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3/28/2018 7:27 AM

<Please delete if this isn't the right place for politics>

So - the climate around Gun Control, constitutional liberties, and individual rights has gotten pretty scary lately. My own, ever increasing, frustration and anxiety have pushed me to seek positive action - sitting on the couch and shaking my head aren't going to cut it. Action requires community, and HPG is an excellent community.

I've read the Gun Control article on the HPG website - excellent resource and a very nice way of approaching the subject (I just printed out the first 40 pages of Heller for lunchtme reading over the next few days :) ) Apart from the suggestions in that piece, any additional or specific recommendations on positive, meaningful actions? Any personal anecdotes on what works, or what's just a waste of time? Balancing activism v. the resultant stress or personal priorities?

Any suggestions or thoughts welcomed. I'm a conservative millenial with a liberal spouse, living in an uber-liberal neighborhood of a liberal city, with a mostly liberal social circle. It gets lonely! Thus the community and knowledge here is much appreciated.

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3/28/2018 8:37 AM
Things feel more polarized and sensationalized now than when I wrote that piece a handful of years ago. Conversations seem harder. They definitely have to be had in person.

First thing is to prove statistically that, despite well publicized and horrific anecdotes, the rate of gun violence continues to go down over time. Also, the usual stuff about what the rate of gun violence is when you adjust for the top 3 cities (which all happen to have strict gun control). I don't have those sources close at hand. In other words, there isn't actually a crisis.

Another point that the Florida school shooting illustrates is that not only can't law enforcement keep you safe at all times (obvious if you have common sense), but they may also choose not to. I hope the Sheriff down there who created the "don't intervene" policy (not the deputy who was following orders) is brought up on charges and it makes national headlines. And then he will be acquitted because LE has no legal right to protect you. That should be a wake up call for some folks.

A couple of other points I've been trying to make recently to folks on the left -

A lot of them are scared (perhaps rightfully so) about a fascist state under Trump. They really honestly believe that there is the potential for massive infringement on civil liberties including outright imprisonment of undesirables. With that fear in their mind, why on earth would they want to shift the balance of power even further towards the government? This is a textbook case of why 2a exists.

Guns are a great equalizer of physical differences. In other words, they empower women more than they do men. When you look at the WAY higher rate of violent crime in the UK, it's obvious that women are being hammered on over there since they can't arm themselves. As soon as all you have to do is assess how big a person is relative to you, it's open season on women if you're predatory by nature. Much as I love martial arts, the cold hard truth is that if you're above a certain size it takes a certain amount of force to stop you that most women can't generate. I know this because I'm in the studio 5 hours a week on average. An anecdote - on Monday night, the head of the studio taught an FBI program on active shooter response that he's trained with them over the years. One of the drills was a very simple way to try to immobilize a gun arm. The kid I was drilling with was small and hesitant so I had him not doing the "correct" technique, but rather putting his entire body into the effort because that was what it took for him to get control of my gun arm. My primary instructor came by and tried to get us to do it "correctly". I love her to death. She's not slight, she's a brawler, she's a more skillful martial artist than I'll ever be -- but I still have 40 lbs of muscle on her easy. I don't ever do this because it's a dick move and not conducive to learning, but on this occasion I didn't yield to her technique. She re-asserted herself thinking she'd get it with more concentration and max force. I saw the look on her face as her eyes went wide and she realized that there was simply no way she was going to get control using the correct technique. Size matters, but guns make size not matter. Being armed is a feminist cause.

Overall, a big thing I didn't really emphasize in that article is know your audience and pay attention to cadence. I've got a sense of who is open to learning and who isn't. I don't waste time on folks who I think are close minded. Also, even with folks who are open minded, it's often best to just sow a seed of doubt and then leave it alone and let it grow. Your goal isn't to win an argument, it is to change a mind. Those are two different processes.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
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3/28/2018 8:42 AM
Wow Bronco...I feel for you. Get out of that situation unless you plan on living Jedburgh your entire life.
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3/28/2018 9:40 AM

Wow - thank you, Evan. It's rare  - and very encouraging - to hear insightful commentary on the gun-rights side that doesn't veer into inflammatory. I noted that the structure and tone - not content - of your words were most impactful. I'm familiar with all the points and statistics you mentioned, but seeing them laid out logically transforms a heated and frustrating conversation into an analytical framework that invites reason.

The point on changing minds, not winning arguments, is one worth writing down. I feel that it's one of those guiding principles that everyone knows but never follows - as it requires discipline and self-awareness.

Any thoughts on actions beyond the casual one-on-one conversation? The 'bandwidth-balance' in this debate seems heavily in favor of the gun-control crowd: the voices seem louder, more public, more numerous. The 'reason' card also seems to land on the gun-control side: not only are academics/students predominatley anti-gun, but the anit-gun editorials are often cloaked in data/science/analysis. Go compare a NY Times editorial on 'solving gun violence' with a pro-gun editorial in Fox News. The Times article is clean, well-written, filled with all sorts of colorful charts, animations, numbers, percentages. In comparison, the typical Fox News complement is embarassing - the data/graphics are poor or non-existent, the writing at a lower level, and the margins of the page filled with annoying ads and clickbait. An uninformed reader would just assume that the Times perspective was 'better', as it looks more analytical or professional.

I realize I'm list listing problems without any solutions - but it's good to articulate them. Happy as always to hear any thoughts or sugestions.

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3/28/2018 9:51 AM
I'm kinda confused as to what there is really to discuss? Either you think logically or you do not. Discussion with a Leftist is rather a waste of time. Truly.
Tyrants have been murdering disarmed people lawfully/legally (to them of course) by the millions for years. If your "peeps" can't grasp that one hard truth and understand the implications, then you might as well try having a conversation with a piece of chalk. You will be equally successful.
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3/28/2018 10:26 AM

I am kinda on El Mac's side. Evan knows where I live and work and to say it is liberal, left wing and closed minded is to be mild. I just don't engage any more. Nothing one can say, even the most reasoned and supported discussion, changes anything around here. This issue is all about emotion for the people around me, and the most oft heard phrase is "I don't care we just have to do something". That something is ban, register control or end guns, period and nothing short of that is acceptable to these folks. Not worth my time to "discuss" anymore. I am in the duck and cover mode most of the time. Here we are on our way to a more California style system when it comes to guns and I have little doubt this state will exceed Ca. in regulation and control in the near future. Sad but true.

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3/28/2018 10:38 AM
First off, the whole gun control debate is mindless. Banning and/or regulating ANY inanimate object is foolish and NONE of its supporters have the intellectual integrity to be consistent in their logic. If they did, they'd be marching and drum beating over all the other sorted "things" that effect mortality in this country, but they don't.

Disarming the populous is about ideology and emotion, and neither of those elements can be countered with logic and reason. I seldom debate a left leaner anymore as it gives credibility to the argument by doing so.

There have been and always will be bastions of liberalism in this country and folks like you need to vote with your feet. As time goes by, things will only get worse in these areas and the consequences of liberal policies with only make things more unsafe for the rank and file.

Lastly, the overwhelming majority of gun owners in this country don't appreciate what they have and their apathy is the root cause of our problems in terms of influencing the politics. If you own a single gun you need to support all three of the major advocacy groups; the NRA, SAF & GOA. Failing to do so, effectually makes you part of the problem.

We're fighting a war of incrementalism and it must be defended in the same consistent manner in which we've been losing ground.
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3/28/2018 1:06 PM
Here's the mental territory that I think the bulk of the gun control movement inhabits (not the cynical leading edge which is probably most of what Snakey encounters, the bulk) -- You're a relatively affluent person living in a safe neighborhood. You went to college and consider yourself educated and a little bit on the smart side. You're probably female and more of a nurturer than a fighter by nature. Very little of your life has been much of a struggle -- even by first world standards. You don't personally know anyone who has been capital "A" assaulted. The last person you knew who owned a gun was a grandfather and he didn't use it much. You've never been to a farm, and you've certainly never watched a creature die that you subsequently ate. You probably haven't sat by somebody's side and watched them die. Deep down, you sort of think you're going to live forever. Then, splashed across your newsfeed, is a shocking and visceral story about kids dying in a neighborhood just like yours. Your immediate knee jerk reaction is that you want the whole world to be as safe as you think it is, as safe as all of your life experience tells you it is, and logically the only reason it isn't safe is that there are still guns on the streets. If you want to be open minded about it, you read some articles and watch some news segments. As bronco already pointed out, it's easy to see that the intellectual high ground is occupied by folks who see gun ownership as a vestigal relic of a violent past that will never again be revisited. They're just like you - smart, urbane, mannerly, "reasonable". On the opposite side, you see folks who don't believe in a whole variety of civil rights, they're rural, they're religious (read "close minded"), they're inarticulate, they're absolutists (won't even talk reasonably about reasonable gun control), they kill things and post snuff pics online, they carry assault rifles into starbucks for who knows what reason, and on and on. It doesn't take much time for you to decide that "reasonable gun control" (you're open minded, those folks can keep their hobby within reason) is the only sensible course of action.

Culturally, that's what we're up against. Nothing in the life experience of most anti-gunners tells them that death is a persistent reality, that predators are real and prevalent, and that the concentration of power in the hands of a government always leads to horrible widespread violence against the populace. And it doesn't help one tiny bit that the NRA hasn't joined forces with the ACLU (metaphorically if not in reality) to drive home the point of why 2a exists and it's integral role in the larger context of our bill of rights.

So what is there to do about it? One on one conversations and supporting the lobbying organizations like 41magfan says. As to the cultural paradigm, I don't think there is any kind of high level way to address it. Do what you can within your sphere of influence and nature will take it's course eventually. There are always things that come up that remind the people I'm talking about how unsafe the world actually is. Hurricane Katrina ended all talk of gun control and spurred the growth of the gun and prepper industries for quite a few years. But that's been 13 years ago now... an entire lifetime for the kids taking the national stage right now, and before millennials were really aware of much outside their personal lives.

All of the GWOT veterans are a huge (and mostly quiet) cultural stabilizing influence because they've seen the real world. They're also an insurance policy if the radical left succeeds in moving quickly. When the Wahabbi colonization of Europe finally gets so large and violent that it can't be ignored or re-imagined, it's going to break the leftist narrative about the world being fundamentally a safe place. If nothing else happens in the meantime, that alone will push the pendulum back away from gun control.

And, for those behind occupied lines, I know it feels like things are dangerously close and all of America is close to a tipping point. Don't worry, it's not. There is a whole other America that lives and believes differently -- and, although it doesn't dominate the national discourse, it is by far the most resilient part of America. Heck, it's the part that's armed.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
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3/28/2018 1:39 PM

A friend just posted this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/03/28/heres-who-actually-attended-the-march-for-our-lives-no-it-wasnt-mostly-young-people/?utm_term=.431b0ed1a4a2

Very germaine to this conversation. Here's the relevant excerpt:

During the March for Our Lives, my team sampled 256 people who were randomly selected. This gives us the chance to provide evidence about who attended the March for Our Lives and why.

Like other resistance protests, and like previous gun-control marches, the March for Our Lives was mostly women. Whereas the 2017 Women’s March was 85 percent women, the March for Our Lives was 70 percent women. Further, participants were highly educated; 72 percent had a BA or higher.

Contrary to what’s been reported in many media accounts, the D.C. March for Our Lives crowd was not primarily made up of teenagers. Only about 10 percent of the participants were under 18. The average age of the adults in the crowd was just under 49 years old, which is older than participants at the other marches I’ve surveyed but similar to the age of the average participant at the Million Moms March in 2000, which was also about gun control.

Participants were also more likely than those at recent marches to be first-time protesters. About 27 percent of participants at the March for Our Lives had never protested before. This group was less politically engaged in general: Only about a third of them had contacted an elected official in the past year, while about three-quarters of the more seasoned protesters had.

Even more interesting, the new protesters were less motivated by the issue of gun control. In fact, only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting reported that they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue, compared with 60 percent of the participants with experience protesting.

Instead, new protesters reported being motivated by the issues of peace (56 percent) and Trump (42 percent), who has been a galvanizing force for many protests.

March for Our Lives protesters were also more likely to identify as ideologically moderate. About 16 percent did so, higher than at any other protest event since the inauguration. But unsurprisingly, it was still a very liberal crowd: 79 percent identified as “left-leaning” and 89 percent reported voting for Hillary Clinton.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
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3/28/2018 6:25 PM


"....Your immediate knee jerk reaction is that you want the whole world to be as safe as you think it is, as safe as all of your life experience tells you it is...."

A great observation, that really speaks volumes about a lot beyond just this issue, such as how how we perceive threats, how we apply the lessons of history (or don't), our beliefs on who is responsible for our safety, and on and on. I think this sums up so much of what is fueling the current divide. 

Like the rest of you, I continue to struggle with discussing this topic as well. I have friends from across the political spectrum, I live in a rural western state where many people hunt, etc. I don't affiliate with either party, and have no interest in buying into the "left/right" debate, as I think a lot of it is manufactured to perpetuate an antiquated and largely useless two-party system, as well as keep us distracted and bickering amongst ourselves....I'll stop there. But even where I live in a rural western state, this is  an increasingly tough topic to discuss, and while it's easy and convenient to blame one side of the political divide, I think that's a simplification that ultimately doesn't help all that much with actual progress on the issue. 

Coincidentally, I came across a timely article on NBC news today, of all places: "How Calls For A Second Amendment Repeal Could Easily Backfire For Gun Control Advocates"

"...Thus, by framing the debate in terms of absolute repeal, Justice Stevens’s Times piece may therefore have the complete opposite of its intended effect — implying that common-sense reform proposals wouldn’t be constitutional today and satisfying the narrative that many gun rights supporters have been using to oppose those proposals on policy grounds...." 

Link, if you're interested in reading more: 



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3/28/2018 8:05 PM
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3/29/2018 9:45 AM

Thanks guys - really good thinking and information here. Living in a super liberal area, one can easily go insane reacting to every disconcerting stimulus in the environment. Sounds like the occasional 1:1 conversation coupled with Pro-2A org support, and education are the way to go. When I'm not doing any of those things, I'll just smile and wave, then keep on trucking :)

In the meantime, looks like the NRA's newest spokesman - John Paul Stevens - is making quite a splash!

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4/26/2018 8:48 AM
I totally agree, here in Oregon it is most certainly not like where I lived in Montana. More left leaning here for the most part. Thankfully where I live in the rural grasslands things seem a little more logical.
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