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“At this point I do have to admit to a certain bias as well – because I’ve never actually seen anyone change anyone else’s mind on the internet, I don’t really get why a person would want to engage with anti-gun people online. There are much better things to do with your time it would seem, like debating stopping power, Glock vs. 1911, or pounding a nail through your penis.” – Caleb Giddings in Is talking to anti-gun people a waste of time? [via]

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  1. Its not about changing the minds of the people solidly in the gun control camp. Its about presenting a counter argument so that if any fence sitters happen upon the article/forum/facebook page/etc they will possibly be swayed by logic, reason, and facts.

    • Josh has a very good point. We will never change the (small) minds of people like Dick Durbin or Rahm Emmanuel. The majority of democrats are True Believers and nothing, and I mean nothing will allow them to see the truth. However, if you don’t engage them in the argument, their emotion based pleas (If it saves the life of JUST ONE CHILD™) will carry the day with the uninformed.

    • +1

      It is possible to persuade someone to change their mind via online discussion. I know this because someone managed to do it with me.

      Changing the minds of the dedicated antis is a waste of time, but trying to make sure people on the fence, ‘low-information voters’, and the genuinely undecided get both sides of the debate before adopting a position is not. In order to reach those people, the message needs to be presented in appropriate terms, and a moderate tone- these are generally people who think the NRA are extremists, breaking out the molon labe references is just going to turn them off.

    • I’m going to go with Glock should just end the debate once and for all and create a 1911 – a Glockteen-eleven if you will.

      • Still think the G21 is the best Glock out there. I first shot it in Vegas at the Gun Store, and when I was finally able to get my own firearms it was the first think I bought. I have some other pistols now, but I always find myself shooting the G21 the most. The only category where it doesn’t rock is conceal-ability.

        • I own both. It’s hard to get Glock performance out of a similarly priced 1911. The 13 round “assault clips” make me smile a bit as well.

    • Everything past the Smith and Wesson model 10 is just flash marketing aimed at seperating people from their money and creating a non existent demand for the feeble minded consumers amongst us.

      • Yeah, you can hold on to a weapon slightly more engineered than a Brown Bess. We’ll tak a little 20th century science with our firearms.

      • jwm: How you can assert such a confused falsehood in light of the truly superior Colt Official Police model is beyond me. Any handgun lacking the Positive Lock™ firing pin block safety has obviously been obsolesced by this mechanism. Sincerely yours, Colt Marketing Department.

        • LOL. Somebody saw the humor. For the record, I love S&W revolvers. But if I was ever to don a uniform again, highly bloody unlikely, I would want a modern bottom feeder to carry. With large mags.

    • Ah, you’ve hit the um… nail on the head here. Words alone might not do it, but a range trip has a better chance. Not only do they get to handle and fire a gun, but hopefully get some exposure to the other people at the range, and see that we’re not the nuts the media portrays us as, by being selective about who they show on camera, both in interviews and b-roll.

    • You did nail it. Talking to a second amendment amendment opponent is a waste of time. Talking to a fence sitter is pretty much a waste of time, take them shooting though if you can. Heck, if you can, take the Kool-aid drinker too.

    • I’ve become so good at encouraging people to change their minds on gun issues that, for example, my wife as a result now changes hers frequently without the slightest prompt. She did it again yesterday.

  2. There are two more elements at play as well. In order for a person to change their mind, they first have to admit to themselves that their previous position was wrong. This is exceedingly hard for many people. Thus:
    (1) It often takes days, weeks, months, or even years for someone to be able to accept a new position. Engaging someone personally for such a long period of time is next to impossible. The Internet, however, makes that prospect possible.
    (2) It is hard enough for a person to admit to themselves that they were wrong. It is even harder to admit to a friend or family member that they were wrong. The anonymity of the Internet may actually make it easier for a person to accept a new position.

    For these two reasons — and the reason that JoshinGA mentioned above — I think it is worthwhile to engage people on the Internet.

  3. The only reason I can imagine why a person would want to engage with anti-gun people online is to be sure they learn they are not unopposed and they can’t have what they want simply by demanding it.

  4. An honest person is willing to question the truth of his own side and to evaluate fairly the arguments of the other side or sides. I read the arguments made by gun control advocates to keep myself honest. I respond to those arguments in the hopes that some will see our side as being correct.

  5. I argue on the internet when I have the time and inclination, because sometimes it’s fun to destroy someone else rhetorically (having the facts on my side is a bonus, but not totally necessary) and I know other people read it, and maybe their minds can be changed, even if my target’s can’t.

    On the other hand, in person, I don’t bother with full-on rabid members of the Civilian Disarmament Movement. I concentrate my real world oxygen on fence-sitters and undecideds.

  6. From the movie Thank You for Smoking

    Joey Naylor: …so what happens when you’re wrong?
    Nick Naylor: Whoa, Joey I’m never wrong.
    Joey Naylor: But you can’t always be right…
    Nick Naylor: Well, if it’s your job to be right, then you’re never wrong.
    Joey Naylor: But what if you are wrong?
    Nick Naylor: OK, let’s say that you’re defending chocolate, and I’m defending vanilla. Now if I were to say to you: ‘Vanilla is the best flavour ice-cream’, you’d say…
    Joey Naylor: No, chocolate is.
    Nick Naylor: Exactly, but you can’t win that argument… so, I’ll ask you: so you think chocolate is the end all and the all of ice-cream, do you?
    Joey Naylor: It’s the best ice-cream, I wouldn’t order any other.
    Nick Naylor: Oh! So it’s all chocolate for you is it?
    Joey Naylor: Yes, chocolate is all I need.
    Nick Naylor: Well, I need more than chocolate, and for that matter I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom. And choice when it comes to our ice-cream, and that Joey Naylor, that is the defintion of liberty.
    Joey Naylor: But that’s not what we’re talking about
    Nick Naylor: Ah! But that’s what I’m talking about.
    Joey Naylor: …but you didn’t prove that vanilla was the best…
    Nick Naylor: I didn’t have to. I proved that you’re wrong, and if you’re wrong I’m right.
    Joey Naylor: But you still didn’t convince me
    Nick Naylor: It’s that I’m not after you. I’m after them.
    [points into the crowd]

  7. I’ve changed exactly 2 minds with internet debating. I’ve changed a half a dozen by taking people to the range and letting them shoot.

  8. My daughter joined a “gun violence discussion group” soon after the Sandy Hook shootings. Mostly teens with a few adults. She systematically picked apart the arguments of the grabber moderating the page (which, admittedly, was not very difficult to do) until many started to agree. At that point the mod began deleting my kid’s posts, which upset her.

    She now understands that attempts to silence or demonize is just what leftists do when they are losing an argument. Getting censored by the left is the most sincere complement they can give you. It shows you are not only on the correct side of the argument, but that you are arguing effectively.

    So, a bit of bragging on my teen, but the moral of the story is that people, especially young people, WILL respond to well-reasoned arguments on the web. As others have said, if we don’t put our arguments up, we lose by default on a very important medium. This is especially important for the future.

    • +100

      I’m sortof insulted that huffpo took nearly two months and 3500 posts to remove my account. I thought I was making effective arguments.

  9. Debating gun control advocates very much serves a purpose in a number of forums. It’s the reason IMO, that we haven’t seen a much more aggressive progression of prohibitive gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

    Even if we haven’t changed minds in every case, we at the very least have convinced the most vocal of gun control advocates, that those of us who support 2A aren’t going to sit back and let the powers that be, deny us our voice or our guns; Resulting in the failure if not out right abandonment of plenty of the most useless gun legislation.

  10. Aren’t there two kinds of anti’s? Many would restrict firearms simply because they’ve had no experience with guns, or have for the time accepted false statistics, have only images of malignant guns-as-fetish instilled by movies, or have lived a gentle life without exposure to human predators. These people are open to new information and (range) experiences, though their conversion may not be readily or publicly admitted.

    Then there is the other kind of anti, the one for whom “minimize or confiscate guns” is simply a step prescribed in a manual they follow for progress to a dystopia only they can love, wherein a nation becomes a government-run meat-and-dairy operation stocked with human cattle quietly producing sales, income, and estate taxes. Ideally these ‘cattle’ learn to speak a language evolved not by poets and scientists, but one engineered in the Office of Acceptable Expression. These anti’s are closed to new information, because they’ve decided on other grounds that confiscation is absolutely required in the march to achieve their dystopia. Their minds can’t change without deprogramming their dys/utopian vision first.

  11. I do not believe that pounding a nail through my pecker with a 2X4 would be less painful than discussing anything — anything — with gungrabbers (antigun politicians and cops), wingnuts (useful idiots) and squib loads (just plain ignorant idiots). Frankly, I’d rather douse my jockey shorts with lighter fluid and strike a match than suffer one nanosecond in the presence of terminal stupidity or unbearable cynicism.


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