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Weaponized Social Networks

This scenario is harrowing, and I already see some evidence of it. My mother’s side of my family and some friends on social media have gone commented and shared a lot on social media that aims to socially shame me and other gun people out of shooting and our opinions on the matter. It does not come close to rising to this level, but I see things headed in that direction.

One of the weaponized social networks I’m currently covering is a loosely connected network built on a newly emergent consensus morality (#metoo, etc.).  A consensus that it uses to successfully wield social, and increasingly, political power.

This moral network recently expanded with the addition of the #neveragain movement, after the Parkland shootings.  In the past, a movement like #neveragain would be focused on gun control through changes in government legislation.  Now that it’s part of this weaponized moral network, that focus is going to change.

Why?  This weaponized network isn’t interested in just changing legislation.  It’s far more ambitious than that.  It wants to change everyone‘s behavior and it is building the means to do it.  Here’s how.

Read the whole thing. I agree with Joe Huffman, who brought this piece to my attention:

Gun owners all need to “come out of the closet” and make it clear we are normal people. We do not have blood on our hands from the school shootings.

That really is the best thing we can do.

19 Responses to “Weaponized Social Networks”

  1. Ian Argent says:

    I almost never “shout” my firearms ownership, and never have I changed my profile for political reasons, but I have been sorely tempted the past few weeks to make my profile pic “I am the NRA”

  2. Stacy says:

    I don’t know. While I do see a lot of BS flying around on social networks, it seems to mostly be echo chambers i.e. my anti-gun neighbors will show up commenting on an article shared on an anti-gun Facebook page where all the other comments are also anti-gun. They’re reinforcing each other’s prejudices, but not attacking or really even interacting with people who aren’t already onboard.

    As far as volunteering that I’m a gun owner, I’ve done that here and there in ‘meatspace’, and it seems to have a salutary effect there, even among people who I know have some bad attitudes in private. I chalk this up to the Greater Internet Fuckward Theory, in the sense that the people who go make all kinds of nasty comments online about gun owners don’t have the guts to do it in real life. Therefore, if you tell everyone at a party that you own guns and enjoy shooting, and you do it in a polite and friendly way without a chip on your shoulder, the antis will be mute while anyone who’s on the fence is mentally calculating the difference between what people say online and this person who is sitting right in front of them and is perfectly sane and reasonable.

    I don’t know how to translate that online. It may not be possible, again due to the GIFT.

    • Bitter says:

      I generally agree with you on this issue, especially for the GIFT theory. However, the problem is that the organizers of this kind of thinking are likely as big an asshole is real life. And if they can get their “go along, get along” sympathizers to just start acting in small ways to cut gun owners out, then they will still make progress.

      I see a difference in the behavior of people who are actually meaningfully involved in civic life activities. They do tend to be a little more polite in most interactions online and when it comes to political engagement. The few who aren’t honestly tend to be retreating into their closed networks. I do fear that the expansion of social media into all walks of life means that these people retreating into their circles and getting more hateful still have influence over those of us out in the real world.

  3. Jim Dunmyer says:

    Retired, so don’t have some of the worries of others, and I don’t use social media at all. However, I wear my NRA Life Member hat every day; most of my casual aquaintences have never seen me w/o a hat. I do shoot in a Bullseye pistol league and make no secret of that, either.

    Just doin’ my part.

  4. Heather says:

    I try to pick my times carefully on social media. I don’t hide that I’m a gun owner, but I generally avoid gun debates for a number of reasons. I do, however, find opportunities to personalize gun owners for people who aren’t part of the community. Just the other day I got someone to admit that she judges me differently because she knows me, and assumes I’m “different” than “those people.” Small steps. Small steps.

    • Sebastian says:

      I think that’s the trick, to just be a good ambassador for the community. I try to avoid debates as well, if only because in our meme driven society, “I’d have to explain like 20 things to you first before we really get at the meat of this,” is a real problem, and a lot of people aren’t really all that interested in dialog, or understanding.

      I’ve gotten the whole “I don’t have a problem with YOU owning guns, it’s all the other idiots that worry me,” more than once. Breaking down people’s prejudices and pre-conceived notions is difficult, but not impossible.

  5. dwb says:

    Mob behavior, mass hysteria, and witch hunts is nothing new under the sun. It’s simply aided by technology.

    When people are stressed and feel out of control group dynamics sometimes take over. It gives people a sense of control. Social media reinforces and encourages mob behavior (can I get a like?). Peer pressure, cubed. Social media thrives on mob behavior. Keep in mind the weapon points in both directions. We need to be better at the game.

    I am not sure gun normalization and “coming out” is enough. Coming out does not make intolerant people tolerant. It may only focus thr target. Dissipating a mob requires a much more aggressive posuture.

  6. The anti-gun people have always tried to shame us where they could. i.e. in the East Coast cities where newspapers created online maps of gun owners, so you could identify them just like you could sex offenders. And by making gun owner lists public in general, as that could affect the hiring decision by some people/companies.

    I know recently I was a finalist for a job that I thought I had pretty much in the bag. Suddenly the final guy who made the hiring decision went totally dark. Trying to figure out everything I could about him to sell myself I looked him up on Social Media, and found out he was very liberal even though he lived in Phoenix.

    Then I got to wondering what he found when he looked me up on social media (since that’s the norm these days) and discovered that publicly viewable were “I am the NRA” pictures and a few other select pro guns things I’d made public.

    I’ll probably never know for sure, but I’d bet he looked me up on social media and shut down the process.

    It’s sad, but working for liberal IT companies …

    You can say anything horrible about Christians you want, but try for to say something positive and your can be brutally attacked.

    You can say pretty much any progressive/hateful crap you want, but god help you if someone finds out you voted for Trump.

    Those of us who are conservative/libertarian/pro-gun tend to be pretty accepting of those who oppose us, as most of us figure they just need some education. But these days on the liberal side they are fiercely intolerant, trying to create a culture where conservatives are ostracized and identifying with one causes you issues.

    I am quite certain there are some at the core left who fantasize about taking the vote away from and sending to re-education camps anyone who voted Republican.

  7. Ian Argent says:

    OTOH, your social network is not everyone’s.

    I saw someone in mine note that a town in the Midwest, the school asked high-schoolers to make sure that their hunting rifles (from the before-school hunting) were not visible from the outside so that nobody got in trouble because a firearm was seen on campus.

    You (and I) live in the Atlantic side of the Bicoastal Blue Enclaves. That colors our social networks – even if we do have friends from outside that sphere…

  8. Richard says:

    The Internet lynch mobs of which you speak are really just the same old mobs repackaged for this issue. It is the same people who show up for all the leftist causes. I don’t dispute that social media makes all of this easier especially given the attitudes of the tech oligarchs. Breaking the tech oligarchs would help with the gun problem and a lot of other problems too.

  9. 241 says:

    Those of us who are public employees (or want to be public employees) may have to be anonymous with their gun ownership… if they want to have a job. Especially in left wing dominated fields like education.

    • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

      Absolutely. In fact, that is why I’m anonymous. I used to work for a school district, and after the Sandy Hook shooting, I got into a debate with a California liberal. He figured out where I worked, and it incensed him that I believe in gun rights and worked for a school district. So he sent an email to my bosses saying I should be fired. Luckily they were pro-gun too and just told me to stop talking with this guy, but that terrified me (and I didn’t even have a family then). I felt I was lucky, and ever since then I rarely comment on Facebook or Twitter under an identifying name.

      I know work for an urban based company, who’s clientele and employees will definitely trend liberal. I just can’t risk it now.

      So maybe they’ve won the social media barrier, but in person while I don’t shout I’m a gun owner, I don’t hide it either.

  10. Person says:

    We’re being banned from several forums for our viewpoints. I just left a community I was a part of for years because they banned only persuasive pro-gun commenters. They unsurprisingly allowed the “I’m a gun owner but-” to stay.

  11. Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

    There are also things like this: companies saying they don’t want your money.

    Now that’s just a one person company, but its clear that’s the next step in the gun control movement. Shaming and shutting out gun owners. Its discrimination. Its no different than saying “anybody who supports muslims supports terrorism, so I don’t want your money”, which of course they would screech at. But its different, because reasons.

  12. Joe says:

    Even after a short break from blogging, it’s hard to just avoid the “loud-mouth” power of Social Media and the Mainstream Media as a whole.

    The gun-ban movement we are witnessing, growing rapidly before our eyes, is looking like a marriage between a tyrannical “Animal Farm” movement being funded by the new and improved “Tammany Hall” Aristocratic $Money Machine that gave birth to the first gun-control movements that got their footing in the USA, going back to the 1830’s, that sought to keep Blacks and Ethnic European Minorities (Irish, Italians, Polish, Portuguese) disarmed, and oppressed.

    Go take a look at that “March For Our Lives” $Money Racket that’s gonna kickoff on the 24th of March…..Go take a look at all of the Big $Money, leftwing, splinter-factions that will be funding it.

  13. National Observer says:

    “Gun owners all need to “come out of the closet” and make it clear we are normal people. We do not have blood on our hands from the school shootings.”

    Heh. Surely you jest.

    For several years now NRA has been using all its resources to advertise not only that we’re not normal people, but that we stand foursquare against being normal people. They started with NRATV and Snarling Lana Douche, and loud-mouthed asswipe Ted Nugent, then iced the cake by endorsing the Pussy-Grabbing Orange Shit-Gibbon practically before the RNC’s Convention Hall had cleared. (I know all the pragmatic arguments for why that was a good thing — and I consider them all short-sighted, as I expect the follow-up to this fall’s expected Blue Wave to demonstrate.)

    Normal people were not only unimpressed, they were repelled.

    It’s too late now to start thinking about long term strategies like being Goodie-Two-Shoes and exposing a new generation to the joys and camaraderie of shooting. Another path was chosen more than two years ago and the only choices left now involve salvaging what little you can. And don’t forget to thank all the people who thought the loudmouthed, snarling strategy was smart.

    • Joe says:

      Hello sunshine. Why don’t you just surrender your guns now, and regarding Trump, he was, whether you like it or not, the only GOP candidate that could’ve beaten Clinton or any Democrat in 2016. Ted Cruz was polarizing and had (and still has) no ability to connect with Blue-Collar People. Same scenario with Rand Paul, who was my first GOP Presidential choice.

      Every other one of the remaining 14 GOP 2016 Presidential Candidates was akin to Mitt Romney, George Bush, Jeb Bush, John McCaine, and Paul Ryan. Had Trump not been the 2016 nomiee, Hillary Clinton would be President with a Democrat Majority House of Representatives and Senate. The following things would’ve happened to America:

      1). Clinton would be stuffing the Courts with Communist Judges like Obama did for his first 6 years.

      2). There would’ve been a total gun-ban of all semiautomatic and pump-action firearms.

      3). We’d have completely opened borders with exponentially increased illegal immigration from the 3rd World, forcefully altering America’s Demographics to favor Democrats for at least 50 years. One-party Democrat Dictatorship.

      Have a good night.

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