So push came to shove and Starbucks went public with a stance on guns in their stores.
I can’t say I blame them. They got pulled into and caught in the middle of something they didn’t ask to be a part of. And let’s be real here; if you got pulled into a sticky messy issue caught between two warring parties, how would you feel? and how would you react?
Now of course, they could have reacted the other way, but I reckon either 1. they believe this is going to do less damage to their bottom line (they have shareholders to deal with, insurance and lawyers, etc.), 2. they are anti-gun (I do suspect a bit of this given how CEO Howard Schultz worded things), 3. some other third thing. I suspect it’s probably 1 and 2, but I’m guessing. And yes, they have every right to do what they did.
So an article is going around about how we did this to ourselves. It struck me.
Now let me say, I’m conflicted on open carry. I think there are tactical issues and there are political issues. I can see both sides of it, and I don’t fall squarely in either camp (yet). I would like to see open carry be legal and not prohibited, but remember that legal doesn’t mean “good” or “moral” or that it’s a good thing to do (and illegal doesn’t mean bad or immoral or a bad thing to do). I would like to see a day where people carrying a gun openly isn’t considered a big deal; in fact, it may be seen as a positive and responsible act. But, is it always tactically sound to show your hand? Maybe; I’ve heard anecdotes on both sides that show how it can be good and be bad. And politically it can make a powerful statement, but you’ve got to be mindful of how you make your statement and the message you’re sending (here comes my undergraduate and graduate education in speech and human communication).
One reason open carriers do this as a political statement is to help normalize it. But some say it’s stupid and should be kept hidden. Well, politically or tactically? Tactically? Sure. But politically? Well, are you saying my parents – my white father and Korean mother – should have kept themselves hidden during the late 1960’s? They faced massive rejection and racism (even from within our own family). Should they have let all that stop them? Should they have kept themselves hidden? Granted, racism still exists today, but we can argue that we’re at least a little better than we were back then. To see people of other races, of other cultures, to have it always around… it’s normalizing. And so, yes I can understand why open carriers take this approach in their use of open carry as a political statement and action.
But when you make a statement, you have to choose how you make your statement and craft it in a manner that will make your audience receptive to your message; else, naturally, they will reject it.
And I think that’s really what we gun folk have done to ourselves:
We have turned the debate into a joke. Yes, we are all responsible.
Whether youre an (A) “in your face activist” as previously mentioned, or a (B) gun owner who doesnt agree with them but remains silent and thereby complicit, we are all responsible. Own it.
Personally I fall into the latter category (B). I think the first category are a bunch of fools, and open carry is a piss-poor method of carry outside of a few distinct instances. I have remained silent on the issue, but that ends today. I don’t want to be represented as a gun owner by those who choose to act as those described above. A tactical victory is never worth a strategic defeat. In the end this has hurt us in a battle where we are making progress. If we dont “eat our own” and correct these issues, the OTHER SIDE will. We have lost ground due to tomfoolery, chicanery, and general shenanigans. If we don’t get on the same page, we will continue to give up ground.
Much like how we get irritated when the “not terrorist” muslims dont come out and outright condemn muslim terrorist acts and organizations…we are taking the same track by not raising the bullshit flag when we ought to. We have to police our own. No successful organization, entity, or cause embraces personnel or spokesmen who damage the image and value of the brand.
If I can only choose between camp (A) and camp (B), I’m in (B). But I guess by my present writing, that’s stopping. I’ve felt the following for some time, but for whatever reason opted to be quiet about it.
Here’s the problem.
You’re being a dick.
I see this a lot by the visible pro-gun folk out there.
I see various bloggers, on Twitter, on Facebook. It’s really a problem. It’s really bad on Twitter. I see various pro-gun folk even seeking out anti-gun people, engaging them in “debate”, and being a total fucking asshole while doing it.
Oh sure, you are right. Your facts are sound. The other person is totally irrational and emotional. Yes yes, I’m not going to deny any of that.
But it’s your presentation that’s the problem; and that also cannot be denied.
When you tell someone “you’re wrong”, you force them to double-down more strongly on their (wrong) stance.
When you curse them, call them names, engage in the same childish behaviors that you call them out for, you’re making things worse.
I debated calling out some of these pro-gun folks by name, but I’m not ready to do that yet.
But really, think about it. You want them to see your side of things. How are you going to accomplish that if you treat your audience like shit? If you are rude, mean, condescending, and inconsiderate?
That whole “attract more flies with honey than vinegar” thing.
Or maybe better… learn how to win friends and influence people.
The reason these open carry things aren’t working out is because some of those engaging in the act are being assholes about it all. And so when you do this, when you act like an asshole, when the news reports you being an asshole (because face it, most of the mainstream media is anti-gun and so they will relish any opportunity they can to make gun owners look like stupid evil asshats that need to be controlled and broken and driven out of society)… what do you think that’s going to do? That’s going to reinforce the stereotypes, that’s going to strengthen the anti resolve, and it only makes things worse and more difficult to overcome.
Of course, the same can and should be said for anti-gun folk. When you engage in lies, sensationalizing, blood-dancing, knee-jerk reactions, suggestions that have been proven to not work to solve problems that aren’t there, what do you think that’s going to do? How do you think you’ll be perceived?
Maybe take one from LZ Granderson here.
There is no one enemy.
Thus there is no one solution.
Because like it or not, the folks spraying our cities with bullets are not NRA members or legal gun owners. And despite the tendency to tie it all together, they have nothing to do with the Adam Lanzas of the world.
And it’s too early to know how Alexis fits in the conversation.
According to a count by USA Today, more than 900 people have been killed in mass shootings since 2006. The thousands of other victims of gun violence over the past seven years died from many different circumstances, requiring different conversations.
This is why gun-control advocates need to abandon the routine of using mass shootings to turn law-abiding citizens into social pariahs and instead focus on something that could work.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what you are trying to do, what the debate is about, or what side you are on. You will never convince anyone to see your side of things if you’re a dick.
Stop being a dick. Start being more considerate of others.
Or if your whole point is to be a dick? Please grow up, or go away.