the Issues: It's How You Say it.
by Alfred A. Hambidge, Jr.
As you know, the struggle for the recognition and restoration of the rights
guaranteed by the Second Amendment takes place on several fronts. The most
obvious is the political arena, which is the most public aspect and where policy
is determined. No less important is the private area, consisting of our daily
interactions with others, at home, school, the workplace, social gatherings,
etc. It is here where we can make as much, if not more, impact than in the
How many times have you heard a friend, relative, or co-worker voice support
for some sort of gun control legislation? Many times, I'm sure. And how did you
react? With silence? A look that said "Don't start with me?" Or did
you give them a piece of your mind, with both barrels? All these responses do
nothing for our cause, and the last will make them think of you as the
stereotypical RWWGN (Right-Wing Wacko Gun Nut.)
While there is never One True Way to handle such situations, one rule which
should always be followed is: Be Civil. Remember, most people hold their views
out of ignorance; one does not lead them to the the truth by beating them about
the head with it. You catch more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar.
So, how should I react? One way is the Socratic Method:
Ask questions. Using a non-confrontational tone of voice, ask
something akin to
"Hmm, how would that law make things better, when it
hasn't worked in Washington, D.C.?"
Or, say something like
"I don't see how that would work. It's been tried in New
York, and didn't help at all."
"At first it sounds good, but the more I think about it
the more I realize how naive the thinking behind that law is."
The important thing is to keep the discussion open. Let it be a two-way
street. Lead them out of their ignorance without them even knowing it. If you
overload them with facts, statistics, and philosophy right from the start, they
will feel attacked, perhaps even stupid, and will harden in their resolve to
resist your attack. It's a natural reaction, and while you may feel good about
overwhelming them, you have really lost. We want to persuade them, not force
them. Too many times I have totally obliterated someone, before I finally said
to myself "That was a stupid thing to do, Al. You treated him like an
idiot, and he'll never forgive you for that. He'll never listen to anything you
say from now on. You just blew it, man, Big Time."
Sometimes, this gets them to listen:
"You know, I used to think so too, but the more I thought about it,
and looked into it, the more I started to think that the folks pushing those
laws are barking up the wrong tree."
Of course, for many of us, this would be a Little White Lie, for we never
thought that gun control laws worked, but it's excusable if it just gets someone
Think of yourself as a Missionary. Were the successful missionaries the ones
who denigrated the people, telling them if they didn't listen they would suffer
eternal hellfire and damnation? Maybe sometimes that worked, but I think more
often those missionaries were the ones that were never heard from again. I would
think that the successful ones used the gentle approach, talking about a loving
deity, and eternal life for believers.
So remember, when dealing with the average person, who knows only what they
see on TV, Be Nice. Be Civil. Lead them along. Don't make them feel stupid.
Don't browbeat. Simply let them know that you feel differently, and are willing
to share what you have discovered with them. The important thing is to get the
dialogue started, get them to start thinking, and let them move toward the truth
at their own pace. Then, you will have won.
Of course, if it turns out that the person is someone who's hero is Charles
Schumer, then lock and load and rock and roll. Hey, we gotta have a little fun