The Good Fight
By Gerard Valentino
Every vocal pro-gun advocate is familiar with the condescending look of so-called friends or family members who are sure we're nothing but bloodthirsty members of the NRA cult. We've all been there when someone belittles our judgment by asking, "I hope you have those guns locked up so your kids won’t get them" or "aren’t you afraid you will shoot a family member by accident?" And then there's my favorite silly anti-gun statement, "you know, someone who keeps a gun in the house is 75% more likely to kill a friend of family member than an intruder."
Personally, I have a family member that is a self-described intellectual and, based on the desire to feed his feelings of superiority, he looks down his nose at anyone who carries a gun for self-defense.
A common answer when asked, "why do you keep a gun in the house with those kids," is to simply answer, "I have it because I love my children and value their life." (Jim Irvine, Buckeye Firearms Association’s Chairman delivers the line better than anyone I’ve met, with equal parts sarcasm and scorn. His delivery is a joy to behold.)
Usually, that is followed by a nod as if the person asking the question understood my answer, and then a puzzled furrowing of their eyebrows.
No reason to go any further at that point since usually the morally upright antagonist walks away wondering if you’ve lost your mind.
But, the unfortunate reaction to the social crusaders who want to tell us how to keep our family safe is to react with anger.
Nobody wins if that happens since the person spewing the misguided anti-gun propaganda is probably parroting the rhetoric heard on the latest episode of Ellen, or Oprah.
It only shows a lack of willingness to investigate an issue properly as opposed to true anti-gun feeling.
Still, it is hard to be treated in such a condescending manner because you actually took the time to study the issue and realize having a gun is the best way to keep your family safe. As pro-gun advocates we have an obligation to lay out our arguments in a calculating and logical manner.
To do so isn't easy. I fail to tolerate the simple-minded nature of our anti-gun adversaries on a daily basis. Like most pro-gun advocates it is beyond my ability to comprehend that people still believe in the validity of gun control after the mounds of evidence that has disproved it over the last thirty years. Even worse is trying to educate the establishment media on how much they don’t understand about guns.
Anger is never the answer, however, since it only reinforces in the mind of the anti-gun loons that people who own guns can't be trusted. An ironic twist since it is backward anti-gun ravings that should incur the scorn of every day Americans.
In contrast to my so-called intellectual family member is a sister with an autistic son. There is true concern over keeping a gun in the house under those circumstances and I have the utmost respect for their decision to not keep one. Although my nephew is a wonderful child, it is simply impossible to adequately teach him not to touch a gun.
My sister's situation teaches me that my choice to own a gun isn't practical for everyone I come across in daily life. I actually have more respect for people who might want to keep a gun at home but have honest reasons that make it impossible compared to those who simply have their head in the sand. The same people who think their house is utterly secure scoff at the thought that keeping a gun is akin to having a smoke detector or fire extinguisher.
Some of the people who obsess the most about picking the right car seat, the safest crib and go to great lengths to baby proof their house don't take simply precautions to keep their kids from becoming the victim of a gun accident. The benefits of the NRA's Eddie the Eagle program are lost on people who refuse to look at the gun issue logically and instead react out of emotion.
A failure to teach your kids how to avoid becoming an accidental gun death is equivalent to not teaching them to be careful with strangers, look both ways before crossing the street or convince them not to wear a helmet while riding a bike.
Still, your well intentioned friends at work don't see it that way. To many of them, keeping a gun in the house is equal to child abuse because their favorite anti-gun celebrity said so.
Their gullible nature has been crafted by years of anti-gun establishment media misinformation and they are also guilty of taking political advice from the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, Sean Penn or Ellen. Only when we succeed in changing the culture will we succeed in changing the minds of those so enamored with celebrity they would vote based on their favorite actor’s political endorsement or demonstrate in front of a Marine Corp recruiting station because their favorite celebrity said it was the right thing to do.
While we have logic, statistics, facts and even moral rightness on our side, one thing pro-gun advocates can't account for is how hard people will resist changing long-held beliefs. That holds true whether those beliefs are based on emotion, faith or in the case of gun-control, poorly executed social policy. For millions of Americans who grew up in a city like Chicago, Boston, New York or Washington D.C the never ending drum beat of anti-gun propaganda wore down the citizen’s objectivity.
Now that overwhelming evidence proves that gun-control, like most liberal policies, led to the exact type of crime it was designed to stop leaves people even more confused. They rightfully have shut down on the issue and stick by their misguided values.
The simple fact is that the establishment media and media elites in our country are very good at their job. For years that included selling the value of gun-control with the all the gusto they could muster and an uncanny ability to drown out dissent.
To over come that bias will take time and dedication to the cause. It helps that we are right but that only goes so far. Unless all gun owners protect their right to bear arms with unwavering dedication they will one day be confiscated.
It's our job to keep that from happening.
Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair, teaches the Ohio concealed carry class through Center Mass Ltd. and writes for www.ValentinoChronicle.com.
Buckeye Firearms Association Education Guide Lesson #3:
Know Thy Enemy: A Psychiatrist's Examination of the Anti-Gun Mentality