I’m an NRA-certified firearms instructor, a concealed carry instructor, an avid shooter, and just an all-around gun guy. My friends, coworkers and acquaintances all know this. Generally, this is a non-issue. In fact, I’ve gained many good friends through my love of firearms, and I’ve converted several individuals from non-owners to owners. But with the recent spate of negative gun publicity in the mainstream media, I’ve learned some things about the few gun control advocates within my network…some things I’m very concerned about, and frankly, a little scared of . . .
In the past few days, I’ve been called names like chickenshit (seriously?), coward, ill-informed, stupid, and pathetic. I’ve been told that I live in a pathetic existence, and that I have a “home protection fantasy” where I just can’t wait to be the hero. I was even told that I “own pistols because I want to kill men,” and that if it weren’t for “chickenshits like Zack Pike, the tragedies we’ve seen this year would never have happened.”
These comments came from one person whom I went to school with and haven’t seen in 10 years, and I’ve seen similar threads in other debates with other gun advocates in my network. This saddens me.
I consider myself a rational person. I don’t believe in insulting anyone because it can’t lead to anything good. I enjoy having actual discussions with gun control advocates that have a) done at least a small amount of research to come to their conclusions, and b) are willing to hear me out if I hear them out.
When these criteria are met, it’s generally a good exchange, and more often than not it’s resulted in the gun control advocate changing their position, at least slightly. It’s the irrational, emotional, reactions that lead to no outcome. And, through this emotional week, the craziest thing is that they just won’t stop. Even when I attempt to end the debate, the personal attacks continue.
In a recent exchange in which I received a torrent of personal insults, I knew it was going to be bad almost from the start. I realized it quickly and encouraged the person to do some more research before we went further (in a vain attempt to help make it a better discussion). This led to a firestorm of personal attacks on everything from the integrity of my research to how I make a living.
What concerns me most is the speed at which the insults began and the ever-increasing rage that was apparent. Surprising (or not), coming from someone who was arguing about ways to prevent violence.
The worst part: this is becoming a consistent theme that’s becoming more and more prevalent. We all just witnessed it when Piers Morgan called Larry Pratt stupid, an idiot, dangerous and a shame to his country. Still, despite all the sound and fury, we’ve yet to hear from any gun control advocate the details of how an AWB would actually prevent a mass shooting.
When I explain that an AWB would do nothing to take these firearms out of the equation, generally that leads to either the person realizing there’s no reason for it, or it leads to personal insults and continually interrupting me to prevent the rest of my points from being made.
There can be a healthy debate around gun control and I’m willing to enter into it with anyone who meets my two criteria, above, because I know my side of the argument is founded in real world data and objective results.
Instead, what I see is ignorance driving the aversion to firearms. Education is one solution, but until the mainstream media and politicians start basing their reports and rhetoric on real world facts and telling the whole story, I don’t see the insults stopping. Unfortunately, those are the sources from which most gun control advocates get their talking points.
Has your experience been the same? How do you handle it? I’ve never seen it this bad and I don’t mind saying it: I’m scared for our rights and our safety.