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by spocko

Guns Don’t Sell Guns, People Do. How the NRA Turns Death Into a Sales Tool and How to Stop Them.

4:07 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Sales of AR-style rifles, ammo spike up

–Walla Walla Washington Union-Bulletin

Right now the NRA is primarily a marketing and sales organization. Sure they do other things like offer gun safety training programs and threaten politicians to push some laws and crush others. But I believe a lot of their power comes from the development and training of their members in communication skills and providing them with the right words, phrases and concepts to achieve their current goal: guns everywhere.

If you have become pro-public safety, like I have, you’ll want to figure out ways to convince others of your views and then develop ways to reach your goals. Also, when you see the NRA for what it really is, how they make the public less safe, and can work on ways to increase public safety.

The NRA has a $300 million budget, a large portion of that goes to “education and communications.”  And they are good. Very good. Tobacco industry good.  In a recent LA Times Op-Ed there is a story from a former NRA trainer about the psychological and linguistic techniques used on NRA members.

Ever since reading,  the brilliant and funny book by Christopher Buckley, “Thank you for Smoking.”  I’ve been impressed with the tobacco industry’s communications strategies.  Those of a certain age can complete this line, while singing the melody. “You can take Salem out of the country but…” If you sang the rest of the line in your head, their marketing worked.  In the book the guns, alcohol and tobacco lobbyists all meet and talk about their work as “MODs” (Merchants of Death.) The tobacco industry’s savvy communications, PR, advertising and lobbying led to their primary goal. Sell more tobacco.

The NRA didn’t just “take a page from the tobacco industries book” they went deep into the hearts and minds of men (and women) and so they could keep answering the same question of their actions, “How will this help sell more guns?”

The methods of the NRA-trained operatives vary from the subtle–like ALEC bill authoring and strategic lobbying/threatening of politicians; to the crass –”Cold Dead Hands” bumper stickers and rhyming “logic” for the masses. The New York Times says they also have “virtually unmatched ferocity in advancing [their] political and legislative interests.”

Anyone who has ever engaged someone on this issue knows they can expect debate techniques ranging from aggressive, threatening logic that blames the victims for not carrying a weapon, to well-thought-out positions. I’ve  seen how they use clever parsing of words in laws they create and how they attack terms or definitions to defeat laws they hate.  ”It’s not an automatic, it’s a semi-automatic. There is no such thing as an assault rifle! You have no credibility with me! (unless you use the terms exactly as we have defined them…)”

Bringing Words to a Word Fight

Over the years the NRA has gone from selling ideas like the importance of gun safety to selling the idea that your identity is tied to your possession of a gun. Linking your identity to a product is a very powerful thing to do, and marketers try to do this all the time.  ”We say the product is cool, when you own it you become cool –and women will want to have sex with you.” (I just added that last part because it usually goes unspoken, but it’s implied.) Because of this linking of identity to product, people are willing to pay more for a product, as well as create multiple reasons why they must have this product. But the marketers at the NRA also recognize that it’s childish for people to say, “I want it because I want it!”  Therefore, they suggest quoting parts of the 2nd Amendment and hypothetical life or death scenarios where the gun owner is the hero to prove their case to anyone who questions them.

But what happens when the thing that makes you cool or defines you is taken away? That will make them angry. And when they are angry they stop using polite words and turn to threats.  I sometimes wonder if the reason pro-public safety people don’t like to engage gun enthusiasts is because of this unstated (or stated) threat. For every responsible gun owner who will explain to me, “I’m not threatening you with my gun, I’m just having a discussion.” there are two who will tell me about their “2nd Amendment solutions” to “anti-gunners.”

Will You Become Ferocious in Advancing Your Political, Cultural and Legislative Interests?

Now let’s say that people have finally had enough with the way the NRA leadership is driving “the discussion”. Let’s also say that words like mine and the new pro-public safety public starts having a cognitive impact on the public at large.  What can you, (insert your own name here) do, to make a difference?  Well to begin, start thinking of what you are for, as well as what you are against.

I’m pro-public safety so when the details about the latest shooting comes out, I apply that view to the problem. In some cases the shooter will have a mental health problem. A pro-public safety person can push the states to have better laws that get violent mentally ill into the National Instant Criminal background check System. My doctor hunting friends in the midwest could easily get behind that action. If their buddies, who are extremists in the NRA, call them “anti-gunners” they can make it clear you want to protect people from those who are violently mentally ill, even if they also were going to kill someone with a knife, hammer or car, (since they love to bring up those examples of other “killing tools.”)

If the shooter obtained weapons though a gun show loophole you could support state and federal efforts to ban specific items as well as support the need for better tracking in general.

Every shooting is an opportunity for change for a safer future, if we act.

Here are some specific actions you can take to match your personality:

Like to march? Go to the January 26th March on Washington.

Want to help pass better laws and close loopholes? Donate or volunteer for my friends at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. I worked with them when I was trying to figure out how to get NRA board member Ted Nugent busted for bringing guns to the Pima County Fair, right outside the town Gabby Gifford was shot.

Want to help convince corporations, other than gun manufacturers, to get in the game? Try my friends at The National Gun Victims Action Council.  Personally I always thought that Mars Corporation should be donating big corporate dollars to end gun violence, after all, there were Skittles in the hands of Trayvon Martin when he was shot. They might want more kids to grow up to eat candy rather than a bullet.

Want to help change some of the “Shoot First” laws that got Trayvon Martin killed? Try the The Second Chance on Shoot First campaign.

Want to know what your city is doing? Check out Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  See if your city’s mayor is a member, (list) If not, drop your mayor a line. My friends at MAIG would love more member mayors. That’s a four minute doable action. Go!

Want to get educated on issues and on policy? Go look at the Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. Get on their mailing list, they provide great information if you want to engage a gun enthusiasts. If you want to simply go over the gun enthusiasts heads they have easy ways to help you go directly to people who can change laws.

Want to keep informed on the issue? Subscribe to The GVP Report -It’s a comprehensive, every other week e-newsletter. Sign up here or read it online.

I try to help a lot of non-profit groups in this area beyond the Brady Campaign because I believe in multiple strategies to reach difference audiences.   Donate or volunteer depending on your interests and how active you want to be. Remember, if you don’t do anything the terrorists NRA wins.



by spocko

Updated: School Shooting in Ohio Leads to Call for More Guns in Schools

6:59 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

“This morning a gunman opened fire inside Chardon High School’s cafeteria, killing one student and wounding four others.”
USA Today February 27, 2012

UPDATE: CHARDON, Ohio – Associated Press reports that a Cleveland hospital says another student wounded in an Ohio high school shooting has died, bringing the death toll to three. February 28, 2012

As is the standard practice these days it’s a chance for the “guns everywhere” crowd to race to media sites and instantly shoot down the dreaded strawman: Gun Control.

They will attack any suggestions for things to be done differently — with the exception of providing more guns in the schools.  Other comments will claim the problem was removing God from the public schools, praying for the families and admonishing people who suggest changing anything to have the decency to wait, “until the bodies are cold.”  Sometimes they attack “anti-gunners” telling them that it’s an “inappropriate time to exploit a tragedy.”
Gun Slinger - Taking Out The Trash

This preemptive rush to deny people a chance to talk about making changes is an acknowledgement that this event is their most vulnerable time.  They know that when emotions run high is exactly the time when change can take place. They also know that the media won’t do anything beyond their standard, “views differ on the shape of the world and the truth lies somewhere in the middle” stories.

The Guns Everywhere folks are still smarting from the time Ronald Reagan and James Brady were shot and some changes were actually made.  But they have learned their lesson. No gun show loophole laws in Arizona were closed after the Gabby Gifford shooting.

After their instant rush to explain why nothing should change, they start playing the long game, waiting until the spotlight is gone to keep gun show loopholes open and block any sensible changes in licensing while getting into definitional debates, “It’s not a clip, it’s a magazine! How can I expect to listen to someone who doesn’t know the difference!” Instead they use any shooting to whip up fear. Fear whose only reasonable response is….surprise!  Buy a gun!  (You thought they would suggest buying a dog? Silly human, they are funded by the NRA, not the American Dog Owners Association.)

I’ve suggested before that following yet another tragic shooting I wanted to bring together on TV/video the people who want to bring guns everywhere with victims of gun violence.   I don’t want the trained professionals of the NRA to have a discussion with some random “anti-gunner.” I want to get the people populating the comments section of local and national media to talk to someone who can personally explain how cruel or ridiculous their ideas are based on personal experience.

Last week a had a conversation with Elliott Fineman, the CEO of the National Gun Victims Action Council – (BTW, please like them on Facebook as folks do these days) following his groups boycott of Starbucks’ for its policy of welcoming guns into their retail stores.

I found out that Elliott’s son was murdered by a stranger, while dining in a San Diego restaurant with his wife.  The murderer was a paranoid schizophrenic who had legally obtained the gun. Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

2 Shot at Gun Show. NRA Supporter’s Response.

2:37 am in Uncategorized by spocko

This just in from BLOOMINGTON, Ill.

2 men shot, wounded at central Ill. gun show

Two men have been injured in what officials say was an accidental shooting at a central Illinois gun show.
AP,  12:15 p.m. CST, February 26, 2011. Read the rest here in the Chicago Tribune.

Did you know 34 people are killed every day with guns? --

Every time there is a new shooting tragedy the spokespeople from the NRA have to create a response. I’ve heard enough of them to anticipate their verbiage. Here is my impression of an NRA supporter’s response.  I think it will go a little like this:

“How come the media never report on all the guns shows where there are no shootings? Huh? One little mistake and suddenly it’s, ‘Oh we have to shut down all the guns shows, they are too dangerous.’  It was just a silly accident, get over it. It’s no worse than a forklift accident at a trade show.

I’ll bet this will trigger the Brady bunch to shut down all guns shows. What if they applied the same standard to car shows after someone was killed at a car show? They wouldn’t shut down all the car shows, would they?

Or how about a cookware show where someone accidentally cuts themselves with a knife?  Huh? What about that? Do you want to shut down all the cookware shows?

Guns shows are just like any other trade shows of deadly objects. You gun grabbers are just looking for an excuse to take our guns and stop our trade shows.

Why don’t you focus on the Rachael Ray Gusto-Grip Line of Santoku Knives? Did you know that every day 34 people lose a finger to Rachael Ray’s knives? Do you every read THOSE stories? No. It’s the dirty little secret of the cookware industry. But the liberal cooking show media won’t tell you that.  How do you think Obama’s man Rahm Emanuel lost his finger?  All the media want to do is talk about is the 34 people killed by guns every day.

Or how about the new Chevy Volt. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the Volt is predicted to kill more people than any gun ever made! You can bet the Volt Owners of America won’t be putting those statistics out when they happen! Yet we are expected to acknowledge ever little shooting like it’s a big deal. It’s not! Shootings happen all the time, but why doesn’t the press do stories about the millions of NON-shootings! There wasn’t a single shooting on my block this week. Why don’t they cover that? The bias in the media makes me sick. If you folks would read American Rifleman or Armed Citizen you could see some real unbiased stories of lives saved by shootings and non-shootings.

Could the Media people write a story about the millions of lives saved by people who answer the door with a loaded shotgun? Sure they could, but NOOOOOO. They want to talk about how Jared Loughner shot 32 bullets in 16 seconds. Maybe one time in a billion someone handling a gun screws up. But the second that a terrorist comes knocking on your door suddenly everyone is in favor of guns all of a sudden. If you folks get killed in a home invasion trying to fend off someone with an AR-15 with a Gusto-Grip knife, don’t come crying to me. Because I won’t be listening, I’ll be cleaning my gun!”

Perry Latt Pierre. Real American.

I’ve noticed that when the media cover incidents like this the NRA isn’t ever tasked with a solution to the problem.  Why not?  Because they have defined their job as making the world safer for guns, not people.  So when there is a shooting tragedy nobody goes to them and demands, “Seriously, how would you fix this problem?”  They don’t have to actually come up with solutions that work, because they don’t care about real solutions  (a real solution isn’t, “everyone should wear guns.” That’s preposterous on its face.)

The NRA and GOA pass onto their members methods to counter any suggestions of sensible actions. They create strawmen, use specious arguments and redefine whole classes of objects, all in the continuing quest to never “lose” the conversation.  The majority of NRA members aren’t as radical as their leadership. But it is the leadership and the radical members who define them to the public.

Why do we have to solve the problems that they create? Because they don’t see it as a problem.

I think Sparky the Penguin said it best when he said to a gun’s rights person:

“Barring some seismic realignment in this country, the gun control debate is all but settled–and your side won. The occasional horrific civilian massacre is just the price the rest of us have to pay. Over and over again, apparently.”

I don’t know why you humans let the NRA supporters win arguments, it’s not like they are holding a gun to your head while they are arguing with you. One thing I do know–the gun people on your planet make it hard to live long or prosper.