Making a concerted effort to dismantle an anti meme


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Justin
July 18, 2004, 04:29 AM
Main Entry: meme
Pronunciation: 'mEm
Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of mimeme, from mim- (as in mimesis) + -eme
: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture Taken from http://www.m-w.com

Basically, a meme is a small but powerful idea that spreads from person to person in a manner similar to viruses. In modern noozespeak a meme would be similar to a sound bite.

One of the most powerful memes that the anti-rights groups have been using, especially with the sunset of the ban on the horizon, is invoking images of AK47's and UZI's "flooding the streets." If you stop to think about it, this is a pretty stunning mental picture, and one that's quite effective to those who are fence-sitters.

But for anyone who does a modicum of research it becomes rather obvious that this isn't true. Such weapons were first heavily regulated by the NFA '34 and then the cap of '86. Their semi-auto lookalikes were banned in 1989 by executive order.

To hear the anti's tell it, there are only two kinds of guns, AK47's and UZI's, and I surmise that the reason they reference these two designs so often has to do with how ubiquitous they are. Everyone has seen an UZI or AK in a movie, tv show, nightly news, or news magazine. Everyone knows what these guns look like, which is what makes it such a powerful image. It would be a lot harder for the anti's to get their message out if they were screaming about relatively unknown firearm designs, say the SPAS 12, Sterling, or even M16. So let's take the wind out of their sails. Any time this memetic device is used as a reason to renew the 1994 ban, point out that such firearms are already banned under a previous law, and that the 1994 ban has nothing to do with AK47's and UZI's.

To some extent this has already been done publically, and has resulted in at least two news publications that I know of printing retractions. We need to keep on it. We need to smash this imaging device so that every time it is used by anti's the average person knows that it is both misleading and wrong.

Ok, I'm done stating the painfully obvious now. :)

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MuzzleBlast
July 18, 2004, 10:09 AM
What you are talking about is FACT and LOGIC. The antigun position is based entirely on EMOTION and don't-confuse-me-with-the-facts PRECONCEPTIONS (and MISCONCEPTIONS). So while you will swing some people who don't feel that strongly either way on the issue, the real sheeple simply won't hear you.

boofus
July 18, 2004, 10:20 AM
Yes, you need better methods for those types. Like shoot them in the left knee with a muzzle loading flintlock. Then shoot them in the right knee with an evil featured AR-15. Then ask them which one hurts more, and which assault should be more illegal.

Lord Bodak
July 18, 2004, 11:12 AM
The problem is that often the antis just won't listen. The AK-47 and Uzi examples are used to scare people because they are two guns that are often portrayed in movies, so everyone recognizes one. Of course, in the movies you only see automatic ones. So when you say AK-47 and Uzi to an anti who knows nothing about guns, no matter how much you try to explain it to them, AK-47 & Uzi = automatic weapon in their minds.

Education is the only answer, but education requires time and patience to get them to listen to you.

Erik Jensen
July 18, 2004, 02:31 PM
man, I just can't wait for that river of AKs and Uzis to come flowing down my street. I'm hoping to see a Russian Mil-spec AK-74 in there. I've got my hip waders ready.

I must have missed the river of blood that washed through here when michigan went shall issue. would have been good fertilizer, methinks.

mainmech48
July 18, 2004, 05:00 PM
IMHO, it's another example of the media using symantics to obtain the desired effect by using terms with a high negative connotational index to affect the reader on a subconcious level.

The language used to describe a subject may be "loaded" to obtain a desired response in the reader if terms are selected to evoke a visceral reaction in the target demographic group. Given an accurate profile of that group, one may exercise a high degree of influence over their response, positively or negatively.

The basic idea is to effectively bypass the rational processes. If you think that this is merely another borderline paranoid idea, I invite you to examine how advertising copy is formulated.

Justin
July 18, 2004, 05:13 PM
That's exactly it. What the anti's are using amounts to putting a visceral image in your head. Its like saying "Don't think about a white polar bear."

As soon as you read that, you're thinking about a polar bear. If I say "AK47" everyone who hears it gets nearly the exact same picture in their head. We need to find a way to defeat that mental picture with one sentence. What we need is a counter-meme, or a soundbite that will destroy that position in one fell swoop.

Responding with "AK47's have been banned since 1934" or "UZI's were banned in 1989" is probably the fastest way of doing this. Sure, it's not *exactly* accurate, but it's close enough of a fit to work for those who are fence sitters or who will start to tune you out 10 seconds after you've started your 5 minute pro-rights diatribe.

Standing Wolf
July 18, 2004, 07:12 PM
Unfortunately, a snappy, carefully crafted lie is always more memorable than the boring old truth.

Stand_Watie
July 19, 2004, 03:00 AM
How about sporterizing an AK so it looks like one of Bill Clintons duck rifles, and tricking out a single shot rifle with all the "Assault rifle gear" and then putting them side by side on a poster questioning which is the AK or which should be banned?

El Tejon
July 19, 2004, 09:18 AM
Stand, we did that at Galyan's in '89 with 10/22s. Everyone always asked about "the machine gun.":rolleyes: It was a learning experience for them.

Have to stay on top of them. Squeaky wheel gets the oil. Squeak away, brothers!

Baba Louie
July 19, 2004, 09:51 AM
Justin, et al,

To paraphrase a line from Col. Cooper (who was describing anti hunters), Do not expect a rabbit to understand the mind of a fox.
Logic requires an open mind.
Emotions, however, simply require empathy. (I feel your pain)

Kalashnakov carbines (take away their dreaded AK-47 term by giving it the rightful name of the designer) were designed to defend a nation's people, as was Uziel Gal's carbine; both now being regulated and taxed under the US NFA '34, further, since 1986 newly manufactured versions are prohibited from importation. Once the AWB sunsets, they will still not be allowed into our borders as originally designed and manufactured, only semiautomatic versions of the Kalashnakov. Uziel gal's fully automatic carbines being reserved for protection of our silver haired, esteemed gentleman (koff) Senator from Mass. via his bodyguard entourage and the like.

And hey. If it's good enough for protecting Ted Kennedy from outraged husbands, it oughta be good enough for Joe Citizen, right? :rolleyes:

BryanP
July 19, 2004, 10:07 AM
I hope you don't mind if I play Devil's Advocate here, just so we don't make mistakes.

If you say that AK-47's have been banned since 1934 (or 1986, or 1989 depending on which law / order you're quoting) I could easily point out that I bought a new "AK-47" a couple of months ago. To be nitpicky I bought a WASR-10 Hi-Cap that is perfectly legal, but to any casual observer it's an evil baby-killing street-flooding AK-47. What's that quote? "A difference that makes no difference is no difference."

entropy
July 19, 2004, 10:50 AM
The AK-47 was banned some 13 years before it was invented? :rolleyes: Interesting; Since there is no definitive difference even amongst us, between the semi and full auto versions of the Avtomat Kalashnikova, I fail to see where it was banned. And as Tamara has pointed out before in threads about FA ownership, they are not banned, but there are some hoops to jump through if you want to legally own a selective fire AK. It may involve moving to another state, but it is possible.;)

mainmech48
July 19, 2004, 04:33 PM
Unless we can come up with a device similar to the one mentioned by El Tejon to counter the "if it looks like a duck" mindset on an enormous scale, we're gonna have a real tough row to hoe.

We're dealing with misconceptions on many levels which have been implanted and reinforced by years of repetition. Those images, while demonstrably false-to-fact, have been presented so universally and so often that they are now operative on a subcognitive level within the majority of the general population.

EG: Virtually every graphic depiction of antisocial violence depicted in film and television fiction presents firearms in general, and FA weapons in particular, as being both ubiquitous and having almost unlimited puissance.

Everyone- 'villian', 'hero', street punk, drug lord, 'militia' group, you name it- has AKs, Uzis, M-16s, MP-5s, Stingers, TOWs, FA Glocks and Berettas and whatever other exotica that the prop houses can dream up. The fallacious conclusion drawn from this is obvious. But subliminally it is accepted as being factual because ALL of their vicarious exposure has shown it that way.

How many times have we seen a vehicle explode into an inferno upon being impacted by 9mm rounds or a load of buck shot?

How many times have we seen an entire barroom turned into a glass-sharded ruin from one 30 rd Uzi or MAC-10 magazine? Or the whole backbar for six feet in either direction pulverized by a single 12 ga. round at twenty feet or so?

How many tank farms have we seen go all Hiroshima from a couple of AKs or M-16s? Even without benefit of tracers?

While those of us familiar with the realities of weapons know these images to be 'artistic license' carried to ridiculous extremes for dramatic effect, they are accepted as truth by many, many others simply because THAT'S THE ONLY WAY THEY'VE EVER SEEN IT HAPPEN. It MUST be true, because everybody shows it that way.

Logic doesn't enter into it. Reason isn't involved. Imprinted like a bunch of baby ducks by fictional images. All of their experiences with the subjects have been vicarious, but the rational differentiation cannot or will not be reached simply because they do not recognize that there is a difference between what they've seen and objective reality.

Sorry if my cynicism offends anyone, but I can't see anything short of a 'Loaves and Fishes' sized miracle making any appreciable dent in that much ingrained and unacknowledged ignorance.

I've run into that "Don't try to confuse me with the facts; my mind's made up" wall too many times to be very optimistic.

Muzzleflash
July 19, 2004, 04:38 PM
If we could make an 'all your base' style viral meme that would implant our message with wit and humor, that would be excellent.

sturmruger
July 19, 2004, 05:10 PM
A couple of the members here on THR (joelr and Matt Payne IIRC) went to one of the Million Mom meetups here in the Twin Cities. Some little old lady showed up and was bummed to find that the only people there all supported the AWB sunsetting.


Paraphrased

She commented as she left "If you all want to talk about the facts, I'm leaving!"

Antis hate facts, they are way to hard to refute.

STW
July 19, 2004, 05:29 PM
I've even seen this demonizing by association in a rather unlikely venue. I was on a federal jury in the early 90's for a drug case that, tangentally, included some firearms charges. In his opening statement the prosecutor talked about an AK-47. I'd never seen one to that point and was rather interested. The rifle in question turned out to be made by H&K, as I recall. Unfortunately, jurors don't have an easy way to tell the prosecutor he's a scare monger and a lie about something easy to check makes his statements about less obvious "facts" suspect. (The video tape of negotiations over price and delivery of the drugs was more telling. Most amusing was the claim that the silencer he found lying on a hillside and kept was so he could shoot in the back yard without bothering the neighbors.)

jefnvk
July 19, 2004, 06:27 PM
AK47's have been banned since 1934:neener: You Silly, everyone knows AK-47's wern't invented until 1947

Point out, hopefully as they are saying it, that if 'It saves one life, isn't it worth it?' and the fact that an AK-47 could very well save your and your family's life. But wait, again thats fact.

As for the jury person, they don't have to prove to everyone the lawyer is an idiot. Just the other 11 members of the jury.

Roadkill Coyote
July 19, 2004, 07:39 PM
Merely responding to the use of a meme is playing a losing game. We must promote our own memes and us them as vaccines to innoculate the undecided. Otherwise we will continue to see the same meme pop up in new outbreaks forever, because there are perfect logic free enviroments for these anti-memes to survive in, thrive in, and periodically emerge from. In the long run we must use active persuasion to dry up support for these political hot houses in much the same way that the WHO carries the fight against disease into the third world.

Perhaps someday, the repetitious promotion of unproven, unsucessful or even harmful memes for political purposes will be as discredited as its genetic equivalent, eugenics. Until then, vaccinate someone against anti-gun stupidity today!

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