How Words Shape the Way We’re Viewed
As I sit hereÂ on my vacation,Â enjoying the sound of the waves hitting the white sands on the Gulf shoreline, a thought occurred to me. Why is it so easy for people to paint the typical gun owner as an uneducated and irrational person who is afraid of the boogeyman and thinks that everyone is out to get them? Well as hard as it may be to turn the mirror toward us sometimes, the truth of the matter is that we donâ€™t do ourselves any favors in the way we communicate on the subject of gun ownership. While the typical anti-gun crusader wants the world to believe the stereotypes, itâ€™s simply not a true representation of a gun owner.
Who are we? We are doctors, lawyers, priests, accountants, nurses, cooks, and barbers. We are every profession, sex, race, every class, every creed. We are the neighbors whose children play with the other kids outside, we are your friend at work, and we are the people you stand next to at the grocery store. There are over 100 million of us and we put billions of dollars of our income back into the economy through our “hobby” full of hunting trips, gun and ammo purchases, trips to the gun range each and every year.
So why don’t we act like it more often? Why do we allow ourselves to get so emotional about guns and the right to own them and in doing so, validate those stereotypes through our bravado and sometimes outlandish statements? Too often,Â we let emotion get the better of us when it comes to the dialogue between those who believe in the SecondÂ Amendment and those who believe itâ€™s an idea that has outlived its usefulness.Â We constantly validate the stereotypes on a regular basis and either donâ€™t know or donâ€™t care because we think we are in the right and have history on our side.Â It is something that is simultaneously our greatest strength and biggest weakness in the fight to maintain a core right and we canâ€™t just turn it off, so how do we change for the better?
The answer is easier than you realize and something we learned as a 4 year old from our parents, think before you speak. Thereâ€™s a couple of well known â€œrulesâ€ in the business world when it comes to emails, 1)Â never send something that youÂ aren’tÂ prepared toÂ have anyone in the world read and 2) never put anything in an email that youÂ aren’tÂ willing to have live on forever. Take a second to think about how simple those rules are. Now take a second to think about how many times every day you see one or both of those rules broken on a message board, on Facebook, TV show,Â YouTube video,Â etc. when it comes to gun owners and the messages we post, speak, etc. We (for lack of a better term) shoot ourselves in the foot all day, every day and in the process lose more and more credibility when it comes to being thought of as rational people with a legitimate message.
Starting today, every gun owner has to be ready to move forward with a new purpose and broadcasting a new narrative. That narrative has to come across loud and clear that gun owners are not the loud mouthed bible thumper who spends his day watching for the black helicopters or pointing his Glock at the front door waiting for the criminals to break it down.Â Why do we have to do this? Because the biggest fear of the anti-gun group is that the world will see gun owners as the diverse, highly educated, and financially powerful group we are and realizes weÂ aren’tÂ the group of people they read about and areÂ supposed to fear.
That fear is what makes the anti-gun groups like Bloombergâ€™s get the traction they need. TheyÂ aren’tÂ trying to make people fearÂ guns;Â they are trying to make the world fear the citizens that own them. The plan is to make the world believe we can’t be trusted and it’s only a matter of time before we collectively snap and throw the country into chaos. When they are successful in doing that, they can justify why something needs to be taken away and kept only in the hands of the trustworthy i.e. the government who warned you. The funny thing is that for the most part, guns are already in the hands of trustworthy citizens who statistically are less likely to commit a crime than a non-gun owner. The funnier thing is that the group who claims to be the most trustworthy is the last basket we want all our eggs in. I’d be rolling on the floor if it wasn’t so serious.
When I approached Brandon about writing this, I knew I was hitting on a touchy subject. We all realize how frustrating it can be to argue with people who have different beliefs than us, regardless of the topic being discussed.Â So why put myself out there?Â Fans of Star Trek will recognize this classic line from The Wrath of Khan;Â â€œThe needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.â€ I did this because itâ€™s the right thing to do, even if I touch a nerve.Â We have to constantly remind ourselves thatÂ regardless of whether we like it or not, we all represent millions of gun owners every time we speak and itâ€™s going to take all of us to change the way the world sees us.Â One small statement at a time.Â We have to because itâ€™s too damn important.
I started today with this post. How will you start?
Join me inÂ welcomingÂ Matt, a new contributor here on Monderno. Matt is aÂ finance and technology expert who spends his days advising people on a variety of subjects. You canÂ learn more about him here.