The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > General Discussion Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 5, 2013, 05:08 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Greenwood, South Carolina
Posts: 2,768
We are always fighting perception

I just stumbled across this that somebody posted on Facebook, bashing the article.

It's a list of "paranoid things you can buy from the NRA website". Some of the items are arguably hard for the average person to see the point of (like the tactical pen or even the punch dagger I suppose) but on that list are concealed carry holsters including bras with built in holsters, car holsters (which many use), and under the desk holsters.

It's sad because even in the comments section I see nothing but hate and ridicule. One of these items are just a pair of shorts with extra pockets. But in the hands of the journalist it becomes a redneck paranoid gun nut survivalist pair of shorts.

This article is one of several things that helped me realize that we're always fighting a war of perception. This I knew. I knew that we were considered gun nuts and paranoid and that we're out hunting deer with automatic M16 and Beta drum mags and compensating for small genitals and all this. But I didn't realize just how pervasive this war is.

And worse, how effective.

I saw a post on here the other day about a person in another country trying to buy what I believe to be an automatic rifle. I hate to admit it, but my gut instinct was "wow, it's really scary that they can just buy those" before I immediately thought "Wait, no it isn't. I support the right to do that." I truly believe it was a conditioned response of being brought up in a world where only criminals, terrorists, and soldiers have them. I think private citizens should own automatic weapons, explosives, SAM systems, whatever they feel necessary. But my gut instinct was to recoil against somebody in another country owning an automatic rifle.

Now I can only imagine how the uninformed average person feels. I see here from time to time people who take friends and relatives out shooting who honestly think an AR 15 is an automatic weapon and then realize they're not against it when they find out it's not a machine gun.

The other day I was playing a video game where I attached a suppressor to my pistol. I was doing something violent (taking over an enemy village or breaking into a house or something) and I thought "Wow, this suppressor makes it convenient" and for a split second, again, I identified with the government wanting them gone. It's culture. Thieves use suppressors. Dirty assassins use suppressors. Not hunters or people who want to protect their hearing. Murderers. No honest man needs to keep their gunshots quiet. And again, I support citizens with the right money owning anything they like (subject maybe to Geneva and nuclear treaty conventions).

I wonder if, in the above article, some of these people's opinions would change if somebody showed them how dangerous it is holstering from a bad position? Or if they really considered how things might have changed if somebody in the US postal office shootings had had an under the desk holster. Or if a young man in my town might have lived if he had had a handgun in a car holster instead of being run off the road and shot in the head. Or if the young mom might have lived if she had a handgun in her car when the anaesthesiologist strangled her to death in a fit of road rage.

People don't think this stuff can happen. We point to it all the time, but if we try to prepare for it people think we're paranoid. People see the benefit in taking CPR -- something the government espouses and requires in some cases. But keeping a gun in your car? Out of the question. Imagine you even keep a flare gun, first aid kit, and satellite phone in the trunk of your car. Anything approaching this gets weird looks. People will say things like "you must've been a boy scout" implying you must somehow be different from the rest of us because you value safety.

I don't know what this post is about at its heart. It just hit me that this war of perception has been going on at least as long as I've been alive (since 1995) and probably much longer. We see its skin deep implications easily but it's easy to lose sight of just how effective the other side has been at convincing people that we're out running around with automatic machine guns on the streets -- and that somehow it's a bad thing even if we were.

This is why, as the staff here likes to say, we must all be ambassadors. Some people think we're paranoid conspiracy theorists, criminals, monsters, and everything we say will be magnified. Every time one of us loses our temper, gets frustrated in the middle of a debate, every time there's an accidental discharge, every time there's a murder or a gun is stolen, we are all affected. All of our actions, including the clothes we wear, how we talk, and our political feelings will be taken, magnified, and typified against us.

That's why, if we publicly choose to support guns, we should strive our hardest to be paragons of logic, level-headedness, kindness, and support. The kind of people where others will say "I wouldn't expect you to be a gun owner."

It happened to me. When I first started shooting I expected everybody experienced (not just amateur) at shooting would be gruff, reclusive, rude, paranoid, etc. These were the only people I had ever seen portrayed as gun owners. So far I have been proven wrong almost every time and now I see them as largely one of the nicest groups of people I've been around. We should see to it that others have the same experience.
dakota.potts is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 06:07 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: April 21, 2008
Location: new zealand
Posts: 856
The biggest thing for perception is the media, and that goes for the pereption of anything.

They are seldom interested in telling people facts, more telling people what they want them to hear to push their agenda.

They are also great at giving people labels that are undeserved, anyone who stands up for gun rights are instantly labelled as gun nuts and obviously do not care for the children, which average Joe Blogs instantly believes and then backs up what they are pushing without looking into the really facts about the issue.

Same goes for things like Global Warming and more or less anything.
trg42wraglefragle is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 06:29 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: May 22, 2007
Location: Arizona
Posts: 4,495
I had a couple of posters from a while ago addressing this issue.

armoredman is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 06:49 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: July 14, 2002
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 1,424
Ya gotta find humor in life and I have to admit I chuckled at the bra holster and this comment.

What are you going to do when the enemy (Communists, Islamists, Cobra Command, what have you) comes bursting into your office and your gun is all the way across the room in your coat?
"Is there anyway I can write my local gun store off on my taxes as dependents?"
cslinger is offline  
Old April 6, 2013, 01:06 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Greenwood, South Carolina
Posts: 2,768
Cobra Command really is a threat lately
dakota.potts is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 12:12 PM   #6
Join Date: May 7, 2013
Posts: 25
Hi, new member here... I just wanted to say that perceptions can change. About ten years ago in Norway, there was an effort underway to ban sound suppressors, which were associated with the kind of activity mentioned above. However, an effective information campaign aimed at the agencies designing the new laws was successful at preventing a ban and instead managed to turn "silencers" into an over-the counter item. It helped considerably that the Institute of Public Health recommended deregulation on the grounds that suppressors prevent damage to people's hearing.

These days, although there are still some people who are suspicious of suppressors, they are becoming more and more common. Not least because many hunters here use dogs (who can't really wear hearing protection) and because many shooting ranges are located fairly close to inhabited areas.

Sometimes things do go right
torbjork is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 01:04 PM   #7
Join Date: May 6, 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 62
I try to teach a few new shooters every year or at least get them out to the range. I pay for everything although that is on hold now due to ammo shortage/cost. I live in a retirement community so the problem I usually face is that the new shooter usually stops shooting when they have to pay for their own ammo and find out the cost of a gun, or at least the gun they want. However, once they shoot they like it and no longer fear guns. So many people just fear guns without having ever held one and they get aggressive about it as if just owning a gun makes you a murderer. I do not have any anti-gun friends. If I meet someone and they do not like guns or support my right to own them, I never see them again. I moved due to new restrictions on buying guns in my former State. Life is too short to live and surround yourself with those who oppose your views and beliefs. Perhaps this is something that old age makes you realize at a certain point.
I prepare for the possible that is most likely rather than the unlikely just because it is possible.
Old_Dog is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 01:29 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: October 13, 2008
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 407
We also unfortunately live in an age when people aren't response for their actions, and it's not just guns. Too many overweight people, it's the fault of the large soft drinks. Smoking, the fault of marketing. Violent acts aren't the fault of the person committing's video games, movies, rock music, and guns.
We have a perception problem because of the way we're portrayed in the media, and at times by people who while on our side are the worst examples of guns owners from a public perception standpoint...I'm sure we can all think of a few. Can anything be done about it on a widespread level? Honestly I don't know. It's maybe more of a battle that's won one or two people at a time. I've changed a few folks perception simply by taking them out to a range. My mom was one of them. Hated, hated, guns when I was kid. A 20 gauge and some skeet shooting, loves 'em now and two years ago bought her a 38 S&W for Christmas.
"And remember, Abraham Lincoln didn't die in vain, he died in Washington D.C." - Firesign Theatre
bumnote is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 04:50 PM   #9
Spats McGee
Join Date: July 28, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 6,905
Yes, the media and the anti-gunners are very, very busy making fun of us. They're not really any different from quite a few other groups in that they have adopted the following tactic: When reason and logic fail, make fun of the other side. That should tell you, though, that reason and logic fail to carry the day for the gun control crowd.

Yes, there's a war of perceptions going on. Just look at the language being used:
1) "reasonable restrictions" = "if you don't go along with them, you're not being reasonable"
2) "assault weapons" vs. "modern sporting rifle"
3) "high capacity magazines" = including the very same capacity that has come with Firearm X since it was introduced 20 years ago . . .

This is why I keep repeating the mantra that we have to be ambassadors. We cannot afford to come across as paranoid, delusional, gun nuts, or any of the other portrayals that are leveled against us.

As a counter-point to those portrayals, I offer this piece, credit for which I truly wish I could take:
Why Carry a Gun Today

My old grandpa said to me “son, there comes a time in every man’s life when he stops bustin’ knuckles and starts bustin’ caps, and usually it’s when he becomes too old to take a whoopin’.

I don’t carry a gun to kill people. I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

I don’t carry a gun to scare people. I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.

I don’t carry a gun because it makes me feel like a badass. I carry a gun because there are people who believe badasses have to carry guns.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m paranoid. I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m evil. I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world.

I don’t carry a gun because I hate the government. I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m angry. I carry a gun so that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.

I don’t carry a gun because I want to shoot someone. I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m a cowboy. I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be a cowboy.

I don’t carry a gun to make me feel like a man/woman. I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.

I don’t carry a gun because I feel inadequate. I carry a gun because I am inadequate.

I don’t carry a gun because I love it. I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.

All of those things ridiculed in the article may seem funny, until you honestly need, and I mean life-and-death kind of need, to use one of them.
I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. If you need some honest-to-goodness legal advice, go buy some.
Spats McGee is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 08:31 PM   #10
Tom Servo
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 12,154
Also, from Tolkein:

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
I saw that article a few weeks back, and I also chuckled at the reference to Cobra Command.

Step back for a moment and read it from the standpoint of a party who doesn't have a dog in the fight. It comes across as catty, pejorative, and generally mean-spirited. Let the other side sink to that as often and as widely as possible. Their morbid and insulting portrayal of gun owners as knuckle-dragging hillbillies in the first months of the year really turned a lot of moderates against them.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
Tom Servo is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:29 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.08910 seconds with 9 queries