“When a man can walk around with a weapon unchecked, scared, jumpy and paranoid of the perceived threat of criminals and terrorists, in one single moment he may become a tyrant through the threat and use of deadly force.” My initial reaction to this quote from a letter to the editor posted at Tennessee’s dnj.com: I don’t think the word “tyrant” means what you think it means. Or, more to the point, what you want it to mean. As America struggles to understand why our President can’t string together the phrase, “Islamic terrorism,” I think it’s important to highlight the fact that anti-gunners seek to further their civilian disarmament agenda by manipulating the language. Here are three prime examples . . .
When PR flack Shannon Watts launched her anti-gun crusade she called it One Million Moms for Gun Control. (A fact missing from the above video.) Watts quickly realized that A) there weren’t anywhere near a million potential supporters and B) the NRA had at least four million members. And so she re-branded her Facebook-based astroturf organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
So what, pray tell, is “gun sense”? I suppose you could say “Look at the way John’s handling that firearm. That man’s got gun sense!” In other words, John is “sensible” around guns. Safe. Or, I dunno, instinctively expert. In fact, “gun sense” is a made-up phrase that’s never once passed the lips of gun owners.
Because Watts created the term “gun sense” out of whole cloth, no doubt riffing on “common sense,” MDA is free to define the term as they please. For Watts’ mob, “gun sense” is what the general population should use to decide that any law infringing upon Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms – in the name of public safety – is a good thing. Because the facts and reason simply don’t support that position, gun sense is nonsense. Literally. Dangerous nonsense.
“Gun violence” is violence committed with a gun. It seems like a concise and fairly harmless term. A gang banger shot and killed by a rival died from gun violence. Fair enough. Of course, it’s then also true that a person stabbed to death by a mugger was the victim of “knife violence.” And a person killed in a car crash wherein they were blind-sided by another driver was the victim of “car violence.”
The Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex (including their media enablers) use the term – where advocates for other public safety issues do not deploy anything similar – because “gun violence” draws attention away from the perpetrator and towards the weapon used to commit the crime. The implication: pay no attention to the perpetrator behind the curtain. Control the gun (through gun control) and you control “gun violence.”
To increase the emotional impact of this misleading terminology, gun control advocates add firearms-related suicides into “gun violence” statistics. (Not to mention categorizing teenage gang members shot and killed during the course of their criminal activities as “children” to inflate the number of “children killed by gun violence.”) This amplifies the perceived scope of the problem even as it obscures its source. A tautological twofer.
In short, the term “gun violence” is an extremely effective example of semiolinguistic manipulation: changing human perception by changing the language. And not in a good way.
About a year ago, the Huffington Post and the anti-gun talking heads at msnbc started using the term “gun safety” to refer to legislative efforts to degrade or destroy Americans’ gun rights. They were following the lead of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s marketing mavens. By then, Hizzoner had more-or-less abandoned the civilian disarmament crusade known as Mayors Against Gun Violence [see: above] to launch a broader effort awkwardly titled Everytown for Gun Safety.
The new name is an attempt to rebrand “gun control” as something more benign and thus more palatable to voters who view government control of any aspect of their life with suspicion, if not outright antagonism, a trend that seems to be increasing in what the Mayor and his ilk consider flyover country. The phrase “gun safety” implies that civilian disarmament makes everyone (in Everytown) safer.
Of course, the exact opposite is true, which only highlights the none-too-subtle Orwellian nature of the re-branding effort. Equally, unlike the term “gun sense,” “gun safety” is in common use. Search “gun safety” on Google. The overwhelming majority of hits (102m) are about being safe with a gun – not trying to curtail firearms ownership or use. Search the same term in YouTube and you’ll see dozens of videos about being safe with a gun.
Even the Everytown for Gun Safety video on gun safety above is about . . . wait for it . . . gun safety. In that case, Bloomberg’s minions are trying to link gun safety to gun control, rather than substitute one term for the other. Why? Because the term “gun safety” as a euphemism for gun control doesn’t work. You can expect this phrase to die out, making way for something just as misguided, misleading and mistaken – as the war of words surrounding the battle to protect our gun rights continues.