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Reader Arthur Milton writes:

This was originally intended as a response to Bruce Krafft’s ‘Schooling a Young Scholar‘ posted last week, but then realized I had quite a bit more to say. I once read a bumper sticker that said, “Our political discussion has been reduced to reading each other’s bumper stickers.” At the time, I chuckled and thought that it was fairly original for a bumper sticker and moved on. For the record, I generally despise bumper stickers, so this was novel for me. However, as time has worn on, our political and cultural environment has consistently brought that bumper sticker to mind. I now believe the statement can be expanded to say, “Our political discussion has been reduced to reading each other’s asynchronous communication.” I say this because I don’t believe there is any actual discussion taking place, or rather there is no actual discourse. We are living at a point where . . .

Twitter is frequently used and thought of as a political forum, but there’s almost no real discussion happening there. It’s the modern day equivalent of monkeys flinging poo at one another. True discourse is an interactive experience; it requires a face-to-face style of communication. Social media has enabled the homogenization of our political landscape. By this I mean, that it allows a given group the ability to control the information that it consumes. You only have to look at the Mom’s Demand Action Twitter feed to see the truth of this. They have no interest in hearing opposing viewpoints and will vehemently shut them down.

This problem doesn’t just impact our Second Amendment rights; it’s affecting our entire human experience. Normally I wouldn’t recommend a New York Times article, (“In College and Hiding from Scary Ideas“) but good journalism is good journalism. Even a stopped clock and all that. And the phenomenon is not just a domestic problem.

Now, I will give TTAG credit where credit is due. I often see the opposition’s viewpoints represented, with a bias of course, but that’s to be expected. However, this community is just as guilty of not being open to discussion as any other. While I read TTAG daily, I also read lots of other news outlets as well, some that vehemently disagree with my personal beliefs. But as Judith Shulevitz said in her NYT article linked above, I believe I need to challenge my beliefs in order to strengthen them and I need to be open to opposing viewpoints.

This doesn’t mean I have to convert to them, but I need to be able to understand them to be able to counter them. Simply stating, “No you’re wrong,” in a blog comment does absolutely nothing. Oddly enough, it’s generally considered, in many online communities, that if someone disagrees with your opinion, you’re doing it right and therefore your opinion is valid. I know that makes absolutely no sense, but I’ve experienced it personally on multiple occasions and can regale you with anecdotes ad nauseam from others.

The ultimate point is that nothing is going to change until we change the arena of discussion. We will continue to be frustrated at sound bites, tweets, YouTube videos, etc., until we realize that these are asynchronous and as such are not actual arenas for discussion and change.

The return of the Puritans…or perhaps they never left

To Puritan belief system, I think we can all agree, that it was an all-or-nothing ideology. You either agreed and were part of the community, or disagreed and were outcast and ostracized. Today’s American political landscape is pretty much the same way, you’re either a Republican or Democrat and there’s no middle ground for you to stand on. Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall reading The Scarlet Letter like everyone else and coming to the conclusion that homogeneous ideologies are a bad idea that leads to even worse behavior towards our fellow human beings.

To illustrate, I just finished reading Dana Loesch’s Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America. While I found it interesting and provocative as a 2A supporter, I have to ask who her intended audience was and her purpose in writing it. It’s certainly not a book I can recommend to my Anti-2A friends or fence-sitters, because it’s obvious she believes in God, and is pro-life. I’m not stating my beliefs one way or another, but I point this out because she’s making homogenized assumptions that if you are reading the book you also believe in these and other ideas as well.

If that was her intent, awesome, mission accomplished. The people who were on her side are still on her side and the people who weren’t still aren’t. Well done.

I believe Colion Noir said it well recently when he vlogged about the fact that his stance on 2A has no bearing on any of his other beliefs and he resents people assuming it does. I feel much the same way, and I believe that we need to start reacting to this.

The “traditional” 2A community is not particularly inviting, all things considered. Sure it may be on an individual level, but what are we doing to invite women, people of color (more on that later), alternative lifestyles, etc. to join us in maintaining our constitutional freedoms?

As a matter of fact one of our common terms is “OFWG” which in our communities is a term of denigration, but let’s pull the term apart for a moment. Old, Fat, White, Guy. Wow, we just managed to alienate whole groups of people with one term. Last I checked, we all get old, but it’s okay to heap scorn on our elders? I’m pretty sure it was my 75 year old father who taught me how to use, respect and love firearms to begin with. Oh yeah, he also happens to be overweight, white and yeah, yeah, a man.

We consistently use the term, “hoplophobia” in our discussions regarding 2A rights and those that would destroy them. But I have to ask, in order to support 2A, do I automatically have to be a xenophobic, homophobic, atheophobic, obesophobic, gynophobic, pro-life, Christian, heterosexual male? Because if that’s the case, I think a lot of us are going to have a hard time here.

I’m not saying that you should discard your personally held beliefs, but we should be focusing on the area on which we agree and pulling people into the 2A community. What you feel about a person’s gender or sexual orientation should play no role in your inclusion of them into the 2A community.

Anti-gunners count on the 2A community being insular and use it as evidence against us. To my knowledge, MDA doesn’t stand around referring to large swathes of their supporters as RSHMs (Rich Spoiled Helicopter Moms). The ultimate point here is that we need to start being inclusive. There are huge segments of Americans out there just waiting to be brought into our community if we could get over ourselves and start asking them and having an actual discussion with them rather than flinging poo in their general direction.

Bad rhetoric is bad

We really like our labels; pro-gun rights, anti-gun rights, pro-gun control, anti-gun control, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. We use them all the time. But the fact is a person is greater than the sum of their parts. These terms are antiquated and if we’re going to start having any type of legitimate discussion again in this country we need to start over and change the language.

The aforementioned terminology has become so mired in caustic thinking that to opposing viewpoints they are flat-out insults that are, once again, flung around like poo. Let me state that I think the terms pro-gun rights and anti-gun rights are some of the most ridiculous terms ever produced. First, a gun has no rights. It’s an inanimate object and by continuing to use the terminology, we continue to keep the focus off where it belongs, which is the will of the person behind it, period.

I, an American Citizen, have rights protected by the Constitution. They are not “afforded” to me by the constitution as some would mistakenly argue. They are protected by the Constitution, but were held to be innate to mankind by the founding fathers. I believe that every human being has the right to defend themselves in the manner of their choosing. Hell, if you want to walk down the street carrying a Hanzo sword to defend yourself, I think you should be able to. I might think it’s silly to do so, but hey it’s your right and I support it.

The way I see it, there are Constitutional defenders, and Constitutional destroyers, those who are pro-self defense and anti-self defense. That’s it, at least in regard to 2A.

The right to self-defense

Recently two teenagers in Philadelphia killed a man while walking his dog. Now, if you read this story in the various news publications, you might see descriptions of those involved in the incident along the lines of “African American teenagers” or “unarmed man” or perhaps even “white man.” I deliberately didn’t cite these details to make a point.

Two teenagers killed a man who was walking his dog. That’s what happened. It doesn’t matter that they were African American, it doesn’t matter that he was unarmed or that he was white. Or at least I don’t think it should matter. Here’s why.

Two human beings, without provocation, took the life of another human being. That’s wrong. Perhaps I could go as far as to say, that’s “evil.” Pure and simple, it’s wrong. It shouldn’t have happened. Murder has been a crime since the beginning of human history.

The part of this story that really irritates me is when is when the victim is cited as unarmed. Please, do not mistake my irritation as disdain for the level of this tragedy, and it is a tragedy. I am very deeply saddened that a family has lost its husband and father. But that being said — and I understand how insensitive some may find this next statement — he was armed.

He was armed in the manner he felt was necessary to protect himself as a human being given the circumstances. He wasn’t prepared to meet the force of the attacker on an equal playing field, but that was his choice. I will not pretend to know the details of this person or his life circumstances. I have no intention of, “blaming the victim” here. I simply wish to point out that, consciously or not, he chose to not be prepared to defend himself appropriately. It’s as simple as that.

People tend to forget that, historically speaking, and ironically for that matter, the term “arms” probably originated from the literal word “arms” as in our physical appendages. I imagine that someone probably hit someone else, with a fist, long before they figured out that picking up a rock provided a force multiplier. I would love to live in a world where my fists were sufficient to defend myself, or better yet have no need to defend myself. But history shows, that has never been the case, and most likely will be. That doesn’t mean we have permission to stop trying to avoid or deescalate violence, but that’s the crux of the issue here, and it returns me to an earlier point.

Being pro-self defense does not equal pro-violence. As a matter of personal experience, I don’t know a single 2A supporter that would advocate using a firearm in any other capacity than self-defense. We carry guns to save our lives and the lives of those we love. We have accepted that the world, no matter how much we wish otherwise, can be a brutal and violent place and we have the right, and duty to defend ourselves.

Unlike Neo, I don’t have super kung fu skills. I have piss-poor eyesight, I have arthritis in my knees and have sustained back injuries. I’m mobile, but I’m not what you would consider “capable of physical self-defense.” Carrying a firearm gives me a tool to properly defend myself against a more capable attacker. That’s it, case closed.

We need to shift the discussion away from the implement of defense and back to where it belongs, the innate right to defend oneself in a manner of their choosing. I’m sure someone is going to ask, “What if the manner of my choosing is a hand grenade?” To that I respond with, “Sure, if you think you can reasonably employ a hand grenade defensively in any given circumstance without unreasonable risk to innocents in the vicinity.”

I’ve been training with and shooting guns since I was a child. I’m confident that in the event of an emergency I would be able to employ my weapon effectively. In the event that resulted in the injury or death of an innocent, I would be subject to criminal prosecution. That’s a risk that I accept when I carry. That is my choice, my freedom to choose. Just as I can reasonably assume that a person who owns a set of kitchen knives does not intend to start stabbing people at any given time, I respectfully request that others assume I have no intention of doing harm to them. I believe this should be the focus of our 2A rights discussion. Too much emphasis is put on the gun itself, and not enough on the individual right and responsibility.

What are we going to do about it?

This is actually a serious question to which I don’t have an answer. I’m bewildered at this point. Given our polarized political climate it is virtually impossible to elect officials who accurately represent us a populace. We’re forced to choose between the lesser of two evils in any given situation. Who among us can honestly say with sincerity that we believe professional politicians have our best interests at heart? We have no reliable media systems as the media have become about entertainment and sensationalism and rarely about fact-based journalism.

I often wonder if we were able to bring the poet Juvenal forward in time what he would think of our American society. Colion Noir recently spoke about 2A celebrities and the lack thereof. We do have celebrities within our own community, people like Jerry Miculek, Ken Hackathorn, Dana Loesch, Chris Costa, and Travis Haley. I know this list is much larger. The point is, these are celebrities within our community, but they aren’t seriously in the national spotlight per se. We need to look to changing that.

In the classical sense of the word “celebrity” as in regard to stage, screen and television personalities, there are 2A supporters such as Clint Eastwood, Alton Brown, James Earl Jones, Brangelina, and Johnny Depp. Now, we know they exist, how do we get them into the national spotlight and supporting Second Amendment rights? I think we all miss the venerable Charlton Heston at this point, but we need more faces out there in the national spotlight. How do we gain mainstream media attention? Like I said, I don’t know how to answer this, but I think it’s an important piece we need to start addressing.

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  1. I don’t want to have a political discussion. I want to be left alone.

    I want people to stop politicizing everything, and I want politicians to mind their own damn business. Not every day should I have to worry about what new laws or regulations politicians are trying to make which will regulate something that I do, or diminish something that I enjoy.

    I would love to wake up each day thinking about what regulations and laws politicians are going to be working towards removing today, thereby making me more free, but it just isn’t going to happen.

    The more politics become a part of our every day lives, the less free we are. I hate that it has become a necessary evil, because those who are elected to represent me choose to act against my wishes; chiefly, once more: leave me the hell alone.

    • “I don’t want to have a political discussion. I want to be left alone. “

      Thank-you. A thousand times, thank-you.

      Your comment was the perfect reply to this post.

    • You pretty much summed up everything I was thinking while reading this article and more. I’ve got nothing to add. +1

    • Yes, Jeff, yes. I’m tired of being told that I have to “be an ambassador” for the 2A or “start a discussion.” Those are simply code the Progressives use to tell you that YOU have to compromise, not them. The liberal Tyler Kee spewed out a piece a few weeks ago about how he was ashamed to be part of a group that was “White Guys, Everywhere.”

      I won’t be made to feel guilty about who I am. And if you support the 2A, great, and if not, I’m sure eventually we’ll have a problem. Until then, leave me alone.

    • I’m sorry Jeff but these guys know how to make your life better than you could ever imagine. They just need to show you how or force you to. They’re from the government. and they know what is best for you.

    • “I don’t want to have a political discussion. I want to be left alone.”

      +1000 My sentiment exactly. The hard truth is that the gun-control movement is based on a set of fixed moral imperatives that it regards as inviolate. If there is dialogue, we are expected to modify our gun-owning, gun using, behavior to meet their needs. This is called “being reasonable”.

      No amount of reasonable dialogue is going to accomplish much with these kinds of folks. The best strategy is to simply wait ’em out. Social movements like this wax and wane. Anybody hear much from the temperance and prohibition movement? How about the anti-pornography movement? Like them, gun-control will run course and its membership will move on to other issues.

      • The problem with waiting them out is that it’s like waiting out termites. They’re incrementally gobbling up your rights, and before you know it, you’ll be left with nothing.

      • “Like them, gun-control will run course and its membership will move on to other issues.”

        Waiting so impatiently for the day…

    • Add another plus vote. If someone seeks to use force to deprive another of life, liberty, or property, any middle ground is a win for the aggressor and a loss for the victim.

    • TL;DR

      Yup, all this. I got to the part where the author was choosing to censor the event of a man’s death in a different way than someone with a different agenda would censor it. It’s all the same to me, disingenuous.

      And yeah, leave me alone too.

    • There’s a problem with this line of thinking: the opposition has already politicized it, and until you engage them on that ground, they’re just going to keep ramming their anti-gun legislation forward until they get it. Like it or not, the reality we live in is that there is a legislative attack on the right to bear arms. You cannot protect it by taking a principled stand against “stooping down to politics.”

      Might I remind you, all of you who supported this viewpoint, on how during the initial UN Security Council meeting to decide on intervention in the Korean War, the USSR took a principled stand and boycotted the meeting as a show of solidarity with its communist ally. The US then looked around, saw that there was no communist veto, and then called the vote anyway, passing the resolution to deploy UN troops to Korea.

      That’s exactly what will happen if you try to stay out of the political fight.

      • I would make the argument that the Soviet Union didn’t really take a “principled” stand because they originally gave the North Koreans approval, both political and military, to invade the South. Stalin seriously miscalculated and didn’t thinking the Western Powers were going to respond. In comparison, the United States kept South Korean forces woefully unprepared and poorly supplied because we feared the South Korean dictator at the time, Rhee, would be tempted to invade North Korea with a well equipped Army.

        • In retrospect, we should have assured that both were well armed and then stayed out of it. We are STILL there.

        • Can you demonstrate the relevance of this statement?

          “Stalin approved of the North invading the South” is not exclusive with “USSR boycotted the UNSC meeting, citing solidarity with their Communist ally (with the real reason being more communist allies = better for them)”, nor the conclusion that after that, everyone learned not to boycott the meetings and just stick around to veto instead.

          With the relevant lesson for gun rights being that it does no good to say “I don’t want it to be politicized, I just want to be left alone” when they are already politicizing it and not leaving you alone.

    • That is the great paradox – we want to have freedom and be left alone, but freedom is threatening to power. It is why Jefferson said ” The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance”. Enjoying our freedom is the sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

    • “I want politicians to mind their own damn business”

      hey, i agree with this. but i wonder how many people who say it really mean it… or just for some things.

  2. I dont care if your gay
    I dont care if you believe in god(s)
    I dont care if you (dis)like guns
    I dont care if your a Republican or Democrat, Communist or Socialist

    I care about freedom and individual responsibility.
    I care about you wanting freedom and individual responsibility.
    I care about being able to choose the life you want to live without forcing your ideals and beliefs on others.

    To those who would undermine that in the name of a “Better” society you would do well to read some world history.

    • “I dont (sic) care if your a Republican or Democrat, Communist or Socialist”

      I care because none on the list above have done much for freedom and responsibility lately.

  3. Yeah like “Omega Man” all alone. Or take control of the one’s we choose to represent us. They are not our leaders or rulers.

  4. “I simply wish to point out that, consciously or not, he chose to not be prepared to defend himself appropriately”.

    Or did he? Was he required to have a CCW. Must he prove need? Must he get training? Or did he yield to weight of laws design to prevent lawful self defense?

    This man, minding his liberty to walk a dog is gone. Time to lay blame at the feet of legislators writing laws, police enforcing those laws, judges who sentence lawful citizens, social services who deny rights shielded by laws and we the people who fail to elect representatives who rigorously defend our right to lawful self defense.

  5. Hear, hear Mr. Zimmerman. You have put the case forward in the most judicious and coherent way that I have ever seen. I agree with your points entirely. Just because I’m an “OFWG” doesn’t mean I subscribe to the “right wing” political viewpoint. I think few of us are the monolithic ideologues the general public believes us to be, and that goes for gun owners as much as anyone else.

  6. Homogeneous? Really? We can’t even agree on what caliber to carry. And as far as a good, healthy debate is concerned, I’d rather shave my eyeballs than spend two minutes talking with a gungrabber.

    What’s next — a far ranging discussion of race relations with David Duke? GTFOOH.

    • @Ralph, with all the possible examples of egregious racists, many anti white, you use David duke as an example of racism? Wow.

  7. After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that the “Gun Community” that I belong to doesn’t include those I consider to be detrimental to the larger community that I belong to known as the human race American variety. I don’t believe that I have to include those who by their behavior destroy the very fabric of our society. Not all belief systems are equal. Will I converse with them? Surely. Will I ever believe that I have to accept their belief system over my own? Emphatically, no. Will I reason with them? Absolutely. As an example, I bet there are ISIS members who are really gun guys and that we could discuss guns and gear if not for the fact that they’d rather see me dead whereas I would like them to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus who alone can save. And unfortunately, even if you don’t have an interest in politics it will have an interest in you. Your last point is a good one. Harley Davidson changed their image by putting celebrity behinds on their motorcycles so that technique could work. Unfortunately, the celebs that are pro-gun are probably too concerned with losing the ability to work in their chosen fields because the leaders of those professions are mostly liberal. So they don’t make too much of a show of being pro-gun.

  8. First, I question the statement that the author makes in saying he supports 2A. With his rhetoric he brings all sorts of questions to the table, only strengthening the anti-gun crowd’s position. Be very careful of who and what you support!

    Next, his reasonable tone is merely covering up his anti-gun position. By trying to engage in a “conversation” where he can try to manipulate the pro-gun mindset.

    The anti-gun crowd hasn’t given up. They are just getting sneakier about their passion.

    Don’t fall for it!

  9. Articles like this remind me of the way some people think about rich guys. You know, rich guys didn’t get rich by making smart decisions or working long hours or taking risks that turned out well for them (or ,OK, inheriting from someone else who did those kinds of things); rich people don’t have to worry about costs and taxes and the law of diminishing returns and depreciation and that sort of thing. Rich guys got rich because they have a money tree in the back of their office and they just pluck the Benjamin leaves off every so often. And when they oppose high taxes and minimum wage mandates and expensive regulations it isn’t because that would effect the source of their wealth, it’s just because they are greedy and don’t want to share the leaves of their money trees, which of course aren’t effected at all by high taxes and minimum wages and stuff like that.
    In like fashion, the 2A community isn’t mostly politically conservative with a high regard for individual liberty and responsibility and the right to life because those values are all of a piece with the right to keep and bear arms; it is mostly so because a group of conservatives got together in some back room somewhere and said, “Look, the 2A belongs to us, and we aren’t going to let anyone support the 2A who doesn’t look like us and think like us and isn’t conservative like us.” And so the 2A community writes manifestoes that say, “Nobody can support the 2A except political conservatives”. And all those liberals who really, really, really support the 2A for everyone, but otherwise want the government to tell you who to associate with, how much of your property you get to keep, when and where and how you can apply your religious principles to your daily life, how much sugar you can eat, and what kind of insurance to buy, and so on and on–well, they just read that manifesto and say, Oh dear, I guess I can’t support the 2A even tho I really, really, really want to.
    The truth is, I have never seen anyone on this board say “we won’t let you support the 2A if you are black, or homosexual, or a Democrat, or female, or blah blah blah. And I don’t know of any blacks, or women, or homosexuals, who say, “guys, I would support the 2A and vote for pro-gun politicians and own guns myself and vote against gun-rights restrictions when they are proposed, but you won’t give me your permission so I don’t.” I think all this kind of stuff is a precisely reversed perception of cause and effect. Homosexuals who want the government to be able to tell me who I have to bake a cake for are not going to want me and people like me to have the tools to effectively resist an overbearing government. They aren’t going to join me in supporting the 2A. Homosexuals who just want to be free to have the means to defend themselves from individual attackers (and, if they thought about it, Sharia-based governments) will join me, and will be welcomed by any other 2A supporter I am aware of as a fellow 2A supporter. But I may decline to go to their wedding. They are free to decline to come to mine.

    • Yep. I’m baptized Christian and a libertarian.I won’t dictate by man made law to others who to marry or who to associate with, as long as you don’t dictate by made made law who I can marry, pray to or associate with.

      With that as an understanding, if you want to be a free man or woman and believe in the uninfringed right to keep and bear arms, then red, black, brown, purple or two heads, gay, athiest or agnostic, come join us in our effort to get back our freedoms that we’ve, until recently, compromised away to the freedom hating statists.

    • +1,000, but your observation isn’t unique to the gay community. The number of people I’ve met who advocate private gun ownership, the clearest example of what a free person is, spans countless demographics and I treat them all as my brothers and sisters. The sad thing is that many of these same people will, at the drop of a hat, chant about why others should have their money confiscated and redistributed by the state at gunpoint. They don’t even want to do something beneficial, like punish people who knowingly and directly use their wealth to fund things like genocide or human trafficking, oh no, it’s just Bolshevism wrapped in the fine silk cloak of “social justice and equality”. The dissonance of such a contradiction is enough to make my head spin.

      • No, I had run on a bit and stopped at one example. Another would be: A so-called “feminist” who expects the society to “teach men not to rape” by mandating speech codes and “sensitivity training” and wants the government to mandate “workplace equality” by forcing employers to try to figure out “comparable worth” on pain of being shut down isn’t going to support a person’s right to be armed against an oppressive state. A strong, independent woman who wants to be responsible for her own life will, and will be welcomed here. You get the drift, I could go on for a long time… I will opine that folks with a large chip on their shoulder just looking for a chance to be offended will certainly find it, no matter what position they claim to take on the 2A (that’s you, cowgirl up, if you’re still out there).

  10. If I may miss the point, here, “RSHM” is now going to be my preferred way of mentally referring to the “look at this baby!” brand of anti-2A argument.

  11. Some guy writes about how we have to stop using the same old rhetoric about gun rights…. by using the same old rhetoric about using the same old rhetoric about gun rights. It’s some sort of Inception up in here!

  12. As a matter of fact one of our common terms is “OFWG” which in our communities is a term of denigration, Hey, I am OFWG, non PC, and proud.
    But I have to ask, in order to support 2A, do I automatically have to be a xenophobic, homophobic, atheophobic, obesophobic, gynophobic, pro-life, Christian, heterosexual male?
    You do not have to be crazy to work here, but it helps.
    I actually am a little bit more Aynn Rand and libertarian centric.

  13. I also am an OFWG…no DERISION here(or when most use it in TTAG posts. And I don’t care to be lectured to…

  14. Who among us can honestly say with sincerity that we believe professional politicians have our best interests at heart?
    Yo ho! The Ministry of Truth says that they do!
    We have no reliable media systems as the media have become about entertainment and sensationalism and rarely about fact-based journalism.
    MSNBC? Surely not!

  15. It is impossible to have a “discussion” with someone who puts the average law-abiding gun owner in the same category as Hitler, or the Taliban, or the KKK. They don’t want a discussion, they want us disarmed. They have a political agenda that cannot be pushed through upon an armed citizenry. They want the America we grew up in gone, 100% gone. They don’t merely want to change a little something here or there, they want it to become someplace else entirely. There is no way to have a discussion with people like that. I have attempted many times to post facts and statistics to support what I have to say; it mostly does no good. They have their own “statistics” such as “if it saves just one life” and other platitudes. Good luck to those that think they can make a dent in the anti’s attitude, but I think its a lost cause.

    • “It is impossible to have a “discussion” with someone who puts the average law-abiding gun owner in the same category as Hitler, or the Taliban, or the KKK.”

      The same can be said about the animal-rights movement, among others. There’s a pattern there.

  16. You know what I’m sick of? We. I’m sick of people asking what “we” need to do about “our” society, “our” racism, “our” education system, death penalty, taxes, legal system, unrealistic beauty standards for women, and everything else they can think of.

    You used the word “we” 37 times in that essay, “our” an additional 20 times. For a person you never met, you have no problems speaking to who I am, what I do, and what I believe.

    “We really like our labels; pro-gun rights, anti-gun rights, pro-gun control, anti-gun control, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. We use them all the time. ” Have you ever heard me use those labels? No of course not. Because you don’t ******* know me. You don’t know my name, you never met me, and you don’t know the first thing about me.

    I know what you’re thinking: “Well, I meant “we” as the general community. I didn’t mean you specifically.” Oh really? News flash: communities are made up of individuals. You want a “community” to do something? Then the individual human beings that make up that community are all going to have to do similar things at similar times to achieve a collective effect that can be recognized as communal change. What that means is, if there are racist individuals in a community, the entire community doesn’t need to become more inclusive. Target the racists, and leave the rest of us alone. (Sounds sort of like jailing the criminals, and leaving law-abiding gun owners alone, doesn’t it?)

    Guess what? I am not, nor have I ever been, “xenophobic, homophobic, atheophobic, obesophobic, gynophobic, pro-life, or Christian.” So if you’re wondering what “we” need to do to be less racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, atheophobic, obesophobic, gynophobic, pro-life, or Christian, I would tell you to piss off. Because I am none of those things. Never have been. Never will be. And I’m downright insulted that you would come right out and say that I am not inclusive enough.

    ” The ultimate point here is that we need to start being inclusive.” There’s that “we” again. Physician, heal thyself.

    TL;DR: You don’t know me. So don’t tell me what I need to do, disguised as some vague “community” of which I belong. You want this “community” to change? Start with yourself. Lead by example. Until then, piss off.

    • “We” and “our” reflects the politically correct, collectivist agenda that is being used against society to destroy individual rights.

    • Very well said. Your short-version summary says it nicely:

      ” You don’t know me. So don’t tell me what I need to do, disguised as some vague “community” of which I belong. You want this “community” to change? Start with yourself. Lead by example. Until then, piss off.”


      • Apparently the part about listening to opposing viewpoints (without adopting them) was lost on OP. Some people cannot survive outside their echo chambers, I’m afraid.

        • If you read 2A really closely, you’ll find it does not mention “opposing viewpoints”. Proposing that everybody consider viewpoints which completely ignore 2A, pretend it does not exist, is a position completely opposed to 2A. And that was the reason for the post, in its entirety. Is that clearer, now?

  17. Your article lost me when state that we need to be more inclusive….. It is the responsibility of the public to understand and exercise their rights, gun owners cannot do that for other people. At the same time, so many here seem to think liberty begins and ends with the 2nd Amendment. What good is a 2 Nd amendment if you have no other rights?

  18. One of the most eloquent and well-considered articles I have read in quite some time on 2A or any other topic. Thank you. I hope people will read it with their minds and not merely their hearts.

  19. For those who have responded in a rather hostile manner, I would say this: the author’s main point is simply that IF you want to convince others of your argument, you need to engage them where they are, not where you wish them to be. If you aren’t interested in having such a discussion, nobody’s forcing you.

  20. Actually, Dan, I believe Dana is way ahead of you in her reasoning. It’s NOT illogical to assume that belief in conservative principles go hand in hand, because if you understand where rights REALLY come from, the Creator of the universe, as laid out in the Word of God, (the bible), then you would understand very well that you cannot separate the right to protect yourself as an innocent person, from say, the right to life and personhood of an innocent unborn child. If you try to have your gun rights separated, in your own little compartmentalized little box, you lose sight of the foundation of where all right come from, as our founding fathers understood very well. Murder was against the law at our founding, and it still is. They could have never imagined an elective procedure to kill your own child, but if you are too caught up in the 2nd A fight, as to not stand up for the truly innocent, your fight is in vain. Why work to preserve us somewhat less innocent old sinners with self defense, and not come to the defense of those who have done nothing wrong, ever? That’s going through life with blinders on. I can only hope that you eventually come around to see the bigger picture of how all rights come from God, and are forever bound together, as they should be.

      • Well, that right is so special, he didn’t want to sully it, so he reserved it exclusively to his followers.

      • God does lay out freedom of worship. It comes in the form of free will, He will not force you to follow. Nor does He reward worship that comes from coercion and not choice.

        • He gave you the ability to choose your form of worship, to be sure… that’s what the free will entails.

          But he will still punish you for wrong worship. So he isn’t granting the right.

          If “having the ability” were equal to “having the right,” then we would have the right to commit murder.

          So I am afraid you’ve not answered Grindstone’s question coherently.

        • Oh, yes, that whole “worship me or die” free will thing? Yeah, real solid ground for “rights”.

          And what about “THOU SHALT NOT HAVE ANY OTHER GODS BEFORE ME”? Seems a little contradictory to the God-inspired 1st Amendment?

        • “But he will still punish you for wrong worship. So he isn’t granting the right”

          Boy, there are a LOT of people who will argue that, clearly ridiculous as it is. Remember the all-forgiving god? The loving god? The god who created us in his own image? The infallible god who could not have created anything except precisely what he wanted, atheists included? What a ridiculous statement. And so long as he only punishes you after you’re dead, who cares? You’ll be DEAD!

          And where, pray tell, does god explain what is “right worship”? All explanations I have seen or heard, from every religion, were pronounced by men, not gods. God can feel free to address the entire world whenever he, in his limitless power and glory, chooses. I’m not hearing anything.

        • He’s asking how one can justify the doctrine of freedom of worship with reference to God. In other words, he’s making the claim that God (as in Yahweh) did not, in fact, grant freedom to worship (contra people’s claims that it is a “God given right”) and challenging you to show him where He did. You’re simply re-asserting it’s a God given right, which doesn’t answer his question.

        • As innate as “THOU SHALT NOT HAVE ANY OTHER GODS BEFORE ME”? Or did he say “no, I was wrong about that, forget it. You’re totally free to worship as you see fit” somewhere else? You didn’t really answer my question. And your jab was totally lame.

        • @grind, that wasn’t a jab, just an observation. Much of you write here is troll material, this really being no exception.

        • Much of you write here is troll material, this really being no exception.

          Pot. Kettle. Black.

        • Then you don’t pay attention much and don’t truly understand what a troll is. A troll isn’t somebody who just goes with the echo chamber. I asked a legitimate question. I received a trollish non-answer, from both of you. You still have not addressed either the point of the question nor the point of my response. You are the troll here.

        • good stuff, Steve , troll label coming for you is a compliment, and grind….. well every board needs a troll, nice job.

        • You’re a terrible troll. You can’t even properly get a rise out of anybody. And avoiding the question is just amateurish. 1/10

        • “Steve, are you claiming to know what a persons relationship to their maker is…or is not?”

          Ooo, Ooo, put me in, coach, *I* know the answer to that one!

          A person’s relationship to their maker is IMAGINARY! Yea! For the win!

          BTW, when you find yourself calling everyone else a troll, you are probably the troll.

          You’re welcome.

        • Hilarious, this forum is even more politically correct than MSNBC or Yahoos forums. Socially engineered, politically correct opinions and immaturity seem to be mistakenly confused here with cleverness at times. Your welcome.

  21. James Stulhman was not armed. And the English term “arms,” referring to weaponry, derives from the Latin word ‘arma,’ meaning weapons…not the appendages that hang from your shoulders. If you indeed read Juvenal, you should know this.

    In a democracy or democratic republic politicians want power, to be elected. They may want money, too, but fame is often higher on their list. An inordinate number of socially conservative citizens don’t bother to vote. So let’s stop screaming at the politicians and start speaking like a Dutch uncle to the non-voters that happen to be, they profess, pro-2A.

    As for the defense by one commenter of “the very rich,” rubbish. Of course someone makes the first money. After that the family pursues legislative favors, moats, barriers to entry, protection against imports, and vertical or horizontal monopolies. It’s the nature of big money. It wants more money, and it isn’t picky about how to get it. You can’t play the game. You don’t have the entry fee. I’m not against industrious or thoughtful people creating businesses and garnering wealth. I am appalled at the extent to which the middle class is unable or unwilling to stop large industries/fortunes from bending the machinery of big government to their will. Uncle Warren can explain it to you. And if there is an obvious argument against unions, it is that they, too, favor very large companies and very big government…because each of these is a perfect target for unionization, large dues, and stable if less productive workforces.

    Voters are, indeed, simpletons: Turning every issue into a bogus claim of race or gender bias is a game the powerful love. Frankly the owners of large industries and banks don’t care about those issues. They love, though, the fact that those two concepts tie up most news time and voter discussion….allowing the big guys to get approval for yet more laws and regulations that favor, protect, and even support their businesses. That’s just the way it is. I’ve sat and the tables of the very rich and the very ordinary. The very rich just don’t give a damn about most of the social issues. They care about the money.

    • That was me. And I didn’t say “the very rich”–for a reason. And I wasn’t so much defending them as I was pointing out the fantasy-based way some people–indeed many people–think of them. It isn’t just the “very rich” who oppose minimum wage hikes and oppressive regulation. It’s the people who are trying to run a restaurant or a steel fabrication plant or a waste disposal service too. But there are folks–like my wife–who seem to operate on the assumption that anybody who owns a business has an unending supply of money and needs to give more of it away, because after all they have an unending supply. I think you kind of missed my point.

  22. Another article telling us that we’re all “xenophobic, homophobic, atheophobic, obesophobic, gynophobic, pro-life, Christian, heterosexual male[s]” and we need to be more diverse and tolerant and inclusive and more “current progressive SJW buzzword of the day”.

    Here’s my response to Mr. Milton’s SJW nonsense: *flings poo*

  23. People of the gun do not like the Old Fat White Guy moniker. Rather, it is gun grabbers who created that moniker and try to apply it to us. About the only time I see people of the gun using it is as a response to derision from gun-grabbers.

  24. Good points made in the article. Unfortunately, there are those who just shut their eyes even more when confronted with reality they don’t like. On all sides.

    • To the extent that the point is “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”, well, you can’t really argue with that. To the extent that the point is, POTG should not be racist, misogynistic religion bigots who don’t want to associate with anybody else even if that somebody else fully supports the 2A–well, again, no way I would argue with that. To the extent that the point is, You know, the conservative white guys all got together and hijacked the pro-gun position and they’re too insular to give anyone else permission to join up, he’s completely got the cart before the horse. “Conservatives” didn’t attract the pro-gun movement to themselves. The pro-gun ideology and principles attracted “conservatives” (and didn’t attract liberals), generally.

  25. It was a good read. I enjoyed it.

    That said, my opinion:

    On Flinging Poo and the Right to Self-Defense
    Oftentimes there is no discussion and there never is going to be. The reason is because there quite literally is nothing to talk about. The cultural divide is so vast that either side doesn’t want to talk to the other – so we just throw some poo. Both sides, throwing poo, and trying to amass as many votes as possible to oust the other (regarding the 2A). This divide is based on a fundamental philosophy. Liberty for the individual, individual rights, individual responsibility/accountability, government by philosophy on the basis of individualism – Or the opposite – state control, government by statistics, more laws, more regulations, solely for the purpose of betterment of the human condition in regards to safety, welfare, and happiness of the “colony” as a whole (individual ants don’t matter).

    The return of the Puritans…or perhaps they never left
    Old fat white guys is a term they gave us. It is not a term supported by me.

    Bad Rhetoric is bad.
    I don’t like labels at all. I wish the united states had a “no party” system where representatives were elected based on character and support for those they represent.

    The right to self-defense.
    I agree. There is no reason for media or people in general to attach race to a crime. Last time I checked, all races commit crime. Also, saying a person is “unarmed” implies what exactly? That if they were armed then the crime against them is ok? I disagree the media should tout and attach this term to people.

    What are we going to do about it?
    I think the most important aspect we can do – is to share and spread our enjoyment of firearms to others. Granted, some people won’t like them, and that’s fine. But if they never try it – they’ll never know, and that is something I can help them with.

  26. I appreciate your effort to write Mr. Milton. Having said that, I believe you are mistaken.

    First, “The ‘traditional’ 2A community is not particularly inviting, all things considered.”

    What you describe as People of the Gun being exclusive and stand-offish is, in my opinion, wrong. Rather, you are describing Fudds. Who are Fudds? They are people who own firearms and believe that only certain people (of whom they approve) should be able to own the specific firearms (of which they approve). In my assessment, Fudds are a dying breed are not People of the Gun. Thus, while your criticisms about a lack of inclusiveness definitely applies to Fudds, they do not apply to People of the Gun.

    Second, what you describe as emotionally charged terms (such as Old Fat White Guys, Gun Rights advocates, etc.) is the invention of gun grabbers. We are merely responding to and defending ourselves from their verbal attacks. Unfortunately, it is necessary else we let them frame the debate and lose the war of words.

    Finally, Mr. Milton, you fail to understand gun grabbers. They are not interested in a “conversation” or engaging us in a debate. Their use of words is nothing more than an attempt to gain our compliance with their will without having to resort to force. They simply spew words looking for anything to stick. Make no mistake: they are not interested in an exchange of ideas. Their interest: controlling us. And if you ever read any of their comments, you can see that they are all to happy to use violence (usually through government proxy) to gain our compliance.

    Imagine that you are on a city sidewalk with your young, beautiful wife and a violent gang suddenly surrounds you. They express their intent to take your wife away and rape her repeatedly. What room is there for a conversation, dialogue, or exchange of ideas? Are you going to explain the merits of chastity and social boundaries? No. Your only verbal option is to state that you are going to take out as many of the gang members as possible and hope that sounds ugly enough that they decide to move along. So it is almost every time with gun grabbers.

    • Good, job, U_S. That is the crux of the problem with this piece. It starts with a false assumption – that the anti’s even want a conversation.

        • Steve, do you really not understand why individual freedom doesn’t sit well with ‘fence sitters;?

        • Yeah, I gotta say…I’m rapidly moving to the camp that suspects “Fence Sitters” is code-word phantom group used as a straw man to get us to compromise positions.

          All these arguments are the same: WE have to moderate our tone and what we say and how we say it in order to appeal to the ‘fence sitters.’

          At the end of the day, I’m not convinced any of that matters.

        • So none of you have ever converted anyone to be pro-gun? You’re not much use to the movement then.

        • “So none of you have ever converted anyone to be pro-gun? You’re not much use to the movement then.”

          Total and COMPLETE logic fail.

          You are assuming because I have not “moderated my tone” or become Politically Correct in my way of being that I have not converted anyone.

          Look up non sequitur.

          I will best convince people by being myself, not by trying to conform to some progressive ideal of presenting ‘perfect window dressing’ and symbolism over substance styles of communication.

  27. Wow, this is why we cant have nice things. We argue amongst our selves as we would with those who oppose us on an issue we are all supposed to agree on.

    I m thinking the politicians have out done themselves. Make everybody afraid of it and argue about it while they rape the country. Nicely done ruling class.

  28. I imagine that someone probably hit someone else, with a fist, long before they figured out that picking up a rock provided a force multiplier.

    Anatomically modern humans have always known this. Figuring out about use of tools to inflict harm on others and projectiles would be something our more primitive ancestors figured out at some point. Baboons, for example, are very aware of the use of stones and throwing them as a weapon (baboons are a type of monkey). And they did a test once with chimpanzees where they put a realistic-looking animatronic leopard in with the chimps. The chimpanzees went ape-shit (no pun intended), but did a very interesting method of attack. Since the leopard could only move its head, the chimpanzees took sticks and would move in close, and then thwack it in the head. Eventually, they succeeded in knocking its head off.

  29. Gun grabbers will eventually wake up sooner or later. Hopefully before they get their wish. Not only would they disarm us, they would help criminals become armed!

    So many examples and yet they turn a blind eye. All I can say is that they can say they love their families, but in reality, they do not! Ask what they would do if attacked. Running doesn’t work, calling 911 takes too long, what are they left with? Facing bad guys with guns and no one there to help!

    Would you save someone who is trying to take any of your guns and mags?

    I do not believe they think at all. What a bunch of stupid!

  30. all this vitriol between pro and anti 2A is what the ramp-up to civil war looks like. it is happening all across the spectrum of political discussion. yes, we are no longer discussing anything. we are hardening our positions (left and right), and using any opportunity to blast “others” for having oppressive tendencies leading to coercing behavior. the middle ground is gone, there is no compromise available. the mere passage of time will not lower the intensity. both sides want a smash-down of the other, an obliteration of differing worldview. only when one side is eliminated will there be peace. actually, this country has conducted an on-going civil war since the beginning….between those who believe people cannot make rational decisions, and those who think otherwise.

  31. To my fellows who read the whole article: I salute your dedication. Or perseverance. Or patience.

    To the author: You don’t need anywhere this long to make your points, and drawing it out this far favors ego over audience.

    To TTAG: Thank you for all you do, but I usually have neither the time nor inclination to read a post this long; if I did, I’d have fired up the Kindle app, not Firefox. You are doing neither the author nor yourselves a favor here.

    • You think that was long? Did that really take more than 3 minutes to read? Is your time that valuable, or is this the millenial fixation of everything being stripped to 140 characters?

      If you can’t find it in you to read a brief op ed, how do you make decisions about who to vote for, what car to buy, how to cook, how to do, well, anything?

      • Yes, I thought that was long, compared to the amount of information being conveyed. Brevity is the soul of eloquence, at least in my opinion, just as precision is its heart.

        Yes, it would take more than three minutes if I wanted to really consider what I was reading, as opposed to just skimming.

        No, I have no problem reading something this long, or far longer, if justified by the idea payload and presentation thereof.

        I am not a millennial, and, yes, frankly I do consider my time that valuable, thank you very much. Do you appreciate having your time wasted?

        How do I make decisions? By being efficient in my information gathering, analysis, and decision processes. Thus I do not appreciate having my time wasted by excessive rhetoric and polemic.

  32. As Jeff, the first poster stated he just wants to be left alone……a belief worthy of admiration.
    Problem is that isn’t how life works. As the aphorism goes ‘ just because you have no interest
    in politics does not mean politics has no interest in you’. A fancy way to say that those in power
    quite simply WILL NOT LEAVE ANYONE ALONE. We must act politically if we wish to retain
    any semblance of freedom or humanity.

    • Another variant on the same theme: “I am interested in politics, so that someday I will not have to be interested in politics.”

  33. “Two teenagers killed a man who was walking his dog. That’s what happened. It doesn’t matter that they were African American, it doesn’t matter that he was unarmed or that he was white.”

    It does if the reason they killed him is because he was white and he could not defend himself. What would you write about an incident in the deep south where a group of people lynched a person? In all probability the races of the people involved is important to the story.

    • Why they killed that person to us should have no bearing whatsoever…that is the point. Do you care why that German pilot committed “suicide” as the papers put it? No…he committed murder and there is no reason other than he is an animal…worse than an animal.

    • For reasons I can’t comprehend, a huge number of regular readers have concluded the author is some sort of stealth anti-gunner. It’s amazing to see the differences in opinion on this article.

      • I can’t speak for others, but for my part, my distrust-o-meter when high when he started telling “us” what “we” should do and how “we” should do it.

        That fits a very ‘Statist’ pattern we often see from Progressives in general and Anti-Gunners in particular. We also hear it a lot from Academia and Politicians of various political stripes. And HOA’s. Control-freaks, in other words.

        Therefore, I like the comment above: speak for yourself. Lead by example. Show me how many “fence sitters” you’ve convinced to eschew their anti-gun (or non-pro-gun) based worldview and became POTG with your “moderated tone” and all that other stuff.

        Until then…it’s all hot air. I like the old saying “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”

        We DO more by carrying every day and SHOWING the “Fence Sitters” that bad things don’t happen around them JUST because law abiding citizens are carrying guns.

        Create cognitive dissonance…that the assumed “fact” does not match observed reality. Propaganda’s big weakness is that it ALWAYS eventually shows itself to be the lie it is.

        The anti-gunners are LOSING the culture war right now and they know it. We did not gain momentum by cow-towing and making ‘nice’ with people that either hate us outright or couldn’t be bothered to form an opinion on an important topic.

        I find it kind of funny that these “we must not be strong and aggressive” articles come out with patterned regularity. This stuff is not winning legal battles (how many successful timid lawyers do you know?) DOING much of anything at all in our FIGHT for liberty.

        • “my distrust-o-meter when high when he started telling “us” what “we” should do and how “we” should do it.

          That fits a very ‘Statist’ pattern….” Dead on the money JR. This politically correct, collectivist agitprop is often used by the state when attacking individuals rights. Remember your own words the next time you use them when discussing vaccines being good for the group, and the groups rights being more important than the individuals rights.

        • “Remember your own words the next time you use them when discussing vaccines being good for the group, and the groups rights being more important than the individuals rights.”

          Good grief, will you give this up.

          I’ve never stated my opinion about vaccines one way or another. All I’ve done is question the voracity of your claims on the topic of vaccine efficacy in various populations…a kind of “show me the proof” thing. The proof you’ve offered to date has been quite specious. That’s all I’ve said.

          I have CERTAINLY not stated any position one way or another regarding collective rights vs individual rights as it applies to vaccines. For record, to set it straight, I’ve been in very heated discussions on this topic arguing the side of “individual right to choose” and against The State forcing ANY kind of health care decision.

          Can we lay this to rest now? Pretty Please?

        • “The proof you’ve offered to date has been quite specious” Maybe I misunderstood your position, there are a number of posters here who will use the same anti 2A rhetoric when it comes tom other issues, as with the vaccine issue I wont mention this again with you, as you asked, but to respond to your quote…it’s up the vaccine manufacturers and the government to provide this proof you are looking for, proof of safety and efficacy. They have not done so That is all a small but quickly growing number of Americans are asking.

  34. [pedantry]
    As far as “pro-gun rights and anti-gun rights” as ‘ridiculous terms’ the statement ‘a gun has no rights’ is, in and of itself, ridiculous.
    Changing it to be “pro gun-rights and anti gun-rights” it is less ridiculous…


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