Want to talk about guns? Step One is Getting The Language Right

You're an passionate, caring, American patriot.  You believe in less bloodshed.  You believe in liberation.  You want men and women of all colors and origins to be treated the same under the law. 

And you think that we are currently caught in an untenable morass of terrible laws and horrid arguments about guns  People are wrong on the internet, again.

You're right of course, but being right isn't enough.

You need to be able to lay out your position, thoughtfully, patiently, logically, and do so in such an approachable and non-threatening way that even the people who think they disagree with you realize that they're wrong, and come around to your side.

 Who are you?  Well, that doesn't matter.

You might be a responsible gun owner who loves to teach new people about gun safety and judicious marksmanship, who grew up in a small town, shooting with his brothers on the family plot, who thinks that all these constant new gun laws are just more nails in the coffin of the American dream.  You think that we already have a background check system in place, and that these mass shootings where people who shouldn't have guns buy them without getting stopped demonstrate that the background check is useless anyway.

You might be a passionate liberal who has never fired a gun, and who believes that guns in the hands of private citizens are a relic of a bygone era, that more and more people are dying every day and that our lax gun laws (and the evil NRA!) are to blame.   You think that assault rifles can be purchased over the counter with a 10 minute wait, and that every gun nut is just one lost argument short of snapping and shooting up another place where guns have no business being, like a school, or a church.

Well, I've got some good news and some bad news.

You're both right.  And you're both wrong.

Guess what?  That's the good news.

That's good news because it means you have a platform to start from, and that you have room for improvement.  Those are both good things.

So what's the bad news?

You're ignorant.

And that's different than just being wrong.
 There are holes in your arguments that I could drive a bus through, and they're not flaws in your principles or motivations, they're flaws in your facts.  You are consistently saying things about guns and US gun law that are just flat out wrong.  And you ought to be ashamed.

And I know you probably just thought "Yeah!  Those guys from the other paragraph that wasn't about me should be ashamed.  I saw so many flaws in the description of their opinion!"

I've got some news that the clever ones of you have already figured out: Those paragraphs are both laced with huge errors.

The truth is, most of the anti-gun crowd genuinely thinks that they aren't arguing for confiscation.  They just feel like there's no rules about guns, and maybe we should have a few? That the NRA is a bunch of vile jerks that have dismantled any chance of reasonable, common sense gun law in this country.  Who could blame them?  That's what the internet has been telling them this whole time.

And the truth is, the pro-gun crowd is heartbroken at every shooting--yes, even ones where most of the victims were gay, and were targetted specifically for being gay.  They still think every innocent American has a right to live.  And they think that the anti-gun movement wants to disarm every last one of them and equip a militarized police state with the highest quality military hardware it can find and then put a boot to the necks of every citizen.  And who could blame them? That's what the internet has been telling them this whole time.

And when I say "the internet" I don't mean "mass media" or even "bloggers".  What I actually mean is "you."

You've been telling them that this whole time, because you keep using terminology and rhetoric that is so atrociously wrong that the only possible explanation someone informed could imagine is that you're actively lying so that you can try to push your agenda.

If you want the person  on the other side of the screen to listen to you, you need to slow down, get your mind right, and do your homework.

If you just want to stir shit up and throw rocks from the comfort of your glass house, feel free.

If you want to make changes--real, positive, healthy changes, in this country?

Well then buckle in kids, we've got a bumpy road ahead.

Sunday, June 19, 2016