1911 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

TTAG reader HS writes:

Robert and Crew,
I have read your site nearly every day for a year or so and enjoy most of the articles. Frankly, most of our worldviews line up so it’s not unpleasant reading the editorials and opinion pieces posted by the TTAG staff. Affirmations and all of that. My question to you and yours is this- What is your opinion of the comments section and how do those comments drive site content? I try to avoid reading the comments in the articles because there is no debate or thoughtful commentary . . .

Instead, an opposing or questionable viewpoint is shouted down- loudly and immediately. Shoot the messenger. Dismiss the source. Blame it on the liberal agenda. This is interesting to me because the process of dismissal is repeated over and over. Critical thinking is removed and replaced with rhetoric. It’s a formula. Zimmerman is and always will be innocent. He’ll also always be a good person. The media wants to set him up. The NYT is anti-gun. A neutral or pro-gun article is a trap. Rinse and repeat.

This process is not unfamiliar to me. I heard it for a few years in college from a buddy’s younger brother who was a white supremacist. His friends were white supremacists. Pat’s younger brother was eighteen years old, the child of Irish immigrants, introverted, and deep into the punk scene. In many ways, he was recruited by older guys who were also part of the punk scene.

So, Andrew shaved his head, bought some red shoelaces, and became a neo-nazi. We’d throw parties and the neo nazi crew would come around and party with us, but they generally kept to themselves and did whatever they did. Mostly listen to music and bitch about the Jewish controlled media. It was a complaint as old as religion.

The Jews controlled the media, so the Jews controlled your mind. Hollywood produces? Jews. Jewish agenda. Major networks? Jews. Jewish controlled television shows. News networks? GIANT NETWORK OF JEWS! YOU HAVE NO IDEA! The thing is, it was all rhetoric. There wasn’t any content. Just a couple of talking points and widespread dismissal of anything that they didn’t agree with.

Let me be clear- my commentary is not meant to imply that the vocal folks on the site are racists. However, the methodology is shockingly similar to what I heard from my friends younger brother. Just replace Liberal with jew and you’re 99% of the way there.

Anyway, thanks for a great site.

HS

 

My reply:

I get your point.

Like-minded people attract like-minded people. At some point, a website – any website – is in danger of becoming an echo chamber. Which sucks on a number of different levels.

TTAG avoids this problem, at least somewhat, by banning flamers and flaming. If you read the comments section, you’ll see that there are significant differences of opinions, albeit 98 percent of them are on the pro-gun side (e.g., pro and anti-open carry demos and videos).

That said, there’s not a lot of anti-gun sentiment expressed. Virtually none. I’m OK with that. The antis have their own websites and Facebook pages and Twitter feeds and suchlike. Not to mention most of the mainstream media.

Yes there is that. TTAG is a [relatively small] counterweight to the MSM’s anti-gun bias. And that’s good enough for me. You?

RF

177 Responses to Housekeeping: Is TTAG an Echo Chamber?

  1. “I try to avoid reading the comments in the articles because there is no debate or thoughtful commentary . . .”

    If you don’t read something, how do you know if there is debate or thoughtful commentary?

    Precisely the reason I read the comments is because there is a HEAP TON of thoughtful commentary. I respect a whole bunch of folks here for their opinions and insights and I have learned a lot.

    As to the “Echo Chamber,” I’ve seen anti’s post here and they only get blasted when they troll nonsense, in my observation.

    For my part, I welcome them to join the discussion, but that does not include welcoming them to come here and say I should shoot myself or that the only reason I carry is because my I have some sort of penis issue.

    As far as I’m concerned, the ones that can come here and act like adults should be, and are (when it happens), welcome.

    They ban us for quoting statistics or studies. We (meaning our side) bans them for acting like immature, classless jerks. There’s a big difference.

    • I’m glad you were the first to post in this, as you are one of the common “dissenting” voices in this crowd. There are a few others but you always stick out to me because your posts are never inflammatory, (mine either, *cough*) rude, or poorly thought out. You bring a firm but measured argument or alternative point of view to the table and welcome debate. There are some here who are indeed more inclined to dismiss opposing positions (never me though *cough cough*) though it’s very rare to not see a deeper discussion undertaken.

      Is debate here passionate? F*ck yes it is, and I’m glad for it. Is it always friendly? Nope, nor does it need to be. I am thrilled to see both far right AND left viewpoints brought to the table. Sometimes I’m presented with an idea I hadn’t considered before, sometimes I smack my tongue and sigh at the idiocy of some people.

      Either way, a fair amount of dissent and conflict is healthy for our community (coming from both within and without) and we’re all better for it.

      PS – JR: I’ve got to get you my email and/or phone number so you can shout at me next time you’re up here. We’ve got to do beers

      • Yeah I dissent from time to time, but I’ve been called a bit of a dick too. 😛

        One day I hope to be wise and knowledgeable enough to post things like D. Gunsmith. (Dead ass serious here). Of all the sites I’ve ever posted in my life and all the posters I’ve ever seen, D. Gunsmith’s stuff always comes across like it was written by some firearms loving holy man.

        I love it.

        • wait wait wait…

          Was the emote because I called you a dick? While that isn’t outside the realm of possibility, it’d be a shame because a like you…

      • “PS – JR: I’ve got to get you my email and/or phone number so you can shout at me next time you’re up here. We’ve got to do beers”

        Linkified my name; at that site, there’s a contact page and I’ll get the email. This way, neither of us has to expose our email addy’s to harvesters.

        PS: Thanks for the compliment. I’d return it but I don’t want to be accused of just being in an echo chamber. 😉

      • Matt, IIRC, you and I got into a… rather passionate debate, just the other day. That’s what passionate people do. And at the end of the day, while we’re all passionate about the same idea (the rights protected by the second amendment), we certainly don’t all hold lock-step, echo-chamber beliefs about that idea.

        I find the debate here to be thoughtful, respectful, and focused on ideas rather than ad hominem – and the very fact that we find enough differences of belief to engage in very lively debate rather conclusively proves that TTAG is no echo chamber.

        And I’d buy a beer for any of y’all I’ve argued with.

        • We’re on the same page Chip. I enjoy the hell out of a good argument and absolutely adore a good debate. Face-to-face or across a keyboard, the passion is the best part.

          Someday I’ll be back in the Austin area and I’d love to have a beer with Farago and Leghorn (and I’ve been outright shitty with those two) if they’re willing.

          Funny you bring up the buying beers thing, I was wondering if there was a way we could revive the TTAG forums so we could maybe starts a “meets” section for just that. A lot of folks are grouped up in similar areas and it might be cool to get together with a bunch of TTAG’ers for a barbecue or some beers.

        • @CarlosT

          Been a long time since I’ve really messed with it, but i suspect the mobile issues are a result of the FFZ being a phpBB forum. phpBB is very old and very clunky and I think development on it ended years ago. It’s still a popular choice for a lot of sites because it’s free, though.

  2. Unlike our pal HS, I do read the comment section, and the few anti-gun sentiments I see aren’t thought-provoking or meant to encourage discussion; they’re the usual “fat, racist, child-killing rednecks with tiny dicks” sort of comments you’d expect from a garden-variety troll.

    • This is true.

      And while I regurgitate 95% of the status quo around here, I can think of several notable times off the top of my head that I’ve disagreed with the majority.

      Remember the “Should autistic kids/ handicapped kids be taught to shoot” SNAFU? I do. There were a lot of very heated and impassioned individual debates on that one.

      I think our pal HS isn’t a very dedicated reader if he/she doesn’t see the back and forth.

      That said, I would like it if more anti gun people would post. Unfortunately, I think the reason they don’t is the same reason MDA does not allow comments on youtube or facebook – in the face of facts, all their arguments fall apart.

      • We should bring that debate back up! It was not only awesome, but I may/may not have taken a schizophrenic family member to the range since then.

        BRING IT, PENDEJOS!

        • I just legitimately laughed out loud. 🙂 That said, I think I would abstain if that topic came up again.

    • I don’t think that contributes any more than the foolish “Obama ain’t a citizen, his presidency is unconstitutional, everything he wants to do is unconstitutional, and he wants to take away our guns!”

      I’m a pretty liberal person, formerly pretty anti-gun for purposes outside of hunting, and formally educated in law. I’ve only been a gun owner for about a year now and am rather building a nice collection. As I went through law school, I became more educated on our constitutional rights and came to understand that some of the things I previously thought didn’t work within the constitution, and came to appreciate some of the positions of gun rights advocates. That being said. I see a number of comments on here that make me feel justified in lumping the author in with the brainwashed fundie with no real understanding of the law, constitutional law and how those things are applied. They just wind up parroting the idiotic pundits and run around crying about the end of the world and gun rights.

      When shakily based far right wing statements are made and are met with agreement rather than the same criticism the left wing gun control nuts are met with, the audience and participants lose credibility. Putting yourself out there as a wingnut doesn’t do you any favors, making a well thought out statement backed with provable facts (“the president isn’t a citizen” is not a provable fact, sorry guys) does, and adds to the conversation in a constructive manner.

      Most folks here ought not to cast stones any more than some housewife that didn’t have anything to do so she joined an anti gun group should.

      • You make a fair point, but I ask you this:

        If the right wing “wingnut” is correct, is it proper to dismiss his assertion (or at least entertain it) simply because his general political ideology differs from yours?

        If you think he’s wrong, speak up; don’t run away or stay silent because someone said something you (rhetorical you) disagree with.

        Some Progressives (and I’m not pointing this at you…just making a general observation) seem to think and act like ‘right wingers’ should not speak THEIR mind, and either dismiss the debate or excuse themselves from the debate as you describe on the pretext of “why should I debate a wingnut teabagger?”

        • Generally, when I wind up at a “why should I debate X person”, I’ve been debating them for a while and they’re doing things like changing the subject or blindly insisting on something without acknowledging and addressing counterpoints. After enough of that, I’m ok with just saying “screw it, you’re an idiot.” If a wingnut, right or left, is actually right, then I’m always open to provable evidence, but their evidence is typically some theories and opinions loosely strung together with the occasional fact or coincidence and some rhetoric. I know most people aren’t trained in how to argue, but anyone that made it through high school out to be able to pen a well structured persuasive short essay based on provable facts.

          I would never dismiss someone’s opinion simply because of their political ideology, but I often dismiss opinions that are expressed and are rooted in a particular political or religious ideology. Most people are not capable or are often unable to differentiate an attack on an idea from an attack on them, particularly when that idea stems from a deeply held system of belief.

          Anyone is free to speak their mind, but people often seem to feel as if they are entitled to do so without having any objective backing for their assertions.

        • I’m a fairly open-minded person, but if someone nurses baseless hate, promotes statistical garbage, goes on an ideological rant, flogs unsubstantiated conspiracy theory as fact or passes utterly subjective claims as absolute moral authority, I will call them on it, and I won’t be very nice about it.

      • Sorry, I must have missed the “Is Obama a Citizen” debate here at TTAG. Of course, had I seen it, I would have stayed out of it anyway, because I come to TTAG to discuss second-amendment issues in particular, and other natural rights (and their constitutional protections) in general.

        As your only specific point of contention regards an entirely non sequitur issue, that you then attempt to broaden into some sort of guilt-by-association, your comment comes across a bit hollow.

        • The citizenship comment was an illustrative example of the sort of thing that wackos say, not an exhaustive or specific list of comments, subjects, or viewpoints that I take issue with.

        • That being said, Mr. Derp, on the occasion that we do get those guys here, most of us don’t engage them because they’re the conversational equivalent of a sand trap.

        • The “Obama is a Kenyan” argument doesn’t get near as much play here as “Obama is an illegitimate usurper,” when his failed anti-gun initiatives aren’t measurably worse than what Reagan or either Bush signed into law.

  3. when antis DO infrequently come around, they may get shouted down by a loud majority and/or put to shame with more well thought out and reasonable replies, but theyre never simply deleted like they are on some of the major anti-gun echo chambers.

  4. TTAG is a [relatively small] counterweight to the MSM’s anti-gun bias. And that’s good enough for me. You?
    — Robert Farago

    Good enough for me.

    I taught my children and my grandchildren (I am teaching) that the worse enemy they will face in this world, is our own government. Just for the record…I am a veteran from a heritage of American vets traced back to the War of 1812, and tentatively to the American Revolution.

  5. Echo chamber? Hardly. All of us are rugged individualists. Because we like guns, we have a lot in common, but we still find ways to disagree on a lot of issues. On the other hand, none of us like tr0lls, so they get shouted down. If commenters want to argue in favor of gun control, they are welcome to go somewhere else. They will find no support here. If commenters want to have a discussion about how our rights should be infringed, then they also should go somewhere else. I can suggest just such a place.

    The OP’s problem is that he has fundamental disagreements with us as a group. Well, too bad. RF is the publisher of The Truth About Guns and he owns it, but the community belongs to us. US.

    • I am sure HS would be welcome to post any opinions he holds and would like to share. Of course, he should be prepared to defend those opinions from those who do not agree with him.
      That is the other side of the “freedom of speech” coin.

    • “If commenters want to argue in favor of gun control, they are welcome to go somewhere else. They will find no support here.”

      I agree with they latter sentence (mostly…there are some here I wonder about…depends on specific context of the day), but not the first.

      Here’s why. I see serious discussion on the topic as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to change not only that person’s mind, if their mind is open to hearing our side, but also perhaps other folks that lurk. This site gets a lot of traffic. Not all readers post.

      We recently had a gun control person here stating her case and she had some very basic facts completely wrong. She was confronted by that and FINALLY admitted that she really did not know and was just quoting something she had heard from someone else. It was a pretty egregious factual error.

      I like to imagine that that experience just might have been the chink in her armor. She MIGHT begin to question other things she’s “heard from someone” and ask deeper questions. Maybe not. Maybe she never will. But…maybe someone ELSE reading that thread will begin to ask deeper questions about what they “hear,” especially on the Internet in regard to gun control.

      Not only is an opportunity to change minds, but merely to state our case, quote our statistics, lay out our reasoning. In the absence of debate, in the absence of an ‘adversary’ to post to – whether a commenter or someone referenced in an article – would we lay out our “side” as we do now?

      We need to ‘respond.’ It gives us the chance to formulate not only our thoughts but also how to express them. I’ve learned a LOT here from commenters, including ones responding to ‘dissenting opinions.’

      I see a gun control advocate, my first thought is “opportunity.” Yeah, there is a good chance they are a closed minded bigot, but I like to see them prove it rather than make the assumption. There’s always that chance their mind can be opened.

      After all, we do get quite a few folks here that claim to have “made the switch.” For some it was something else, but for some it was TTAG that pushed them “home.”

      • “I like to imagine that that experience just might have been the chink in her armor. She MIGHT begin to question other things she’s “heard from someone” and ask deeper questions. Maybe not. Maybe she never will. But…maybe someone ELSE reading that thread will begin to ask deeper questions about what they “hear,” especially on the Internet in regard to gun control.”

        +1

    • Well, a little while back, I suggested that seatbelt laws were a good thing, and I was accused of being a nanny state supporting anti-RKBA communist.

      • Commie!

        Oops, nevermind. I’m not up on my seatbelt quota. Ain’t gonna happen this month anyway. But I’ve got a couple of 100 plus speed tickets and a motorcycle rider at 110 mph that I could have taken to jail for reckless driving.

      • Exactly Kevin A.

        Strange thing is that you’d think pro 2A’ers would realize the biggest effect they could possibly have on 2A issues is to register as a Democrat and vote in the primaries for the Dem that is pro 2A. Chop the enemy off before they get a chance to run. Next, stop marginalizing people who are liberal on some issues that are important to them and are also pro 2A as they also can have a big effect on the Dem’s platform. Pissing on them every time a Lib says anything in the comments section just alienates the people who could have the biggest effect on the cause. A couple weeks ago I saw someone say they are a Pro 2A dem and there were dozens of “you can’t be pro 2A as a Dem, you’re an Anti!” type comments. That guy/gal should have been our best friend as they can make a real difference from the inside.

        • I tried that for many years. I would forgo voting in the Republican primary in the hope of being able to find a right-thinking Democrat to support. I finally gave up hope for such a Dem, and last year changed my registration to Republican.

        • See, I come from New Zealand, where we have a completely different voting system, and we only pre register to confirm our identification details. To have to register for a political party would be unthinkable here. We like the flexibility to pick our candidate vote and our party vote (yes, we get two votes) on voting day, in reaction to the latest crisis or scandal on the TV news.

          We also have different firearms laws, whereby it is possible to build up a fair collection without too much Government interference, but where the everday wear of a handgun is totally illegal (unless you are a cop). Our Bill of Rights is the 1689 version, but most provisions have been made void. Hence most disagreements are settled with knuckles or broken bottles, or lately among the young, an old fashioned knifing. Some gangsters use guns, mostly sawn off shotguns, but realistically, there is negligible danger to the general public, and no defensible reason to suddenly produce a handgun in self defense.

          BTW, if self defense is ever expressed as a reason to buy a firearm, your NZ firearms license will be cancelled forthwith. We have target shooting and hunting as reasons for our hobby.

          Saying that, there are pockets here of enthusiasts using handguns and western black powder arms, either socially or in competition. We just love the smell of gunpowder!

        • While there are no truly pro-second-amendment Democrat politicians, there certainly are pro-second-amendment people who cling to affiliation with a party that abandoned their ideals decades ago.

          (Sadly, that’s becoming true of the Republican party as well – albeit not where the second amendment is concerned.)

        • Amen Chip. “It ain’t your father’s Democrat Party”. Too many cling to a party that has been taken over by statists, thinking it is still the “Workingman’s Party”.

        • “To have to register for a political party would be unthinkable here. We like the flexibility to pick our candidate vote and our party vote”

          Martin: Just to clarify, we can vote for whichever candidate we want in the General Election regardless of party registration.

          The party registration identifies which Primary Election we vote in…the election that chooses the final candidate for the General Election for each party. Even for federal elections, each state holds its own primary.

          For example, if one registers Republican, one votes only in the Republican Primary to choose the Republican candidate. On General Election day, this person can vote for whomever he wants that is on the ballot.

          Registering for a party does not lock you into voting a certain way.

  6. I’ve been reading about guns and shooting all over the ‘net for a lot of years. I have yet to see any kind of actual debate or thoughtful comments regarding facts from the “anti-gun” crowd. I’m not sure that’s possible. All they have is denial and emotional brick bats to throw.

    But yeah, I’d be tickled if one of them showed up and actually engaged in reasoned debate with verifiable facts, not to mention a substantial justification for thinking an inalienable right to self defense should be tossed out or even restricted.

    I don’t think I’ll be holding my breath…

  7. Quite to the contrary. The comments section here really isn’t that bad when compared to the rest of the internet, and that is saying a lot. Sure it gets vile sometimes. But that’s the nature of media, especially these days. I would totally argue the people here simply scream the same anti liberal arguments over and over. It is in fact the opposite. There are actually very many real, anti liberal truths that are pointed out here, on a variety of issues. But someone who doesn’t actually read the comment section wouldn’t realize that. Oh, and again, this I pretty eerily similar to the anti’s argument that we are comparable to the Klan and Neo Nazis. Offensive and poor argument sir.

  8. The only opinion I ever see getting shouted down is the idea that not all Democrats are anti-gun. Anyone who posts that immediately gets buried in ridicule.

    • The problem is that the Democratic party is becoming less and less tolerant of the Democratic politicians who vote against gun restrictions. This is still somewhat in flux, but appears to be the current trend.

      • I don’t think there’s anything current about that “trend” . In fact, you would have to find a Dem who actually voted against gun restrictions in a close vote (i.e. when it actually counted) to demonstrate such “trend”. Good luck with that (speaking in reference to national-level office only).

        • The federal votes on gun control after Newton saw several Democrats break rank with their party and vote against the proposed gun control laws. Several Republicans broke ranks and voted for them.

        • Illinois is a good example, but the breakdown between rural and urban Dems doesn’t bode well for the future as big cities inevitably wrest political power away from rural areas. There are some ways to reverse the trend in the cities, but all would involve normalizing carry in those areas.

    • Democratic party is anti-gun, which means that any pro-gun Democrat who votes for a Democrat is supporting the anti-gun agenda. Even if a pro-gun Democrat gets in office he has minimal to no impact on gun issues, the party is still anti-gun.

      • Scot: Yes, the overall agenda is anti but if you vote in enough pro 2A dems the platform will change. Every pro 2A person here should register democrat and vote for pro 2A Dems in the primaries. Befriend every pro 2A dem you can and get them to start voting pro 2A, not just saying “I own a gun but…” Change the agenda from within. Call your dem candidates and let them know you are a registered Democrat and gun rights are your most important issue and they won’t get your vote without it. Sorry, but you aren’t going to get many liberals, no matter how much they support gun rights, to ever vote for Republicans that oppose most of their ideology other than 2A. But we can get pro-2A Dem’s voted into office so there is no longer any debate to be had!

        • ORGunner

          Well, I suppose that if we were to vote in enough pro-gun Dems the platform would change on guns. But the thing is that it appears that gun control is so entangled in the progressive ideology (government knows best and should be trusted for everything) that I don’t think that it would be possible to do so without totally changing the Dem party.

          I might find your suggestion useful if their stand on guns was my only disagreement with the Dem Party platform, but it isn’t, so I’d much rather vote for people who have more in common with me than one issue.

  9. Why is it when someone is overwhelmed by a large group who share a differing opinion to their own, they are being “shouted down” rather than just being disagreed with by a vocal community?

    If your opinion is unpopular, and particularly if it is unsupported, you should expect and uphill climb, should you not?

  10. Yes, there are a lot of like minded people here, but we all have our own opinions on things. We don’t always agree, but that’s ok. Has this guy read any of the hunting articles here? They’re like a pit fight sometimes. At least you’re not banned for sharing your opinion.

  11. “… because there is no debate …”

    It depends on the issue. Try defending OC and see what happens.

    “The NYT is anti-gun.”

    Umm, isn’t this actually the case? I guess we can “debate” this, but will it change the conclusion?

    • My favorite bit from whoever HS is – and proof that not only does he/she not read the comments, but probably not the articles either…

      “Zimmerman is and always will be innocent. He’ll also always be a good person. The media wants to set him up.”

      Numerous articles here and numerous commenters have pointed out that George Zimmerman is a bit of a dumbass. He is innocent of the murder charges that he was prosecuted for – the trial proved that beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jury agreed. As for his personal life and his frequent visits to the headlines since? It’s pretty obvious he’s cruising for an Idiot Gun Owner Of The Day award. The media? They wanted to make him the poster boy for their “all gun owners are bad and Stand Your Ground Laws are permits to kill minorities” rhetoric – despite the fact that SYG was never even mentioned by his defense team.

      All of which you would understand if you had read any articles posted on this site about him, or the comments that go along with said articles. So obviously HS is not a regular reader, has no idea what is and isn’t posted here, and is pretty much drive-by trolling.

      • Agree, General. The HS statement of apparent views here on GZ was like a tell in poker that signals ‘bluffing.’

        Personally, I’m feeling rather open-minded, forgiving of a poster’s failure of finesse. After all, I did read his entire comment in which he concludes I may resemble, intellectually, his friend’s younger brother the skinhead.

        I have only one question left for HS: “Have you given up child porn yet? Yes or no?”

  12. WHAT? No thoughtful and interesting debate?

    Glock vs. Sig! Revolver vs. Semi-Auto! 9mm vs. .40 vs. .357 vs. .45! Rifle vs. Shotgun!

    Is there ANY more thoughtful and interesting debate than these?

    (I just checked with my wife, and she agreed, so I know I’m right.)

    • Once you throw in hunting stories, the best 5.56 replacement cartridge, why the 1911 is awesome, and blowing up watermelons, you have pretty much the best discussions ever.

      • I would much rather come here than YouTube for insightful commentary on guns. I thought my head was going to explode as I read through the comment chain on this post –

  13. “… there is no … thoughtful commentary …”

    I’ll take funny over thoughtful any time, but there’s enough thoughtful stuff too. The problem is that some equate “thoughtful” with “even-handed”, whereby two opposing views get equal treatment. You know, like that there is no real difference between the KGB and the CIA, that sort of thing, because saying that they are not the same would be unfair or something. I am OK without that kind of thoughfulness – we are bombarded with more than enough of it in the mainstream media.

    • Great point – you articulated one of them problems I have with NPR’s insistence on what they term “even handedness”, and which I consider near terminal “nanby-panbyness”.

  14. HS, though I assume you’re not reading this you’re welcome to join the conversation.
    But just to show that even Neo-Nazi racists can’t be wrong about everything, “The New York Times” is, and has been for living memory, solidly anti-gun.

  15. Uh…Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was a classic case of self defense. It should never have been tried, and even with a corrupt judge and prosecution he was still found not guilty after just 1 day of deliberation. He is also a fool and I truly hope we never hear about him again. His faults have been well documented on this site. And the NYT is objectively anti gun. The commenter loses all credibility with me based on those facts alone.

  16. having an extremely small penis I find it refreshing that no-one here excludes me from posting my fact based opinions on what is the most important socialist movement in US, indeed world, history; that of disarming the American populace prior to it’s enslavement. I do not find Leftist sites to be so accomidating

    • Google “Everytown for Gun Safety” and “Moms Demand Action.” You will have found what you are looking for, complete with a veritable BOTTOMLESS PIT of small cock jokes (SWIDT?)

      • I use the following response, which leaves the pseudo-Freudian gungrabbers seething.

        The Freudian symbolism surrounding guns is obvious.

        Men who fear and reject guns as “evil” are fearful of their own masculinity, and reject that masculinity as something “dangerous” which they cannot control. They are symbolically expressing a suppressed desire to be eunuchs, if they cannot be female.

        They often recite the mantra “Guns have only one purpose – to kill”, but they know that is no more true than saying their penis has only one purpose. Aside from the fact it is part of the two-purpose male uro-genital system, it can be used as an instrument of pleasure in love-making, or a tool of defilement and hatred in rape.

        They attempt to deny the fact of that duality, and consider only the perverted “evil” view of the gun/phallic symbol, enhancing the guilt and shame they associate with their masculine nature. It is that masculine nature they fear and hate, and want to purge by becoming a symbolic eunuch. 😉

        “Sometimes a cigar is JUST a cigar.” ——- Sigmund Freud (attributed)

        “No symbols where none intended.” ——- Samuel Beckett

        • And one of the leading candidates for Prime Minister in our upcoming election apologised for “being a man” at a party meeting. At least he didn’t castrate himself on stage, but it’s still very hard to take him seriously. And I have to say there’s very little evidence of his being much of a man anyway.

  17. How can anyone disagree with lawful self-protection? It’s the keystone to the “debate” and when framed in “context” eliminates ALL anti gun, knife, stick, brick statements they can muster. To condone or provide means for opportunity to criminally harm another warps logic on a vast scale.

    I believe fear is what drives both sides. Gunners fear of harm from criminals and the anti’s fear they have to become something they don’t want to be in order to protect themselves. Both reaching into the malleable mind to win position.

    • The British Empire worried that its brown subjects might resist the authority of its agents, so during the early 20th century, laws permitting armed self defense were revoked. This was supposed to even the playing field. They never fully learned to let the ruled rule themselves, and thereby gain the opprobrium for the injust laws they inflicted on the subject peoples.
      After WWII, the Commonwealth countries decided to disallow armed self defense, as most constabularies were unarmed themselves. The habit of open carry fell into disuse, and concealed carry never bacame part of our culture. Outside of the armed forces, we are expected to comport ourselves so that any dangerous situation in which we find ourselves, must be resolved without resorting to weapons. OK in theory, but times have definitely changed. But they don’t let me make the rules.

  18. One of the properties of the internet is that people tend to group by similar interests whether it’s guns or gardening so yes we are a bit of an echo chamber on the broad issue of guns and gun rights. But as we all know there is signficant and lively disagreement about specific issues. This was first explored by Nobel Prize winning economist James Buchanan in his seminal article on public choice called “An Economic Theory of Clubs”, Economica, February 1965.

    The question is can we really have a constructive debate between pro and anti gun people? I don’t think there can be until we all agree on common set of empirical data. Because we don’t have that agreement we don’t engage the “other” but at least TTAG is willing to give it a try unlike MDA.

    • In addition to sharing a common set of empirical data…… Trust is also key requirement for a constructive debate, of which I have none of for the Anti’s anymore- and not sure I ever can. Their constant lies and propaganda reinforces that conclusion every day. And even if they didn’t lie, they are so ignorant about firearms, their sheer stupidity and arrogance makes them almost impossible to converse with, let alone come to some shared mutual understanding.

    • You and me both…

      But I still think it’s more productive than twitter or other message boards.

      At least on this site, eventually the articles get old and tempers die down.

      On standard message boards, the arguments and heartburn can go on for /years/.

  19. Heh, if this letter writer weren’t QUITE so progtarded he’d have to be invented by RF, for sake of argument and another example of the priceless pretentiousness that is platformed by the left, as “real” opinion,

    until you call them on the facts, and then they run, or it gets really nasty, vituperous, and vile, in return, when you get at the real motives. We’ve seen plenty of that from the occasional troll, and anyone with any expereience online knows you can find a couple dozen sewers on the left, if you just google around, where the comments section is not an echo chamber, but a rubber lined room.

    Of course we have debate here, and of course, from time to time it gets heated, and it can go downhill.
    I’m guilty, too, but I try to do better, and I see others do also. Clean, well-lit room”, and all that…(Hemingway)

    Yes, of course its an echo-chamber in that its not 50/50 anti- and pro-gun. Name one place on the innertubz that is- its a strawman argument to suggest it should be. We DO give liberals and others the benefit of the doubt, and plenty of time in debate- remember MikeyB#s? (way too much time, but that was purely for cheap fun…) Dan Baum? (a genuinely good writer who was just WRONG on a couple things… but always welcomed back). And we know MDA lurks here, but never engages- why not? I dunno. But I suspect the fact they moderate/ban/and curate their own site so completely has something to do with that. Propaganda doesnt stand up to the light of critical thinking, on a factual basis.

    And, yeah- the elbows can get a bit sharp, and the locker room atmosphere a bit much, at times- but every “place” on the innertubz has its own “flavor” and if you dont like it here, no one is forcing you to stay.

    50% of a great blog is the culture and commentary of the community- and that is a rare thing on the innertubz- its never achieved when 100% controlled top-down, and its very hard to do without some guidelines- and I see the group policing itself pretty well, except in the very few instances where its been necessary to enforce a ban.

    Much more of the credit goes to the commentators- I too, wait for Dys P, A81, Matt in FL, and the Menckin of Guns, aka Ralph, and a number of others to numerous to mention to post as its always useful, educational, or laugh inducing. So thanks guys.

    And keep up the good work, RF and staff.

  20. Yeah, you really have to take comments on a blog in context ….and sometimes with a grain of salt.

    To the point though — shit, I disagreed severely on the whole ‘cop bias’ thing and said what I had to say. Others said what they had to say and we moved on – so can’t say I was in an echo chamber on that one bro. I think RF is correct in his response. We are all pro 2A, but after that – heck, it’s anything but an echo chamber. Just ask about 9 v 40, or AK v AR, or Kel tec, Glock or pretty much anything, and you’ll get opinions from both sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between. The AI here brings some serious experience to the table (which is definitely the value add of the comment section).

    So to summarize, I disagree with you! hahaha

  21. Even an “echo chamber” is beneficial. I don’t know how many times I’ve read a comment, with which I agreed, and also thought “I never thought of it quite that way”.

    • Yep. There have been posts that have helped me question and hone my understanding of an aspect of the right to keep and bear arms. I’ve definitely learned a lot through comments posted here.

  22. I can remember some pretty divisive discussions, when it appropriate to open carry, restoration of rights to felons, whether people should be allowed to own a Zeus 23 anti aircraft gun. But generally speaking, the huge majority of commentators here agree that there is an inalienable right to self defense. I am completely ok with that. Now if only we could agree on more important matters, like the fact that .40 is obsolete.

    you may now commence the angry deluge of comments 😉

  23. Very few people like to walk into the lion’s den and challenge them on their own turf, especially when there’s a fair chance that the comment will be moderated or deleted. I’ve never encountered it on TTAG, but on MSM sites when they post an anti-gun article, my commentary, which is far from inflammatory or violent, is often removed. Antis probably feel the same thing will happen to them here, or on other gun blogs.

      • Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
        Trying to forget my feelings of love.
        Teardrops rolling down on my face,
        Trying to forget my feelings of love.

        Feelings, for all my life I’ll feel it.
        I wish I’ve never met you, girl;
        You’ll Never Come Again.

        Feelings, wo-o-o feelings,
        Wo-o-o, feel you again in my arms.

    • If you haven’t had your comments deleted, and achieved the honor of being banned from a gungrabber site, then you have not been expressing your ideas with enough logic and “common sense”.

  24. Like you said there are many different viewpoints that fall under pro-gun. There are those who think everyone everywhere should have unrestricted access to any weapon they wish, up to and including nukes if they could afford it. There are those who don’t believe laws are beneficial to guarantee rights, that simply stating that one’s rights are “god given” should convince everyone that you’re right. Some think cops are bad some think that they’re okay. So yeah I think there’s plenty of debate in the comments intelligent and other wise.

  25. Not really. There are vastly differing views on things like suitable carry guns, OC/CC, using guns in activism vs not, tactics, calibers, training, police, religion, social equality, etc.

    The site really seems to focus on current events, carry, self defense, and to some extent action sports and action-sports accessories.

    Personally I’m more into revolvers, gunsmithing, accurizing, bolt action rifles, old military firearms, rimfire competition, gun-and-gear mythbusting, and stuff like that. Adding these topics would be cool and would broaden the exchange of information and opinions, but not necessary.

    • Revolvers? That is awesome. I assume you have a M1917 since that fires .45ACP THE ONLY HANDGUN ROUND WORTH OUR CONSIDERATION.

      • I don’t have a 1917 or a 625 (yet) but I have several 29/629 in various barrel lengths down to 3″ (which is the one I use for action shooting). My plinking load for them is close to .45 acp ballistics, 200 grain cast RNFP going 950 fps. I’ve got a few .357 and .38 I’m working on as well. I like to work on them, take them apart and polish and shim and stone everything, tune the springs up and stuff.

  26. RF you’ve been trolled. I see plenty of dissenting views. I generally read every comment unless it’s something I don’t care about(gaming,optics or almost anything on hunting). And I know there is a HUGE range of opinions on religion. So yeah there’s a lot of OFWG’s but there’s a lot of everything else. I’ve lurked around many gun sites and blogs for years and yours is the only one I’ve joined…keep up the good work 🙂

    • Yeah, plus one, FWW. …except the Fat part lol. I’ve been exercising lately and startin to trim up bud. Just gotta go easy on the carbs

      • LOL Valley Forge! I used to compete in bodybuilding and had a 29″ waist. It got hard as heck after 60-especially since I am genetically fat. Unfortunately have some medical problems that prevents working out like I did for 40 years. Life’s rough…

  27. It rhymes but it doesn’t echo too badly.

    For one … dissenting posts, either partly or fully, aren’t routinely pulled unless they contain ad homenium attacks. And they do exist.

    So if there’s an echo, it’s there naturally, not by fiat.

  28. Shit, I kinda feel the exact opposite. Half the time I post something here that I think is non-controversial, I have every perceived mistake pointed out and disagreement quickly illustrated in vivid detail. Hell, I was even called ‘Valley Girl’ once by a dude that was pissed off about how many defect guns manufacturers are putting out these days… (like somehow that was my fault? lol) You know what though? Dude was right and I got the karma burn on that one good – and have had to ship back 3 guns since for warranty repair of issues right out of the box. I think the AI knows a lot… and one is wise to listen and absorb some of the experiences and learn – without having to drop the $$’s every time.

    • That’s actually an excellent illustration of the crowd around here….

      We’re all VERY familiar with the “gun store attitude.” Sometimes without intending to, people can come across like complete assholes. Especially when the crowd tends to be of a specific culture and mindset. I’d never really thought about it before, but we probably come come off this way too. The commentariat here at TTAG is generally the same people day after day. Some post in every article, some post daily, some post occasionally. But we (am I just projecting here?) tend to recognize the names and don’t hold back. I can certainly see how that would be intimidating to someone who isn’t part of the “in crowd.”

      • Allow me to clarify a few lines above….

        Especially when the crowd tends to be of a specific culture and mindset.

        This is reference to the community here at TTAG. In my experience communities built around a single idea naturally develop an agreed upon set of ideals and accepted behaviors.

        …tend to recognize the names and don’t hold back.

        Meaning that the aforementioned commenters all have a pretty good idea that once they’ve made a comment it’s open to discussion and they may have invited an attack (intentional or otherwise.) Not to suggest that this is good or bad, it’s just a natural side effect of a tightly knit community

  29. “Let me be clear- my commentary is not meant to imply that the vocal folks on the site are racists.” But the first and only thing I can compare y’all to is Neo-Nazis. So, you guys aren’t actually Nazis just a lot like some Nazis I knew.

  30. “opposing or questionable viewpoint is shouted down- loudly and immediately”

    Wow, welcome to the freaking internet. Grow a pair and shout back.

    Last I checked, the gun community was very diverse. Most of us (shockingly!) trust minorities with guns. Who’s the racist, the person who allows you to go armed? Or the person who celebrates minority disarmament in urban areas?

  31. “Shouted down” implys he or others are not being given a voice when that is far from the truth. You’re just upset because the majority don’t agree with you on something and schooled you. Admit it.

    Furthermore, Zimmerman is innocent of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Anyone who’s still obsessed with that case needs to get the **** over it.

    Finally, I like you not-so-slyly compare us to some white supremacists that you allegedly once knew. You’re a troll. A subtle troll, but a troll nonetheless.

    Begone with you.

  32. Via Publius2

    “Heh, if this letter writer weren’t QUITE so progtarded he’d have to be invented by RF”

    I think this adequately underlines the author’s point. By expressing a desire for a little self-reflection, he/she has been labelled a “progtard” (the usage of which itself demonstrates a level of close-mindedness that I have no desire to engage with). The implication is that every single thing that comes out of a Democrat or liberal’s mouth is total garbage. It is not. Just like not everything that comes out of a Republican’s or conservative’s mouth is a gem of insight and logic. Granted, this is the internet. Looking for self-reflection in the comments section of a blog is a bit like looking for the Easter bunny. But his/her point is (or at least should be) well taken; lest the community suffer from the same kinds of hypocrisy and illogic for which we condemn groups like MDA. If your views cannot withstand a bit of logical scrutiny, then perhaps your views deserve a bit more consideration. With that in mind, of course this website is a bit of an echo chamber. You can’t really run it any other way. It is, however, important to take a step back occasionally.

    • Progtarded is a lame insult anyway. Proglodyte rolls off the tongue and is much more apt. Saying it feels like wiping your rear with fine silk.

      That being said, I cannot take anyone seriously who basically says ‘I’m not saying you’re a bunch of white supremacists but you totally remind me of a bunch of white supremacists.’

      Throw in the whining over the Zimmerman court case and whatever else this guy was schooled on and I’d say the site is better off without him.

  33. I try to avoid reading the comments in the articles because there is no debate or thoughtful commentary…

    *scratches head*

    Well, I can say one thing for certain: this reader really hasn’t actually read the comments on TTAG posts.

    No debate? No thoughtful commentary?

    Did he mistake TTAG for the MDA Facebook page?

  34. I didn’t read the comments to this article because I wanted to jump down and answer. I started seriously researching the whole gun control thing in December 2012. All through 2013, I read this site and in some cases, I participated because there was a lot of discussion from both sides. In addition to the research I was doing on my own (including reading the full text of the studies and even running the numbers in a few cases), I learned a lot from engaging anti-gun people on this site. In the last six months, it seems like most of the anti-gun people have left. There are a few pro-gun people who may have some anti opinions in specific areas still on the site. I really enjoyed engaging with full-on anti-gun people because it helped me understand their method of thinking and argument. I’d like to see some of them come back.

  35. On behalf of Paul McCain, an avid gunner skilled with the Benelli M4 and alleged man of god, there is dissent among us and some can not take it. Hence those that remain have views that may not align but do run more parallel. Come back Paul. The posts are considerably shorter since you left.

    • I think the good reverend’s opinions aligned closely with a large chunk of our community. Not everybody chooses to demean their compatriots because they employ a different method of carry, however.

      I’m just a progtarded chipotle ninja though, what do I know?

    • To the contrary, I encourage HS to not only continue reading TTAG but engage in the comments section as well. While we can be a rough bunch, I think HS will find that we are quite open to discussion and ideas contrary to our own. The debates and arguments around here can help provide new perspective and frequently help us refine our own arguments for future discussion. It’s good research and exercise, even for the anti’s.

  36. “Critical thinking is removed and replaced with rhetoric. It’s a formula. Zimmerman is and always will be innocent. He’ll also always be a good person. The media wants to set him up. The NYT is anti-gun. A neutral or pro-gun article is a trap.”

    Really now, do you honestly believe there’s any “critical thinking” to be found in yet another discussion of Zimmerman’s innocence, some ground shaking truth about an open and shut case of self-defense left undiscovered . . .? For a long time, I made my living in the talking and writing trade. In that time I’ve encountered more than my share of frustrated dweebs who, on finding that they lack the rhetorical skill to participate in discussions, decided to condemn them as being somehow beneath someone as eurdite and sensitive as themselves. As I sometimes did with them, I’ll pass along some free advice: if you can’t run with the big dogs, you’d best stay up on the porch with the little dogs.

    I

  37. Walk over to your bookshelf and count the number of books that reinforce your personal beliefs. Chances are most of them do. It’s called confirmation bias, and this site lives off of it.

  38. Piffle. Even among those who share a similar Weltanschauung here, you’re still going to find innumerable nuances, and even heated disagreements, in perceptions and application of that worldview. This place is one of the most diverse and fresh forums you’ll find on the Internet, on any topic.

    Yes, there’s the obligatory liberal/anti bashing. Well, there are some liberal gunowners here who push back, too, often giving as good as they get. Call it full contact blogging and wear a cup, if you will. Still, I rarely see the inane shouting matches here that I do, and pass up, elsewhere; again, on any topic.

    Moreover, you’re going to learn more here about firearms, the truth about them, the many and varied facets of them, the legal, cultural, historical, philosophical, political, you-name-it-acal about them, than you will anywhere else. And all with clever humor and some razor sharp wit born of countless different life experiences.

    Skip the comments, and you forfeit 90% of the value of TTAG. I mean that with no disrespect to Team TTAG, either. The article selection is routinely timely and relevant, while the original TTAG commentary is usually interesting and thought provoking. Then come the reader comments. It’s Double Jeopardy, it’s the Lightening Round, it’s the Showcase Showdown. It’s where the scores can really change. Blowing off reading the comments is like calling a 1-900 sex line just to tell them “No thanks, I have a headache.”

    There are engineers, lawyers, professors here. There are police officers, homemakers, truck drivers here. Retirees, students, and some all around malcontents. And then there’s me, whatever the hell I am, and comments I make which I guarantee you won’t find replicated elsewhere.

  39. Last election season I was having dinner with an old college friend. We got onto the subject of the election and she declared she wouldn’t vote for Romney. Because war against women. I asked her to elaborate, and within about 2 minutes she declared that this wasn’t something she wanted to talk about. I said nothing offensive; in fact, I simply asked her “how are the Republicans declaring a war on women” at which point she referenced the partial birth abortion ban, which prompted me to ask if she thought that partial birth abortion was morally right (she is a self professed Christian, so asking her that was not unreasonable). I did not criticize, devolve to Ad Hominem attacks, or tell her she was going to hell. I just wanted her to explain – and then defend – her point of view. Something she had no interest in doing.

    By and large, that is a typical response from the average person. Their beliefs are the result of general indoctrination and have rarely been examined. As a result they are not prepared to discuss them logically and are not comfortable having them challenged. That’s fine. But don’t come here and accuse TTAG of being an echo chamber when the discourse that takes place here is lengthy, well thought out, and varied. I often feel that I am in the minority on this site, but that does not dissuade me from leaving comments or engaging in discussion. Sure, there are comments about progtards and libs here and there, as well as dismissive comments about “a great Tyrant in the sky.” Part of being an adult is being willing to discuss your beliefs and values without shying away from criticism.

    People don’t agree with you? See what common ground you share and what you don’t. Most importantly figure out WHY. You are not helping anyone (least of all yourself) by shutting your eyes and ears to avoid ideas you dislike. No where is the right to “not be offended” enshrined. Least of all on the internet.

  40. Hell, I disagree with most of you when the discussion goes off the rails. I have a daughter, love my gays, and think Obama could have used a bigger stick in his presidency. But when it comes to the defense of my self and family we are completely on the same page. I have a problem with the two party system in general it leads to inaction. If we carry in the spirit of ” defense of other” then my thoughts are our defense can’t stop where the barrel ends.

  41. It’s the Internet, HS, and TTAG is available to people all over the World. That brings in a lot of diverse opinions and perspectives. When it comes down to it, I don’t very often find anyone I totally agree with, and I’ll bet most of the rest of you don’t either. Not that I, or most anyone else, imagines I am “the World’s smartest person”, but I do imagine my view of the World is pretty crystal clear to me, and, I think, the same holds true for everyone else. That being stated, I think most people operate within those parameters, having conviction their beliefs, respecting the beliefs others hold in common with them and using discernment to parse thoughtfully (I hope) where to take exception with others, when to agree, and when to accept that someone else’s idea or conviction is worth adopting into one’s own view of the World, or rejecting forcefully.

    Yes, that produces an “echo chamber” effect and also, where warranted, vehement rejection, but both are part of the natural flow of discourse. Some of the “trolls” who happen by here offer nothing but childish insults and pseudo Freudian insinuations that can only be recognized for their utter lack of substance or merit. They get verbally beaten and deservedly so. Most TTAG comments are thoughtful and offered in all seriousness. I think we learn a lot from each other. Some Articles and comments reveal biases and those are usually addressed appropriately.

    If you really do not read the Comments, you are foregoing a huge percentage of the value of TTAG. One of the great advantages of TTAG and its comments is that it will make you think as an individual about how you see the World. Whether you comment or not there’s great value in being made to think about your point of view. The debates on TTAG are undoubtedly some of the most factually accurate, well thought-out, well written, logical and worthwhile on the Internet. TTAG is a highpoint in an intellectual wasteland.

  42. Not that anyone will read down this far in the comments, but your photo (very nice composition & idea, btw, has the chessboard set up wrong! Queens allways are set up to left of the King, and when the board is properly turned, the Queens are on their own color square. E.g., the White Queen starts out on a white square. Hummph!

    Of course, when there is a 1911 on the table, one should be careful about correcting the opponent. Or winning all the games. Might best respond with the Kalashnikov variation.

    Yes there is a Kalashnikov variation, and it’s nasty.

  43. TTAG is an echo chamber. My views on guns line up pretty well around here, and so do my views on police militarization (another subject that gets written about a lot). On other things… not so much. There’s a lot of general BS at times in TTAG comments that has little basis in fact. I do get sick of that, so I take breaks. I read for awhile, comment a bit, then kind of forget TTAG for a few months. Then I read a TTAG review of a new gun I’ve been eyeing up, check out the other recent articles, and start the cycle again.

  44. For me, it largely proves the point of the original letter that most of the comments see differing opinion as inherently anti-gun. From the few times that I have commented and when I read the comments on articles the absolute stances tend to be the most popular. All carry all the time by all law abiding citizens to use an example. That may be right thing, but it is placed without question and defended absolutely without consideration. Anyone that dares question is anti-gun and/or liberal (which should just be a political identifier and not a moral judgment on the worth of the person but because the of hyper-polarized times we live in, it is meant as a negative). I usually find that dissenting comments usually shoot the messenger and usually use ad hominem attacks centered around the proverbial “messengers” apparent political leanings. This is of course ignoring the treatment of trolls and flamers who are rightly treated harshly. But when I go on TTAG, I know what type of content I will read and what type of responses it will receive to the point where I don’t feel that the community is honestly intellectually welcoming. However, I feel that way about much of the gun community (due to the modern culture of political polarization, not because polarization and echo chambers are somehow unique to the gun community or debate).

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