A Top Down Movement

I think the gun control folks have always been a little befuddled at our movement. I know of several gun control people on the other side who have been willing to talk to me that I believe assume we all work closely with NRA and take marching orders. In truth, I hardly ever speak with anyone at NRA headquarters or really even other people in the movement. We got to Annual Meeting every year because it’s the only time of year we get to see and talk to other people in this issue.

A “Gun Violence Prevention Day of Action” planned by the Democrats was completely scripted. I too am in possession of the leaked document, and it details a schedule, along with a sample of tweets and hash tags to use in social media. Twitchy has a nice sample of Democrats lining up to participate. If they followed the schedule carefully, the Twitterstorm was only supposed to run from 12:30PM through 1:30PM.

I’ve never gotten anything like this document from anyone in the gun rights movement, because our people don’t need prompting to get involved, either don’t need to be coordinated or actively resist efforts to do so. Our people don’t need to be scripted (though I sure wish some of them would think before they open their yaps). Organizing gun owners is herding cats on a good day. The reason they can’t fathom this is because it’s the exact opposite of how their movement works: from the top down.

Sad truth: if the wasn’t for President Obama and Mike Bloomberg, most of the gun control movement would have folded up shop several years ago. Two people have kept this issue alive. That’s not a grassroots movement.

17 thoughts on “A Top Down Movement”

  1. Organizing gun owners is herding cats on a good day. The reason they can’t fathom this is because it’s the exact opposite of how their movement works: from the top down.

    And yet, we can turn out THOUSANDS for a protest/demonstration, on short notice. They have to plan and organize for weeks to get a couple dozen.

    It’s no wonder they believe the pro-gun movement is top-down. It’s the only way they can get people to show, so they assume we’re the same. The idea of an involved, passionate, self-motivated and -funded, driven — yet unorganized and leaderless — movement is an alien concept.

    1. “we can turn out THOUSANDS for a protest/demonstration, on short notice.”

      Be careful with your assumptions regarding who “we” are.

      On June 14, 1994 (Flag Day, a weekday) we had a “gun rights” rally in Harrisburg, at the state capitol. Estimates of turnout were 8,000 to 10,000, and as one of the speakers, looking out over a sea of faces, I’d endorse the higher estimate.

      But I also noticed that it looked more like a Santorum Rally than a gun rights rally. Anything or anyone who stood still for more than 15 seconds got a Santorum sticker pasted on them, and there were plenty of professionally prepared Santorum campaign signs for the crowd.

      The punchline to the story being, the Republican Party had “facilitated” the successful rally. A Republican legislator and a couple local committeemen had convinced my club’s president that it would be nice for the club to sponsor a couple buses to take people to the “gun rights” rally, which it did.

      It was part of the massive effort that went into creating the “Republican Revolution” of 1994. It appeared to be purposed specifically to electing Rick Santorum, and that was successful. Secondarily it helped elect gun-grabber Tom Ridge to the governor’s office. We had been there to receive a message; not to send a message.

      The next year there was an attempt to replicate the event, by state gun activists. I went, mainly to meet with my handler from GOA, as I was more or less a “regional spokesman” at the time. GOA supported it to the extent of sending out notices/alerts, and speakers.

      Turnout was about 30. “We” didn’t seem to have quite the draw the Republican Party in a major election year did. Today I chuckle at the annual “gun owners rally” that takes place in the Capitol rotunda; all those gun owners traveling halfway across the state on their own dime, to hear campaign speeches from the usual suspects.

      1. I see your point, but from my experience it’s generally true that a pro-gun rally scheduled on any given Tuesday can turn out an order of magnitude more supporters with two-days’ notice than an anti-gun protest can with weeks of planning AND busing in “volunteers”.

        The anti-gun movement simply doesn’t have the level of support they think they do, in terms of either numbers or passion. All they have going for them is a sympathetic lame-duck president and Michael Bloomberg’s pockets (and the latter is more effective than the former by far). Absent those things, I believe Sebastian is right: they would have shut their doors years ago.

    1. I don’t publish things people send me unless I get permission, and go through everything to ensure there’s no tracking information in it that could uncover the source. I just don’t have the time to do that right now, and what was in it wasn’t juicy enough to warrant making the time to do it.

    2. The actual document was nothing more than a schedule of what lawmakers were doing, and then a bunch of sample tweets and hash tags to use during the “Twitterstorm” part of the schedule.

      1. Thank you.
        A possible suggestion for next time,

        Post some highlights like expect a twitterstorm from 12:30 to 13:30 EDT
        Expect so and so to repeat talking points on x, y, z
        Media will cover speech and publicity stunt at time and location

        Paraphrasing in a separate message is one way to redact the PII in a message.

        Let us and hopefully the media see how much is scripted dog and pony show before it happens. (You also steal some of their thunder!)

  2. The simple truth is that most of “The Left” is astroturf. And it always has been (even if you look at “successful” leftist movements like the Russian Bolsheviks).

    Its small numbers of highly motivated (and often moneyed) individuals trying to game the system to impose whatever flavor of tyranny they happen to be into.

    Not just gun control, but pretty much every leftist/progressive/social justice cause is the same.

    1. “The simple truth is that most of “The Left” is astroturf”

      You are very naive if you believe there are many political organizations that aren’t astroturf, independent of ideological alignments.

      Always remember Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-four” scenario, where even the underground resistance was run by Big Brother.

  3. People who have no grassroots can’t comprehend how non-centralized movements can even work…

  4. It really is amazing how they think our side works. They constantly think the NRA tells us what to do, when its us who tells the NRA what to do. I mean think about it, they have $5M paid members! Do you really think the NRA is going to support something those members don’t?

    1. “Do you really think the NRA is going to support something those members don’t?”

      The quick answer is “yes.”

      They can do it by controlling the message that most members hear. In short, by “spinning” the situation. Technically, I suppose you’re right, because the members will support what they are persuaded to support, but they will be getting only the NRA’s version of the situation. Operating too often on simple faith, they will accept that without much question.

      1. Which is why many of us backed the NRA in the past: one simple message. Nothing about abortion, taxation, or life insurance, etc., just guns. It’s one simple message, unadulterated and unwavering. I hope we can all appreciate that the NRA does what very few organizations are capable of doing: staying the course.

  5. Trump’s new campaign song, or, at least, it should be. Because if you can’t sing along with the 101st Airborne, what business do you have being Commander-in-Chief?
    I jumped out of a DC-3 in a simulated emergency jump, at Navy parachute rigger school, at Lakehurst, NJ. No static line – pull the ripcord or die. Obviously, I pulled the ripcord. No blood on the risers for me.

  6. If I were to hear this ballsy song at Trump’s inauguration, I would surely die of happiness, as would hundreds, if not thousands of my fellow veterans. :)
    There is what the Marxists call, “being down with your people”. Trump can do that, the Hildebeast cannot. So tell me again, who’s gonna win this?

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