By Stu Chisholm
Detroit, Michigan --(Ammoland.com)- Hello Ammoland readers! By way of introduction, my debut article here will focus on what I call “politricks.” (And this will be a pattern!) The word, with origins in Jamaican Reggae music, first appeared on my radar when I was a kid, uttered by the incredible Ray Walston as the Devil in the original “Damn Yankees.”
By definition, Politricks include the distortions, contortions and outright lies that politicians and activists use to achieve their goals. Fighting politricks was the purpose of my book, “Knowing Guns,” and I see my small contributions here as a supplement for my fellow activists who fight the good fight.
A PEEK UNDER THE TENT FLAP
My political independence and varied interests keeps me in contact with a very diverse range of people, and I’ve got close friends and relatives that span the political range from staunch conservative Tea Party types to liberals who openly support communism.
From this unique vantage point, I’ve acquired some intel on tactics now being used by anti-gunners everywhere, but most notably in TV news appearances and, more relate-able to most of us, online chat and comment forums.
One particularly nasty trick comes via a family member who is a mover-and-shaker in the Democratic Party. She alerted me to a tactic they use that I like to call the “data bomb.”
This disruptive tactic is designed to overwhelm and dominate. So, for example, a conversation might start with a statement on the Second Amendment; a person might question its original meaning or its validity in today’s world – a topic which every gun rights proponent encounters regularly.
Regardless of the honesty of the chat participants, anti-gun lurkers/activists have alerts notifying them of these types of topics, and they’re well prepared. He or she has access to ready-made, cut-and-paste worthy diatribes, collected at various anti-gun websites. They can be quite extensive – pages and pages long – and they’ll suddenly dump them into the mix. They have all the trappings of authority, attributed to people with a string of alphabet soup after their names, from prestigious schools, universities and other sources. For any of us with a life beyond the internet, our time limited by real world obligations, fact-checking such a thing would literally take days! Most casual readers will either give up, which is what the data bomber counts on, or might reply with something they know to be true, but can’t really back up, since the average person doesn’t keep every source URL, book or reference in his/her skull.
But, never fear; the data bomber is ready with round two! Another giant data dump later, and any chance for honest discussion is quashed. Worse, far more people simply read these online conversations than participate in them, and to the casual onlooker, it might then seem as if the anti-gun argument was irrefutable (which, naturally, is the desired effect). In short, anti-gunners actively troll blogs, news sites (including AmmoLand Shooting Sports News) and chat forums where the topic is guns or anything pertaining to them.
The best way to fight this tactic is to NOT copy large sections of GunFacts ( www.gunfacts.info ) , or go at them point-for-point using armchair Google or Bing searches, since overwhelming readers goes both ways. No, we don’t want to “feed the trolls,” but at the same time we must be cognizant that those silent readers are there, following along. They’ve already tuned-out your opponent. Use this to your advantage! My recommended strategy: asking them for their sources. They will protest, saying that their bombs already contain them. My counter: “But who compiled this information? How did you access it so readily? Where can I find this myself?” In my last encounter, the person I was arguing with denied he was any sort of activist, saying, “I’ve compiled all of this information over years of research on this topic.” My final coup-de-grace: “Who else but an activist would do that?”
IN YOUR FACE!
Anyone who has ever held their nose and sat through an episode of Piers Morgan’s sad little show on CNN, or any number of the cable talking head shows laughingly referred to as “news,” has seen the verbal form of this tactic. Another friend of mine (a Democrat politician) elaborated on this one: to just keep on talking and prattle through as much time as you can get away with. Most people, having the normal manners we’re raised with, are loathe to interrupt, or back down when steamrolled by a continuous verbal barrage, thus silencing the opposition. (Piers is famous for having guests on his show that don’t actually get to answer any questions, but leave having basically been scolded.)
In this scenario, there is no way to shut someone down without being a bit on the crass side oneself. During a panel discussion, I once made the “time out” signal with my hands, getting the host/moderator to interrupt the barrage and ask me to say my piece. A TV victim of this type of onslaught started asking the host, “So what am I here for?” After repeating himself a few times, all the while being talked over, the host and his preferred mouthpiece looked pretty foolish and the point was made.
Again, please don’t take this as advice on how to employ these unfair tactics! As gun rights proponents, the data and facts are on our side — so much so, in fact, that these unfair tactics aren’t needed. They are the only options for many anti-gun activists because the case for gun control is weak and these tactics work.
Another one that works is what we sometimes call “waving the bloody shirt,” or the appeal to emotion. When the topic is gun control, then its advocates will be quick to tie guns to murder, crime and death by citing an endless litany of “gun crime.” These arguments are effective because they bypass the brain’s logic and reasoning centers and trigger an immediate emotional response. This is why “the children” are the endlessly cited victims of gunshots when, in fact, they’re the least impacted segment of the population. Emotion inhibits our more rational impulse to take a step back and consider an issue or problem in its own merits. Instead, we’re manipulated into agreement. (Hey, who can argue with dead babies?) Passing legislation in the heat of emotion, however, only leads to bad legislation (read NY SAFE ACT), so we must expose the tactic and repeatedly stick to reason and logic.
There are 5 important guidelines to keep in mind when doing so:
1. The facts are on your side! Keep Gunfacts (now downloadable as a PDF book) and www.guncite.com handy. The FBI Uniform Crime Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics websites are great sources for government data.
And, of course, keep a copy of “Knowing Guns” Available at Amazon: http://tiny.cc/l6au0w , handy!
2. Avoid partisan or activist sources! When suspicious, people will tune out. Solid, truthful information is usually available from many different sources. If you do find something via the NRA-ILA website, they most often include a link to the original source.
3. Never resort to insult; never “lose your cool”; always take the “high road.” If you’ve ever watched a debate or news program where one of the participants was a “hot head,” you know that even if their facts are straight, they’ve lost the argument in the eyes of the audience. Try to keep a sense of good natured humor and always, ALWAYS be patient. Dogged persistence and consistency wins the day.
4. Never lie. EVER. A pro-gun advocate never needs to, for one. Once again, the facts support our position. No, you won’t win every point, but for each one we’re forced to concede (yes, some 30,000 people die each year from gunshots), we have a counterpoint that dwarfs the former (such as the fact that guns stop between 700,000 and 2.5 million violent attacks every year).
5. Bad arguments often rely on logical fallacy. Study the various fallacies and never hesitate to point out when one is being made. More importantly perhaps; study them so that you avoid falling into one yourself! The majority of them are spelled out at https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/.
Forewarned is forearmed, as the old saying goes, so use these armaments well and I’ll be back with more soon. Until then, share the knowledge!
Follow Stu Chisholm on Twitter at @Djstucrew
About the author:
Mobile DJ, business owner/entrepreneur and author Stu Chisholm was born in Detroit, Michigan. A columnist for the DJ industry trade magazine, Mobile Beat, Stu’s series on “DJ Security” contained a controversial segment on concealed carry and the use of guns. It was later included in, and expanded upon, in his book, “The Complete Disc Jockey,” published in 2008. Running a business and pursuing what he considers logical security measures, Stu obtained his CCW permit in the state of Michigan in the late ’90s and later became active in the gun rights movement. He joined the grass roots group MCRGO, the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, helping to reform Michigan’s concealed carry law in 2001. Stu remains an active DJ, writer and activist, and is currently collaborating on an upcoming science-fiction book set in Detroit’s near future. He is married to cable television producer, Janette Chisholm and lives in Roseville, Michigan.