New project: Documenting Anti-Gun Bigotry and Hysteria
by Robert Lyman
January 15, 2002
I would like to ask for the help of the KABA community in a new project which I hope will eventually turn into a book.
As I have become more involved in the fight for our rights, it has struck me how severely biased much of the non-gun-owning world is against gun owners. Reporters and scientists drop all pretense of objectivity or standards of proof when discussing guns and gun control. Constitutional scholars who defend pornographers write off the Second Amendment as somehow not existing or perhaps as "out of date." Within my own academic community (I am a Ph.D. student in Physics), I have come to know intelligent, rational, and very skeptical scientists with excellent evidence sifting skills--who nonetheless don't bother to even think about the evidence before dismissing gun owner's rights out of hand.
I believe much of this bias has its roots in bigotry. Gun owners are routinely portrayed as violent, uneducated, racist, uncivilized, criminal, mentally unstable, sexually frustrated, etc. etc. Fictional works as well as "news" reporting serve to reinforce these stereotypes, as do "studies" provided by the VPC. As many people before me have observed, insert the work "black" or "Jew" in to many articles about gun owners and you instantly have a page directly from one of Goebbels' finest propaganda pieces.
I am calling on anyone who sees or knows of instances of bigotry against gun owners to notify me by emailing email@example.com. I will try to confirm and codify these cases, as well as finding response addresses so that we can direct our anger appropriately.
If all goes well (and I find the time between my studies and my efforts to become self-sufficient from the produce of my small patch of land) I will produce a book in the next few years which (I hope) will lead at least a few authors and editors to reflect on what their "liberal, tolerant" values really mean.
Below are a few guidelines:
- I intend to focus on bigotry in its most raw form. Calling the NRA a "wealthy, powerful lobby with ties to the gun industry" is certainly not fair, objective reporting, but it is not really bigoted, either. Calling someone a "gun nut" is a low blow and morally no different than calling an African-American a "nigger." The latter case in the one I want to study.
- News articles and editorials are the most interesting. Hollywood producers may portray gun ownership negatively, but that is fiction, and somewhat defensible in the name of entertainment. When a newspaper substitutes hate and fear-mongering for journalism, they have betrayed not only their ethics, but our country's values; only a free and fair press can safeguard our freedom. (Please send fiction, too, but be aware it is not as high a priority as "news.")
- The pronouncements of politicians are ESPECIALLY interesting, if they can be documented (see below). Also, academic journals which publish offensive opinions are especially interesting.
- Another interesting and relevant form of bias is bias against gun owners belonging to particular groups--for instance, bigotry against black gun owners, or women gun owners. Exposing the racist, sexist, classist roots of gun control would be as useful as exposing anti-all-gun-owner mentality.
- The manipulation of statistics is NOT what I am collecting. Others who focus on bias, rather than bigotry, are better equipped to deal with this type of misrepresentation. Only if the statistic promotes a prejudiced view of gun ownership ("70% of gun owners are alcoholics") is it appropriate for submission.
- Please include a FULL CITATION with any submission. For periodicals, this means the title of the publication, Volume and Issue numbers, date, author, and page number. For books it means title, author, publisher, and publication year. For television shows, it would include title of the show, title of that particular episode or report, date and time of original transmission, and any information such as transcript numbers which would aid in confirmation.
- If material is available online PLEASE let me know the web address.
- The purpose of citations is confirmation. I intend to check on everything and try to amass a duffel bag full of printed proof which I can present to anyone who asks. Any information which helps me to get paper into that bag helps. Thus, it might also be nice if I received the phone number or email of a broadcaster's transcript department.
- I anticipate a lot of email. With that in mind, and keeping in mind that I am a married graduate student, please keep you emails to me short and to the point. The citation and a 2-sentence summary (or even a simple quote from the offending article) would be perfect.
With the help of KABA's dedicated net detectives, I hope to unmask a culture of hatred and prejudice among the cultural, journalistic, and academic elite of which they ought to be deeply ashamed. If we can get fair, unbiased reporting, we can bury gun control once and for all.