The anti-gun crowd really does have a playbook to follow to advance their gun-control agenda in the aftermath of high-profile shootings.
And some of its recommendations should sound familiar to anyone who’s followed the behavior of the anti-gun crowd in the wake of mass shootings like Columbine, Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook, or even individual shootings that have the requisite publicity, like the Trayvon Martin case:
- Don’t wait for the facts.
- Capitalize on emotion.
- Claim moral authority.
The guidebook, “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging,” was put together by three Democratic polling firms for anti-gun activists in Washington state, according to the Washington Examiner. Its 80 junior-high-school-textbook-style pages are worth a quick read, just to see the anti-gun mindset at work in all its sheer, calculating cynicism.
“The debate over gun violence in America is periodically punctuated by high-profile gun violence incidents including Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, the Trayvon Martin killing, Aurora, and Oak Creek,” the guide states. “When an incident such as these attracts sustained media attention, it creates a unique climate for our communications efforts.”
And it gives you an idea of how little the truth actually matters to real zealots.
“Experience tells us that the specific facts of a high-profile gun incident are revealed over time … So, the smartest thing to do is avoid linking our message and arguments to any one set of partially-revealed facts. We shouldn’t assume the facts.
“But, we also shouldn’t argue ourselves into inaction while we await clarity about details. (emphasis added)
“The clearest course is to advance our core message about preventing gun violence independent of facts that may shift on us over time. (‘While we don’t know the specifics of this tragedy, we know far too many people are killed by weak gun laws in this country.’)”
That last quote could have come from any politician or media talking head while they were still counting the bodies in Newtown.
Here are some other tips from the playbook:
- Don’t talk about “gun control.” Talk about “stronger gun laws.” (That’s called using misleading language.)
- “Women are far more likely than men to support” gun control. (Appeal to stereotypes.)
- When talking to pro-gun audiences, “your goal is not to convince hostile audiences that you are right; your goal is to establish that you are a reasonable person who understands their point of view. ” (In other words, be misleading about intent.)
- “Whenever possible, strengthen your message with compelling images.” (Use pictures of scary-looking guns.)
It probably doesn’t truly surprise anyone who believes in the Second Amendment to find that its opponents have a deliberate strategy to undermine it through politics and the media, but there are some items in the guide that might surprise folks who thought they were safely inside the gun-control tent.
The section on “Talking to Our Base” for instance, is completely separate from the “Talking to Minority Audiences” section. That bow to editorial clarity, while useful to readers, pretty well blows the the preferred public image of gun-grabbers, who like to present themselves as the next generation of marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
There’s no section on “Talking to college-educated suburban (white) liberals” — that’s what the whole damn book is.
Sorry, Al and Jesse, but you’re going to have to use the “Minority Audiences” door.
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