“I don’t care” was a representative response from some gun owners in reaction to this column posting a draft of Dianne Feinstein’s “assault weapon” ban bill. It’s a curious reaction, not only because of highly-publicized anticipation in the gun and “gun control” communities and the headline news her press conference generated, but because, at this writing, the text still is not posted on the official Library of Congress THOMAS legislative database website. Even more curiously, the draft posted in Gun Rights Examiner’s Scribd document archive account has, to date, only received 31,000+ page views, this for a bill that presumably interests millions. How many have actually read it through is probably a lot less.
“We don’t need to know the details,” was a reason given for lack of interest, some offering it because they consider the bill dead on arrival with no chance of passage, and they’re probably right for now -- that is, assuming the next mass shooting (that we know is going to happen with all the “gun-free zone” success guarantees still in place) isn’t even worse than Newtown. Imagine a domestic Beslan breaking right now as you read this, and then ask yourself how much political courage and Constitutional fidelity your representative typically displays, especially when mobs are howling and when posturing promises more rewards than principle.
Not wanting to be bothered with details in an ideological conflict is intentionally putting on blinders. It’s like soldiers on the battlefield not wanting to know about enemy positions, capabilities, movements and logistics. In war time and in peace, people die to obtain such information, and people die from the lack of it, and yet we have a significant percentage of self-styled activist gun owners who not only don’t care, but disparage and discourage its collection and dissemination. Since when is that a winning attitude?
And why is interest in (pick a topic: Feinstein’s bill, the Reese family ordeal, exclusive “Gunwalker” revelations, etc.) so by-the-numbers low (by comparison, the current top five trends being promoted on Examiner.com as I type: “Racist Super Bowl ads, '30 Rock' season finale, Ron Jeremy aneurysm, Super Bowl buzz and LiLo trial date set”)? Because the unpopular stories, that is, the topics guys like me focus on in lieu of making a better living promoting Biebermania and Kardashiphilia, are also the ones essentially ignored by mainstream “Authorized Journalist” media.
What that means is, they don’t get propagated and shared unless we who consider ourselves activists and interested citizens do it, and one of the best tools for that -- and this is not going to go over well with many of you -- is so-called “social media.” Stuff like Facebook and Twitter.
I told you. I field daily complaints from readers that they can’t post comments on these columns because you have to join Facebook, which they refuse to do. They don’t like the privacy intrusions. They don’t have time. It’s stupid. The company is a bunch of lefties. It’s a … you get the picture and there’s a good chance you agree with all of that.
I agree with much of it myself, and particularly don’t understand the “social” aspect of things -- I’m on these sites for one purpose only, and that’s to use them as a platform to get liberty-related information circulating, and to see what’s out there I might need to focus on.
And yes, as with any other medium, like email, there’s quite a bit of idiotic stuff floating around, misinformation, time-wasters (no, I have no interest in joining Bubble Safari, thanks for asking several dozen times and not taking being ignored as a hint), but if you choose your “friends” carefully (and always check out requests to make sure you’re not hooking up with just anybody, but instead with people who share a common interest in RKBA and freedom), such sites can become valuable, even essential tools. We gun owners should know better than any that tools are not to blame for misuse and are what we choose to make of them.
But don’t listen to me. Listen to an authority I agree with wholeheartedly, at least on this point, even if he is a damned horndog scoundrel on just about everything else. Bill Clinton told attendees at last month’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that “social media [can] help fuel, solve global policy debates,” and he’s right.
The Obama administration recognizes this in a big way. The president’s Facebook page and Twitter account reach tens of millions, and a dedicated White House “rapid response office” shows the importance they place on deploying these tools as weapons in the ideological civil war they’ve initiated against gun owners.
Resistant (generally older) rights advocates who refuse to acknowledge this are hurting themselves in two big ways: First, they’re cutting themselves off from information, that is, from vital intel. Second, they‘re allowing the opposition the use and mastery of cutting-edge weapons they refuse to even pick up, let alone practice and become skilled with. And they're hurting the all of us by being absent from a battlefield we cede at our mutual peril.
Going back to the reality that “progressive” old media gatekeepers intend to keep us out of their news feeds and that we need to find alternative ways to go over, around, under or through them if we want our message to be heard, how is that a strategy for anything but being out-communicated, and thus outmaneuvered at every turn?
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