Gun trolls exemplify the type of person not responsible enough to own firearms.
One learns, pretty much right away, that if you release an article on the web, you attract trolls. The bigger the site, the greater the number of trolls. This writer had been dealing with them in a minor fashion, up until recently.
Upon release of an article critical of Jenny McCarthy, some anti-vaxxer trolls appeared, but they were easily dismissed. McCarthy has since tried to walk back her misinformation campaign about vaccines. Then I wrote about America’s gun violence problem and how it’s exacerbated by gun lobbies and I got my first real taste of serious harassment. The comments underneath the piece, here on the site and wherever it was linked exploded with angry rhetoric.
Some folks even went to my Facebook profile to harass me there. Some attacked me on twitter. A few sent me very disturbing messages. Some now follow me from site to site, insulting and attempting to shout down anything I publish. One has become this very own site’s pet troll, and can often be found raging against the writer of the day.
You can’t discuss anything with gun trolls. They aren’t there to be reasonable anyway, they just want to tell you how wrong you are. If they get to attack or insult you, so much the better. That they are illustrating exactly why it’s impossible to make any progress on the gun violence issue isn’t important. They don’t want a discussion, they want their way. Period.
Gun trolls don’t really have arguments, legible ones anyway. Mostly all they have are semantics, false equivalencies, and the ability to adamantly express “Nuh-UH!” The best of their points rely on the fraudulent research of John R. Lott. But Lott says what they like to hear so what he says must therefore be true, in their minds. This is how Lott has managed to keep his career after all, the “More Guns” crowd love him, and defend him regardless of the sordid details of his past.
Lott, by the way, is a bit of a gun troll himself. After building a career upon tainted data, in turn used as cornerstones of gun lobby arguments, Lott mostly uses himself as a go to source when defending his own questionable past. His tactics are limited to linking to his own site, or to the organization he founded and is president of, or to people with whom he has worked in collusion. When all of that is dismissed, Lott can only call you a liar and run away.
This is not to say all gun owners are gun trolls. Of course they’re not. Responsible gun owners aren’t the issue. But those attempting to intimidate, harass, or insult, cannot be considered responsible gun owners. Responsible and mature people don’t try to bully others. If the big talking point for “responsible” gun owners is that firearms are used for self defense, then making offensive remarks makes them look irresponsible. Pretty easy math there.
The gun bully offense is waves of trolls sent to attack anyone challenging their “all guns all the time” ideology. Facebook pages such as “The Hypocrisy and Stupidity of Gun Control Advocates” regularly link to posts about strengthening weapons responsibility legislation while commanding their followers to attack. They particularly enjoy harassing Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. They smear her over and over again.
Open Carry Texas also wages an intermittent intimidation campaign against Moms Demand. Their members show up, armed to the teeth, to display weapons to four women having lunch. They also single out individuals they don’t agree with and invite their members to “git ’em!” Their latest tactic is to release personal information of whomever calls the police on one of their “Open Carry Walks,” even though the police instructed the public to do just that if they see people walking around with firearms.
I mean c’mon, if I see a dozen folks strolling through town brandishing shotguns and AR-15s, I’m calling the cops. I’m certainly not approaching them, especially if I’ve got my kid with me. Not even if I’m carrying a licensed and registered gun myself, regardless of the fact that I’m not walking through any kind of a situation that requires me to pack heat. You think I’m hauling my son into a potential firefight? You’re out of your mind.
One of OCT’s members, Jacob Dova, now calling himself “Ben Franklin,” contacted me randomly. He was under the impression I had insulted the size of his genitalia. I hadn’t. He then told me about how he and his group were the victims of bullying and rambled disjointedly while I simply pointed out that reason might advance his cause more than belligerence. To no avail.
It needs to be pointed out that Mr. Dova did not give me the impression he was entirely stable mentally. I hope I’m wrong. But for “guns everywhere” folks who blame the mentally ill for shootings, you might want to start with gun bullies who send threatening messages or stalk people they don’t like over the Internet. You will be harder pressed to find more likely examples of potentially unhinged shooters, don’t you think?
And these are just two examples of groups sending concerted attacks of gun bullies to harass and troll those they don’t like. There are many many more FB pages, usually with “Open Carry” in the title, or “AK-47s for America” or whatever else. They scream “No Compromise” or “Never Surrender” or other vague statements about patriotism.
I was taught that threatening people was wrong. Harassing women is what bad guys do. Insulting, demeaning, or belittling someone is the mark of an immature and irresponsible mind, which in turn is a sign of someone who shouldn’t possess a gun. If you’re going to try and bully someone with Internet comments then you can’t be trusted with a firearm.
You don’t need a gun to be a “real man” or “real woman.” A responsible gun owner is well trained and constantly aware of the heavy responsibility owning a firearm brings. They are not toys. They should not be shown off in uncontrolled environments. Ultimately, if you say you are using firearms for protection, then your opinion should be automatically disqualified if you are bullying people for stating opinions differing from your own.
Americans need to admit that there is a dangerous faction of their society, one that takes owning firearms beyond a right to fetishization. These are the gun bullies. The Open Carry advocates. The subscribers of the fraudulent John R. Lott Jr. The trolls. They presume to speak for everyone, but they absolutely do not. Just look at the joke of Operation: American Spring to see that. A handful of nut bags milling about D.C. in the rain. Do they represent you? They shouldn’t.
Don’t let weapons extremists speak for you. Yes, you should be free to own a firearm, but you should also be able to prove you are mature and responsible enough to own one. Your right to own a firearm should not take precedence upon your neighbors right to live, should you suffer from mental illness, or have a history of domestic abuse or criminal activity.
And if you don’t feel free unless you own a gun, that’s not really freedom. Don’t “Second Amendment” me, either. I dealt with all gun troll talking points here.
Bullies need to be opposed. Trolls are named for horrible monsters of myth. Guns are not toys, and no, not everyone should own one. I’ve worked as a security professional long enough to be paired with plenty of guys I wouldn’t trust with a soft shell taco, let alone a firearm. The “good guy with a gun” is not present in any screenshots shown here.
Ignore trolls. Block them. They aren’t going to discuss a damn thing. They sure aren’t here to help. If they are so insistent to remain in their own world, then let’s go forward without them.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi