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Signs and Portents

Politico reports on what is alleged to be a White House proposal (PDF link) for increasing background checks. Only, something is kind of fishy about it. The Politico story quotes a White House spokesman

As far as the document circulating on the Hill, [Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman] added: “That is not a White House document, and any suggestion to contrary is completely false.”

And when I actually read the (alleged) document, I have my doubts. It’s possible that the White House drafted a proposal that starts with the premise that there are Unlicensed Commercial Sales, and that there are commercial sellers who are not licensed dealers, but that doesn’t seem all that likely to me. Unless they’re expanding the definition of “commercial sales” to include all sales (there’s a reference to “Manchin-Toomey draft legislation” as well, which I haven’t seen the current iteration of).

Anyway, with the White House disavowing the proposal, and the Republican Senate refusing to move without clear guidance from the White House, things are looking a bit less grim? No reason to stop paying attention, though.

You’ll Have to Forgive Me …

but on this issue I agree with Michael Bloomberg.

Thanks, Irish Robert

Let’s be honest with ourselves: “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in,” was getting pretty worn. Said years and years ago by a now octogenarian who probably won’t be with us much longer. Gun owners of the future will probably be like “Diane who?” before too long.

But thanks to Bobby Frank, we have a new scare quote we’ll be able to get mileage out of for years and years. Can we now dispense with the gaslighting fiction that no one is after our guns? Should be pretty obvious by now what the real agenda is here. Irish Robert wants to take the most popular gun in America. He said it on live TV where everyone could hear it.

Sometimes honesty is refreshing.

No More Google Ads

I’m done with Google. Fuck them. They keep altering the deal, they are evil as fuck, and I’m sick of it. I’m leaving the “Join the NRA” up, even though the NRA is a mess right now. I still think it’s important. Join, and vote the grifters out!

This is a Good Thing

Apparently the National African American Gun Association is thriving. Wayne is out of touch with younger shooters (and by younger, at this point, I mean anyone under 50), and he’s bitterly clinging to his EVP role despite the fact that he’s a few months away from becoming a septuagenarian. So I’m going to be a lot more supportive of groups that are reaching gun owners the NRA has no ability or even interest in reaching. Like African American shooters, or, you know, younger shooters.

Speaking of younger shooters…. I feel like Chris Cox and his inner circle got the typical Gen X treatment. It’s the curse of our generation. Gen Xers are utterly powerless: sandwiched between the much larger Boomer and Millennial cohorts. We’ll never be in charge of anything. The Boomers are going to pass that shit right to the Millennials, then spend their twilight years posting memes on Facebook about how they’re ruining the country.

So good on NAAGA. I hope they continue to grow.

Community is Probably Now More Important than Ever

Don’t be that lone shooter. Get involved in something related to shooting. Training new shooters is a great contribution. Get involved in clubs. Get involved with other shooters somehow. Figure out how to plug those people into a network.

Because citizens around the world have chosen to let a small handful of companies do gatekeeping on the Internet, we’re going to face challenges building the Late Professor Brian Anse Patrick called “Horizontal Interpretive Communities.” If you don’t know what those are, read the book. While the tech monopolies are going to throw challenges at us, they aren’t going to be able to enact perfect censorship. We will need to get creative. We will need to fly under the radar.

Social Media Makes Moral Panics Easier to Foment

If you want to understand some of my dissatisfaction about early 21st century life, I direct you to the Moral Panic. Social media has made it trivially easy to whip up moral panic. Hell some baby boomer feeds I see on social media are nothing but moral panic every waking hour of the day.

From another source on moral panic:

Central to the moral panic concept is an argument that public concern or fear over an alleged social problem is mutually beneficial to state officials—that is, politicians and law enforcement authorities—and the news media. The relationship between state officials and the media is symbiotic in that politicians and law enforcement need communication channels to distribute their rhetoric and the media need tantalizing news content to attract a wide audience which, in turn, attracts advertisers. 

You don’t say? The news media isn’t as relevant as it used to be, but when it comes to fomenting a good old fashioned moral panic, nothing beats social media in its effectiveness.

Moral panics arise when distorted mass media campaigns are used to create fear, reinforce stereotypes and exacerbate pre-existing divisions in the world, often based on race, ethnicity and social class. 

Additionally, moral panics have three distinguishing characteristics.  First, there is a focused attention on the behavior, whether real or imagined, of certain individuals or groups that are transformed into what Cohen referred to as “folk devils” by the mass media. This is accomplished when the media strip these folk devils of all favorable characteristics and apply exclusively negative ones. 

Folk devils, terrorists, what’s the difference?

Finally, public hysteria over a perceived problem often results in the passing of legislation that is highly punitive, unnecessary, and serves to justify the agendas of those in positions of power and authority. 

Social media isn’t really generating anything we haven’t seen before. But I worry greatly about whether it’s democrat or anti-democratic. I’m starting to believe that social media is an anti-democratic force, largely because it makes it easier for political elites to manipulate public opinion and squelch the opinions of “folk devils.”

Not Dead

Traveling for work, and my job is kind of up in the air right now because the company is having struggles. Also, lots of goings on at my club, and not all good. Then there’s the political mess we currently find ourselves in. Not going to lie, I am pretty demoralized right now and have little energy for blogging. But will return soon.

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