We Can’t Go Back to Sleep

CBS News: 2014 The Next Frontier in the Gun Control Battle:

As Democratic legislators search for a path forward, however, gun advocacy groups are zeroing in on the next phase of their campaign: Getting the gun bill “no” votes voted out of office in 2014.

“You wait until the next November,” warned New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in remarks on Thursday, of the lawmakers who voted against the Senate legislation. “How are they going to, a year from November when they’re running for election, answer, ‘Why didn’t you do something to stop that, senator? You had it in your power to do it, and you voted to keep the killing going.’ That can’t be good politics. It just can’t be.”

It is unfortunate, but we will need every warm body to act as a counterweight to Bloomberg’s deep pockets. They do have some things going against them. For one, most of the “no” votes on Manchin-Toomey come from states where Bloomberg’s ads will probably help the incumbent more than hurt them. Secondly, for the Democrat “no” votes, there are no good choices for Bloomberg. If you primary Mark Pryor with a gun control supporter, you’ll likely throw the election to the Republican, who will be just as pro-gun as Pryor. In many of these states, there really is no solution set that results in a gun control supporter winning a statewide election. The dynamic will be different in Congressional races, but Congress is not likely to have a vote, and the leadership isn’t vulnerable. Boehner’s district is R+14, and hasn’t elected a Democrat to Congress since 1936. Cantor’s district in Virginia hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since 1968, and Cook rates it R+11. This is not to say Bloomberg is not a factor, there will be plenty of politicians who will be tempted to run from us because of the money Bloomberg can pump into a race. Whether they do or not is going to depend on all of us.

20 Responses to “We Can’t Go Back to Sleep”

  1. Andy B. says:

    I guess this is tangential to the subject, but it is something that has been on my mind for a couple days now:

    FWIW I have been somewhat surprised at the volume of anti-gun comments from citizens I have been seeing in the public media, for example, my local newspaper. I haven’t kept count, but they appear to be outnumbering pro-gun comments. I’m sure some of these are part of organized campaigns, but still they surprise me.

    What I’m pondering is whether it would be tactically better to engage these people and their comments with counter-comments — given that nearly everything that can be said has been said — or to lay low, allow them to burn out, and maybe even assume they’ve won via “really telling us.”

    I think our conventional wisdom is, anti-gun citizens will not remain motivated as strongly or as long as we will. But keeping them engaged in argument may keep them motivated, when otherwise they will have lost their heat before 2014 gets here. Should we perhaps confine our efforts to backchannel, under-the-radar preparations for 2014, rather than keeping the enemy energized by “really telling them” public efforts?

    • Jack says:

      There’s also the question of low-information/non-engaged people. The media and the antis do their best to presetnt the issue as “settled” that’s why they get so angry when someone argues with them or a contrary viewpoint gets out.

      Ceeding the feild, even if it’s just the comments gives them more space. There is something to be said for denying the antis as many rhetorical safe places as possible.

      • Andy B. says:

        I’m just thinking out loud, without intending to be argumentative:

        I was once a frequent writer of LTEs, usually with the “Really Telling Them” and/or “Educating the Citizenry” motivation, until I decided that was usually a waste of time. Now if I do it, it is with the attitude that I am writing an open letter to the legislators who will read it, and what I say and how I construct it will be with that in mind.

        I have come to the opinion that “education” is usually a waste of time. Our problems are seldom voters that are “low information,” per se; it is that they’ve already chosen another source for their information, of which they have plenty, and it ain’t us. I again recall Mencken’s quote to the effect that “the problem isn’t that Americans don’t know enough, but that almost everything they do know is wrong.” We mostly do well talking to each other.

        A factor is that a high percentage of public comment exchanges descend to nothing more than name-calling, with too many (IMO) commenters on our side resorting to comments like “The trouble with you libbies is. . .” In other words, engaging in a team competition where everyone has already chosen sides, and name-calling will be guaranteed to reinforce team identification, no matter what facts are subsequently laid out. Whatever your team is for, has to be right, and whatever the other team is for is wrong, by definition. It is almost impossible to “educate” around that phenomenon.

        The trouble is, none of this is controllable by anyone except ourselves, as individuals, so, again emphasizing that I am only thinking out loud, I guess what I’m laying out here are some factors to think about, to decide for yourself how to do things. Is it better to keep the enemy awake and ranting in public, or for him to smugly take a nap while we are digging mines under his defenses, out of his sight?

        • Joe says:

          I think you bring up a good point though regarding the anti-gunners’ intensity leading up to 2014. In today’s 24-hour newscycle and average attention span of 15 minutes, the 2014 elections are an eternity away. A Gallup poll says only 4% of Americans view the gun issue as the most important thing today. With the direction this country is headed economically, if there’s no event comparable to Aurora or Newtown within the next year and a half, gun control will be an afterthought to the average multi-issue voter.

          So the question becomes who has more to lose by being the last one to continue shouting from the rooftops? IMO it might actually be a good tactic to let Bloomberg (who I suspect most of America outside of the coasts really don’t care for) beat the dead horse for the next year while there are clearly more pressing issues. Working behind-the-scenes to shore up the defenses election-wise while letting the anti-gunners continue to foam at the mouths publicly might actually backfire on them.

        • Alpheus says:

          I think this is an interesting idea. I don’t know if it’s a good one, but it’s certainly worthwhile to think about! For various reasons, I’m a little too burned out right now to think precisely about what is right and wrong with the proposal….

          Having said that, I agree that we should be leaving the name-calling out of it, but it nonetheless still warms my heart to see heated anti-gun rhetoric responded to with cool facts, particularly if the cool facts overwhelm a given anti-gun post.

          FWIW, I’m inclined to think that if our side remains reasonable, and uses both cool facts and appropriate emotionalism (I once pointed out, for example, that I don’t want to have to prove my “manhood”–nor should my wife have to–if there’s a rowdy, threatening person in our back yard); come to think of it, I think even “emotionalism” could be of the rational type!

          In any case, “Let them think they won” has a certain appeal to it. We should also be on our guard, and make sure we don’t fall for a similar trap…

      • Zermoid says:

        Personally I’ve quit talking to these nutjobs, it always ends up with them ignoring any facts you present and being insulted repeatedly.
        I’m reminded of the old saying, that “Yelling at you is less productive than yelling at the wall, at least the pores of the wood MIGHT absorb some of what I’m saying!”

        They refuse to even consider anything you say yet keep telling you that you should be open to new ideas……

        • Ethan says:

          That is because facts are largely irrelevant to the anti-gun crowd. They are emotionally invested in the issue. If there is any hope of convincing them (personally, I doubt it) then emotional arguments are the only way to go.

  2. Exurbankevin says:

    “We will need every warm body to act as a counterweight to Bloomberg’s deep pockets.”

    The anti-gunners use the murdered children of Newtown and other places as props.

    They rely on dead bodies to advance their cause. We rely on warm ones.

    • Zermoid says:

      I’m not sure if I even want to suggest this, but could we use their tactics to our advantage?

      As soon as there’s another shooting of innocents start pushing a “If only someone else had a gun to stop the killing, we need to relax the unnecessary restrictions on citizen’s rights to defend themselves” campaign.

      Yes, it’s disgusting to use the dead as a springboard, but it does seem to be effective. Thoughts?

      • Andy B. says:

        I’d say that is already done to some extent, and the problem is the usual one; those pre-inclined to accept the argument will, and those pre-inclined not to, will be unmoved. In other words, we are not talking so much about persuading much of the public, as we propagandizing (and I mean that in the most positive sort of way) those already inclined to side with us, to increase their motivation and commitment.

  3. Mininerd ISH says:

    Right-leaning politicians do tend to do better in midterms, bevthey social cons or tea party types… We got pounded into the ground by OFA, lingering Bushitler memes, and big money in the presidential election, but I expect 2014 to look a lot more like 2010 than 2012.

    By no means should we let our guard down, but this is ground more suited to Red Team than Blue.

  4. HappyWarrior6 says:

    Surprise, surprise. In one of the most anti-gun states of the union apparently the two Boston bombers did not get the right kind of handgun licenses. I’d love to hear the anti-gun folks spew some more rage-filled hatred on us about how permits simply could have “stopped” these guys from doing what they did…

    Considering the first crime they committed was considerably more horrific than, horror of horrors, daring to own firearms without the state’s permission, I fail to see how anyone could even begin to make the argument that tougher gun laws could have stopped this bombing. In fact, seeing as how these guys got some serious training and motivation from places unknown at this time, I fail to see how any gun laws would have even stopped them from obtaining guns in the first place.

    MAIG’s focus on technicalities like permits, background checks, records, etc. is wearing thin.

    • private says:

      Serious training? What ever give you that idea? These guys were bumbling idiots from start to finish. Trained warriors would have used more effective IEDs, had some sort of exit strategy, and considered the effect of ubiquitous surveillance cameras on their operation.

      Gun powder in an aluminum container is a poor choice. Thank heaven they didn’t use a stronger container or an explosive instead of a propellant. Had they done that the body count would have been a lot higher.

      It was pretty obvious they expected to just fade into the crowd and had no contingency plan for an escape, and hadn’t given any thought to minimizing exposure to surveillance cameras.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        Good point. Well, at least they got their motivation from somewhere, and probably the name of a guy who knows a guy who can get guns. Not too difficult.

  5. Patrick H says:

    I’m not as worried about 2014 as I was about the Senate votes, but you are right, we need to do two things: protect those that helped us and defeat those that opposed us. I think Colorado is where we really should focus- if we can oust those there that’s a strong message.

    • Lucky Forward says:

      Is there a specific website set-up to help elect pro-RKBA legislators in Colorado, and to recall/defeat the grabbers? Is the NRA going to set up such a fund?

  6. jdunmyer says:

    FWIW: I write L2E’s fairly regularly, trying to keep to the facts, and often including references to same. The goal is mainly to educate: not the “antis”, but the people who really, truly don’t know any better. There are a LOT of them, and many can be swayed by facts over emotion.

  7. We need to keep engaging them at all sources. We outnumber them about 5 to one, and we have the facts, the Constitution, and the culture on our side. They have the old media, the education system, and the entrenched establishments elites.

    We are winning the war of public opinion as the truth continues to get past the old media gatekeepers.

  8. jdunmyer says:

    Another thing I do is to write to columnists and sometimes the news director at a TV station. I know for a fact that I’ve changed the take on some news stories at a particular Toledo, OH station.

    Again, my missives are educational, not confrontational. One example was the TV ‘news’ reporting on a ‘gun buyback’ and how it ‘took guns off the street’. They added that another buyback would take place on the following weekend. It took me only a minute or 2 to find a reference to research done by a university on the subject, finding the buybacks to be totally useless. I wrote the news director, with a link to the research, pointing out that it was a university, not the NRA.

    No reply, but there was no reporting on the following w/e’s buyback, either.

    • Andy B. says:

      I used to do the same thing, frequently sending “Not for Publication” letters to my local paper’s editorial board. They were almost never acknowledged, but every now and then I would see one of my own ideas or phrases used in their daily editorial.

      I also, 20+ years ago, had for awhile what I guess you would call a “fax blog,” before the internet was established and the term “blog” yet to be coined. I would write a daily (at first) 800 word column that I would fax to a circle of friends and to the local paper. An editor there requested that it be delivered to his desk each day. He would frequently contact me to pursue or discuss issues or events further. But, that generation of editors disappeared through attrition, and later generations were not so encouraging.