Extreme is the new normal

Show of hands, who has been called a nazi recently? Now how many of you have committed genocide or attempted to take over the world? When I was a kid I was taught what a nazi was, they were the brainchild of a guy named Hitler, they committed some of the greatest atrocities of the modern age. Now our kids are learning that a nazi is someone who wins an online argument on immigration or holds an opposing political view.

Now another show of hands, who has seen a conversation on the internet where someone makes the comment that they’re ready to go to war with anyone who wants to take away their right to bear arms. After all, wasn’t this country founded on the same principles? The government tried to take our guns, so we killed them?

I have dug myself into some Facebook trenches on a number of occasions and exchanged fire with the enemy. And it went awesome! I didn’t even call someone a nazi. But seriously, did I change anything? Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe there are times when it is necessary to stand up for your beliefs. It is important to correct ignorance but what is the end result? If you believe in your right to protect those you love with a lawfully owned firearm, you are a target of hate and judgment and it’s understandable to want to give it right back. But should we? How do we combat this fear-mongering in a way that is productive to our cause?

Look back over your life and the times when you have actually been in discussions that have led to real change in your life. Who was part of those discussions? Random strangers on the internet or the people closest to you? That is because you are more receptive to truth from someone you respect and like. I would say this, if you want to change hearts and minds about firearm use, you need to reach out to the ones closest to you who might not share the same views. And take it a step further with the keyboard warriors. Take the time to message them directly and ask if you can share a rational conversation away from the limelight of a public forum.

My challenge to every person this week is to step out and find a close friend, neighbor, or family member, invite them to coffee (or better yet the range) and show them why you feel so strongly about the right to keep and bear arms. Give them an example of what a responsible gun owner looks like. These are the types of actions that our movement needs. I would say that it is easier to go online and share memes about going to war, but that isn’t what is going to change anything. That just makes us look like them. In a world where it’s becoming normal to spew vile hatred at anyone who disagrees with your viewpoint, maybe try a different tactic. You might be surprised at the results you find.

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