taped the whole event, proving the anti-gun crowd to be full of liars.

    Oathkeepers put out a scathing editorial on the responsibility for this and tragedies before and it is worth the read. These tactics may offend some in the pro gun lobby, but our enemy has no compunction whatsoever about exploiting every single tragedy to ensure you are disarmed in equal victimhood with them. They want you and your family to be at risk.

    You can sit back and continue to think that these tactics are beneath gun owners if you want but doing so just makes it easier for the anti-gun lobby to triumph.

  9. David W. says:

    Aren’t mental health facilities just as stigmatized as guns in some circles? If not more so? It seems like every horror movie these days starts out near or around a mental health hospital where tortures and stuff happened.

    I think it would be better if we could lock the people who were completely insane up until they are better but I don’t know if its right to lock someone up just because they were born different and then you have the whole risk of eugenics but then the insane people could kill other people and how do you decide who deserves to live or get locked up in a situation where its two people who were just born different? When its an insane person its his brain that makes him do it, just like its our brains that makes us not be insane and you really can’t make a choice about which brain type you get when you’re born…

    Its like… Do we have a right to lock someone up, even if they are a potential danger to others, without them actually doing anything that’s dangerous to others? I mean, criminals (usually) make a choice about what they do that causes them to go to jail, but just being insane means you have no choice and its out of your control. But being locked up and medicated will help them live a more normal life but how are we to know if that is what the insane person wants? How do we decide who gets locked up and who’s okay to live with people?

    I don’t think I’m saying it right but there it is. Maybe you can understand it but I still feel iffy. I mean, if you can lock up an insane person for stuff out of his control, then you can lock up anybody for stuff out of their control like being black or asian or something and it just seems wrong somehow… Cept black people and asians aren’t dangerous unless they choose to be dangerous… Same with most people and an insane person can’t choose to be dangerous, he already is. But he might not do anything! I just don’t think I want the USA to lock people up for things they couldn’t change by themselves. It seems like a bad road to go down but one that may be necessary…

    God this stuff is complicated.

    • “God this stuff is complicated”

      It’s only complicated if you take Liberty seriously. If you respect your neighbor’s rights as much as your own it is complicated.

      Luckily for our enemies, they don’t believe in Liberty, so they don’t worry about the complications

  10. Roberta X says:

    Sebastian, as long as you are not sitting there with folded hands, waiting for an NRA position statement to be handed down from On High (and indeed, you are not; you’re online, addressing the situation), I don’t have a problem with you.

    I do have a problem with advocating sitting back while the antis are out there, all over the TV networks and Internet, pushing their deadly message. They need to be called on their lies and distortions before the get any traction. I disagree strongly with sitting back because it would be “unseemly.” If you don’t show up, you’re going to forfeit the game.

    I’d hate to strike out looking.

    • Sebastian says:

      My message isn’t really to sit back with folded hands. Probably more accurately, and maybe I haven’t gotten this across well, is to be careful about the kinds of arguments being made, and that sometimes it may be better to assess the battlefield a bit before committing the bulk of your forces. Not politicizing a tragedy doesn’t have to mean doing nothing, but it does foreclose on some lines of argument, and any argument that can make your average American think about handing out carbines to teachers is probably a non-starter.

      • Harold says:

        Well, given how people are misinterpreting what you’re saying, perhaps you should clarify.

        Perhaps say what we can do, and when, instead of lots of “we can’t/shouldn’t do this and that and another thing” per the comment of your’s that I’m replying to.

        Be specific; you are a political animal, and if your intuition is right, if the AP’s hopes are right, “Could shooting be a gun-control tipping point?“, we’re at a Dunblane/Port Arthur Armageddon point, now’s your time to shine.

        Our’s as well, our duty, all of us, but you’re the one with the political specialty, which is why this is one of the 4 gun blogs I regularly read (others are David Hardy’s, Clayton’s and John Richardson’s).

        As a concrete example, examination of the 1989 Stockton, CA Cleveland School massacre and reaction would probably be useful. Lots of parallels, except the state had no excuse for the mentally ill shooter not being locked up. 5 children killed, 29 others wounded plus a teacher, he used an assault rifle, etc.

        One thing I can see: the state was powerfully motivated to blame guns, since they’d completely failed in their duty to reign him in. He was even a legal gun owner, every crime of his had been plead down to a misdemeanor or less.

        Ah, from reading the above link I note that we’re also still living with Clinton’s executive order banning the importation of most PRC firearms and ammunition, the only anti-PRC act of his I can remember.

  11. ProdigalSon says:

    One thing that I have noticed in my own debates is that we are at a disadvantage due to our reliance primarily on logic and reasoning. Those who seek to “do something” use emotions like fear, powerlessness, and anger. They take the grief and use that as a weapon. We don’t have that advantage, and unfortunately, many people refuse to listen to such facts as rifles being less common murder weapons than hands and feet, because it doesn’t cause that knee-jerk fear emotional response that the antis can cause by scapegoating “assault weapons.” Most people, quite honestly, do not want facts, statistics, and logic. They just want to feel good about having “done something,” even if that something can be proven to not actually do anything.

    • Harold says:

      Unfortunately, the only emotional response I’ve come up with for that is “Sure, go ahead and start the 2nd American Civil War. My side has the guns, after all, and I will make a point of killing you, yes, you personally, if you’re anywhere around me, along with your family and your pets.” The family and pets bit is because their side has shown the same lack of restraint. Especially with dogs, the first shots at both Ruby Ridge and Waco were the Feds shooting dogs.

      Needless to say, this isn’t entirely constructive….

      There’s always the JPFO approach, but it’s clear the Shoah is old news and too much of the world is gearing up (cheering up?) for the next Holocaust centered on Israel with nukes. Although plenty of our possible allies in this country aren’t part of the last program and anyone who is will never support us, I suspect.

      Also, it’s hard to connect the dots between the heart wrenching WWII anecdotes like the one that got Neal Knox started to the “a rifle behind every blade of grass” don’t even think about it. One not related one was at the height of Watergate, when liberals were worrying about what Nixon might do (they’d demonized and dehumanized him since the late ’40s (sic)), and e.g. when one worried about him having the 82nd Airborne arrest the Congress, the reply was “Remind me again why gun control is a good idea?”

      There’s lots of nasty stories in more recent Socialist Worker’s Paradises, but they get good press (see the other topic with a link to the blog posting by a woman with an impossible child … who illustrates herself with a cartoon of her with an “I [heart] Che” and a black beret with a red star). And then there’s crimes against the truth like Spielberg’s airbrushing out how Schindler gave his Jews guns at the end. Or … some time ago there was a movie adaptation of a novel which had an important hinge point on a self-defense use of a gun; needless to say that was dropped. We’re fighting a culture war as well, or more likely, not fighting it and losing.

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