Winning hearts and minds - What can we do?


Average Guy
October 13, 2004, 10:35 PM
(Inspired by and expanded from my post in another thread)

From my vantage point in the People's Republik of **********, it sure looks like we're losing. I'm not a doom-and-gloomer, and I recognize that more states "allow" :barf: CCW than ever before (before free CCW was outlawed, that is), but we on the pro-2A side have been defensive for too long. Defense doesn't gain yardage, score points, or win the game.

The more I think about Front Sight's "winning the hearts and minds of the opinion leaders" strategy, the more I like it. I mean, look at the whole MTV Rock the Vote deal: it gets attention and it might actually get results (the downside is that everyone who's promoting it is overwhelmingly left-leaning, so if the kids vote, guess who they'll vote for).

Imagine if today's most popular actors and singers (using the term loosely) came out strongly in favor of the 2A and guns and their use (instead of staying in the closet and/or allowing themselves to be marginalized). Imagine the effect they could have on the "little minds full of mush." (Don't get me wrong--I'm glad to have Tom Selleck, Gary Graham, Ted Nugent et al on our side, but let's be realistic: They are irrelevant to the next generation. Heck, they're near irrelevant to mine. We need the cast of, say, "Smallville" or "The OC.")

Seems to me that entertainment/celebrity reporter types are loathe to turn on their own; they won't bite the hand that feeds them, so they're all about puff pieces and softball questions. Now imagine Lindsay Lohan in US Weekly talking about a woman's right to choose (9mm or .45 ACP). Imagine a People Magazine spread about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's visit to Thunder Ranch. Imagine Richard Donner actually thinking twice about putting anti-NRA messages in his next movie. The mind boggles.

So Front Sight (and let this not become another bashfest, because the concept is sound, not to mention innovative) is doing what it can do. And I wish them the best, because what we've been doing is NOT working to turn public opinion. (At least not from where I can see it.)

Now...what can WE do?

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October 13, 2004, 11:23 PM
Average Guy....

Tone of voice is hard to do on a bulletin board.

But this question has been asked many times and answered many times on this and other boards.

1) Do not, under any circumstances, engage in any sort of debate with antis.

2) Instead of debate, pick one anti you know, and take that person to a range, and put a .22 in his or her hands after a safety briefing.

3) After that anti is comfy with the .22, move up in caliber and complexity as the situation allows.


Standing Wolf
October 14, 2004, 12:01 AM
Defense doesn't gain yardage, score points, or win the game.


Hillbilly, that's excellent advice. If I ever meet an anti-Second Amendment bigot in my part of Colorado, I'll follow it to the letter. I suppose I could drive to Denver, but...

October 14, 2004, 01:53 PM
I would never wish that type of popularity upon the shooting community. What we don't need are a bunch of young people trying to prove how cool they are with firearms. A sincere interest, a curiosity, a determined competator, these are good things to have, but a 22 year-old trying to make himself look like his favorite actor in front of his friends... THAT we can do without.

We do NOT want a Hollywood endorsement.

One person at a time.

October 14, 2004, 02:17 PM
I'll tell ya, there's a lot to be said for just keeping RKBA a separate issue from everything else. A lot of people (myself included) often have a hard time with typical "gun culture", feeling that there just aren't a lot of people who l can go shooting or talk guns with who won't spend time talking sh#t about other things I like, berating anyone who doesn't support Bush wholeheartedly, trashing any kind of environmentalism, and generally making anyone vaguely liberal feel they just aren't welcome. Guess what, it is possible to thing civilian Hummers are stupid, to think our President makes mistakes, to think sushi and tofu are just as good as steak and potatoes... and still like guns! It's just harder when most of the people who you buy the guns from, stand next to at the range, chat about guns with, etc. are very vocal about how silly and stupid all those liberal types are.

Now there's some stereotyping going on there, and I'm not trying to say that all gun owners are ultra-right-wing conservatives or narrow minded, I'm just saying that in general the community could be more inclusive.

Nothing wrong with chatting, but if some of the same people who were complaining that celebreties and CEOs need to keep their politics to themselves tried doing the same on the range or on gun-related sites, there might be more Democrat and/or liberal shooters (and just more shooters in general).

Just a thought.

Average Guy
October 14, 2004, 02:42 PM
What we don't need are a bunch of young people trying to prove how cool they are with firearms. ...a 22 year-old trying to make himself look like his favorite actor in front of his friends... THAT we can do without.

Yet that's exactly what we have right now...and they are acting out of IGNORANCE.

How much easier would it be to get Eddie Eagle approved in schools if Nick and Jessica endorsed it?

October 14, 2004, 04:02 PM
The problem here is that gun enthusiasts heve been getting the "ignorant, racist hillbilly" rap from the mass media elite for so long and the complete banning of all things gun related in schools that no one in the younger culture is exposed to guns except through violence in movies and the news.
The only way to win them over is to somehow get gun freedom back in the mainstream. Think of it like the way sex and profanity has become more accepted on network tv. I'm not saying the subjects are the same, the concepts are. Subjects once taboo and rejected by most of society are now taken in passing as not a real big deal.
Celebrity endorsement may be a route, but not used all that much. It must be more subtle than that. Good examples are the episode of "King of the Hill" where bobby discovers he has natural talent for rifle shooting or "That 70's Show" when they went hunting (Laura Prepon could be a good endorsment as she is a younger shooter). People need to begin to see guns as tools for self defense and freedom, not as instruments for criminals and accidents. Example; on ER, instead of having the person with the gunshot wound as an innocent victim, he was shot in self defense by someone legally carrying.
The added problem is it can't be too overt or it will be rejected as part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy."
Advertising is also possible. I'm talking corporate here. Ads for guns on other than The Outdoor Channel. I'll save this concept for another thread.
Most of all, gunowners have to improve their image. We need to be seen as at the most passionate, or a bit eccentric. Not complete nut-jobs like we are now.

October 14, 2004, 04:21 PM
I agree that the "ignorant, racist hillbilly" stereotype has been way overplayed. What you need to do is to show them the true cross section of gun owners. And liberal gun-owners need to let the world know that they exist.

October 14, 2004, 04:43 PM
PromtCritical, I think you're on to something there... I like that "ER" episode idea; wonder if they have somewhere you can write in to the program's writers...

October 14, 2004, 06:48 PM
Take one person at a time shooting.
Then of course, after they are hooked (BECAUSE EVERYONE GETS HOOKED), Take them to a gun shop. Take them to a gun show. Get them involved until they start inviting other people.
It doesn't have to be anti's (although that's the best win of all). Get the people who havn't shot in 20 years. Become a group, a force, and always leave them with one line.

The Liberals are lying to you.

Converted a New Yorker (city no less) transplant in the last month. Now he's calling me up. "let's go, let's go". he's still liberal (ugh, i'm trying. :-) ) but now he's a gun person and sooner or later he'll convert his wife. And he'll get someone else in. And then, when they really do try to take his guns he'll probably stand up and go "hey, that ain't right"

Have you ever taken anyone new shooting who actually says that they didn't have a good time adn it's not fun?

one person at a time.

October 14, 2004, 06:53 PM
Don't work on getting republicans/conservatives to shoot, work on getting liberals to shoot and let them stay liberals.

If a liberal is an educated shooter then he/she will influence their party (dems and greens) to be pro 2A.

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