Coloring YOUR perceptions
The other morning in traffic I saw a truck with one of those “Keep honking — I’m reloading” bumper stickers.
I don’t remember where I saw this, but someone in the gun community postulated these stickers were bad and should be removed and never used because they reflected badly upon the rest of us gun owners.
Now, let’s ignore the irony of a gun-owner suggesting a ban on things that look bad, and step back to look at a greater issue.
We are becoming a society in which we let the actions of a few determine and set our perceptions of the whole. In this case, that one bumper sticker being extrapolated into all gun owners are violent road-raging jerks, or all truck drivers are also gun owners and thus also jerks, etc.. In part, it’s due to the fact that the few tend to get the most visibility. You get one guy that goes on a rampage with a gun and he gets all the media frenzy. But we don’t see nor hear about the millions of gun owners that didn’t kill anyone on that same day. One person’s actions somehow outweigh the actions of millions, and color the outside world’s perception of the greater group.
Think about that for a moment.
It doesn’t matter what grouping you talk about, what persuasion you have, or what group you belong to. If you’re Christian, atheist, Muslim, Jew, straight, gay, white, black, Asian, gun-owner, gun-banner, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Anarchist, or even just your family (because we all have that one weird relative), whatever…. Do you feel it’s right when some singular fringe member of YOUR grouping acts in a manner you don’t approve of and perhaps not indicative of the greater group, then the outside world extrapolate that one person’s ill-actions (stupidity?) to the rest of your group? to you yourself? I would reason you wouldn’t find that right nor just and fair.
So perhaps what we need to do is stop this extrapolation ourselves. That is, if you see one person acting in a “bad” way, don’t think their behavior is indicative of the group but rather, just this particular person. Don’t allow that bumper sticker to set your perceptions of all gun owners, just that particular person. I think this is a better approach, because it requires us to change ourselves and hopefully improve ourselves and how we perceive the world and the people within it.