I hear people talking about how hard it will be to get this new public safety bill passed. The media pick this up and include it in all their stories, as if the playing field didn’t change after Newtown. They are being told that the NRA post Newtown has the same power as pre-Newton.
I’m an activist, not a politician, so I understand the logic of the right wing rhetoric. They want everyone, especially the media, to believe that a minority of people will defeat this bill. They are pushing the idea that popular support will fade away like in the past. Some people who follow politics cynically agree with this. This makes the NRA smile.
The NRA leadership want you discouraged and thinking, “What’s the point? There are millions of guns out there. The NRA is too powerful. They will rally their troops and call their bought off representatives. I’m not going to win. I should just give up,”
It doesn’t have to be that way. We need public safety enthusiasts to act. And Biden, the consummate politician, knows this.
Yesterday Joe Biden was talking about gun violence in America. He talked about a lot of things but he said something that reflected his view of reality in DC.
“Elected officials respond to intensity. If number ten on your list of things you want your congressman to do is something about gun safety, that’s not going to get you very far, if there is a smaller group that its number one on their list to make sure nothing is done, guess who they hear from? So make your voices heard.”
I started thinking, what can increase our actions and the intensity of them? Yes, we have short attention spans, but studies of memory like described in the book, The Seven Sins of Memory, talk about setting up reminders based on location or context. Let’s use how our brain works to help us:
Every time you hear about a story about one or more people getting killed by a gun that’s your reminder to make a call or send an email to support public safety bills.
The sad, sick news is that if you started this plan this after Newton, as of today you would have had almost 1224 reminders to do something. (link to a great ongoing interactive list from @gundeaths and Slate that keeps track of gun deaths in the US.)
And by the way, don’t just focus on the federal and state level. Here’s today’s hot tip. Contact your local school board. They need to hear that you DON’T want to arm teachers, administrators, janitors and custodians.
Right now the gun enthusiasts are pushing school boards to do this. If the only people they hear from are them, they might think there is consensus. You no longer can rely on your school board members thinking. “Arming teachers it a terrible idea.” Pathetically, some school boards pick up the crazy and incorrect NRA rhetoric on guns. Check out this story from Ohio.
State Board of Education President Debe Terhar said she was not comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler when she posted a photograph of the Nazi leader on her Facebook page with a message critical of the administration’s new gun-control efforts.
When I listen to right wing gun podcasts and radio, I hear about their methods to beat back sensible laws. I hear them talking about how they will lobby school boards to send their teachers to gun training classes (two whole days of training! Woot! You are practically an FBI sharpshooter after two days!) I hear them ratcheting up the fear and downplaying the death of innocents.
So going forward here’s what I’d like you to do:
1) Read about a gun death. 2) Find out who your local school board, state or federal representative is 3) Call or email your thoughts to them. 4) Repeat as necessary.
Be intense. Be a public safety enthusiast. Be an intense public safety enthusiast. Things can get better if you act.