Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's blogging you?

Blogging about gun issues is controversial to put it mildly. It never ceases to amaze me that what I write can bring out so much venom, anger, self righteous correction of my mistaken opinions or facts, and just plain rudeness and offensive behavior. Social media and the Internet in general has allowed for some pretty over the top anonymous behavior that should offend sensibility. Much like some political figures, ordinary people, too, must lead double lives. I imagine some of the gun guys who comment so freely on my blog to be outrageous, uncouth, difficult, angry and impossible people in their daily lives. But most likely they lead ordinary lives and have families who love them. I have even had to ask if their families know how they write on my blog. Would their families like to know the way they write on blogs and articles about gun violence? Surprise happens.

I spend a lot of time on each post, looking up articles and thinking about how I want to write it. I change things, I delete things, I add things. Sometimes I save a post for days or weeks and think about whether I will publish it. Meanwhile, something else comes up and I write about that first and go back to the saved post. Or I travel someplace, as I am currently doing, and don't have as much time to write but still want to post. I express my sincere views based on my own personal experience with gun violence, on knowing so many others who have had experience with a gun death or injury, on my own life and professional experiences, my readings and my conversations with a lot of mostly reasonable people and on actual facts and the truth as I know it. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. There are different ways to view the world. Attacking happens.

The commenters want me to justify or verify more and explain more and admit that I lied or that I am a stupid $%^&; , or that my facts most certainly are wrong because they have better ones, or that the people with whom I associate are liars and gun grabbers. And because I am so personally attacked, I sometimes write back with more aggressive comments. Oh yes, some don't like my clip art or the color scheme of my blog. That is how our political and social views get so polarized and descend into name calling, vindictiveness and personal vendettas. There is no chance of having a reasonable discussion about anything really. Especially when a commenter on my recent blog about guns and divorce said this: "The fact is the Brady coalition gets most of it's "factual data" regarding firearms from Hollywood. Which means almost all of it data is erroneous. And just like Hollywood, the Brady Group does not want to be bothered by facts. It's an incontinent truth that six shooters only shoot six times. Or machine guns do not have three hundred shot magazines. Or cars that go off a cliff do not spontaneously explode in mid air because someone shot out a window. Holding a "Magnum" and pulling the trigger does not mean the bad guy will beograd off his feet and thrown backwards a dozen yards. Now will it knock a young starlet on her ass if she shoots it." Sarcasm happens.

Lately we have seen several Congress members and Governors getting themselves into a lot of trouble in part because of injudicious use of the Internet or Social Media outlets for questionable activity. In some cases it has ruined their careers. In others they have continued in office in spite of their failings and immorality. Going public is fraught with potential misuse and problems. Human nature is on parade regularly for public officials. They should know better until they don't. There are no excuses, really, for unbecoming behavior of elected leaders. People expect them to be better even though they are just like all of us. Indiscriminate use of the Internet and social media can be hurtful if used the wrong way. What happens on the Internet doesn't always stay on the Internet or, if it does, it is seen and critiqued by those who are not your friends. I read somewhere that you should consider what you write on the Internet as a postcard and not a sealed letter.  "Discretion is the better part of valor." Cynicism happens.

So blogging, tweeting, etc. can lead to unexpected consequences. I certainly did not expect to be attacked so vociferously and so offensively by folks who can't seem to read what I write without twisting themselves into pretzels. They must let me know that I am lying, stupid, uninformed, a paid shill for the NRA ( yes, really, someone wrote that one) or the Brady Campaign, gun grabbing, insincere, and words that are offensive to me and therefore not published. Over the time I have been blogging, I have asked more than a few people to stay off of my blog and have stopped publishing comments from some who just find it entertaining to ask me provocative, harassing, stupid and rhetorical questions that don't deserve answers. I can't help thinking that this is done to trap me into saying something that the gun guys will then ( and have) use on their own blogs to attack me and make fun of my writings. I find it interesting then, that some of the very same folks want to know why they aren't published or why I moderate comments. They would like to take over my blog and do with it what they want. They want to intimidate and make very personal attacks. Bewilderment happens.

Hundreds of people view my blog every day and occasionally, one of my readers on the side of gun rights agrees with me. And sometimes I agree with some of them as well. This most often happens when the language is reasonable and reasoned. Many of my readers don't comment because they don't want to be attacked by those who are ready to pounce.  But I know they agree with my views and believe that we can actually engage in reasonable behavior to stop the senseless shootings and to come to some common sense regarding gun policy. I found this definition of common sense: " sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts". At the website showing this definition, a question was asked about why you decided to look up the phrase, common sense. Interestingly and sadly, here is one the comments in answer to the question: " I WAS THINKING OF THE "LACK OF IT" ON THE PART OF SOCIALISTS AND DEMO-RATS WHO ARE ONE IN THE SAME, ALSO A PERVERTED SENSE OF THE WORD TRUTH... IN SHORT THEIR WORD ISN''T WORTH A " S _ _ _ ". CASE IN POINT THE SO CALLED MESSIAH. ( YOU ASKED FOR IT). DON" 

Rudeness happens. I rest my case.


  1. Interesting post. I started visiting the site to see if there really was a place for common ground. I don't think that I ever expected you to change your mind or you to change mine, but was curious to see if we could actually find areas of agreement beyond the easy stuff.

    "But I know they agree with my views and believe that we can actually engage in reasonable behavior to stop the senseless shootings and to come to some common sense regarding gun policy."

    This first is pretty easy. No one wants anyone to be hurt in a "senseless shooting" but the truth is that even by the time we get to the second step we are likely already at odds. What is "common sense" to you, is "suicidal lunacy" to me. All I'm saying here is that our world views are so far apart in this area that the chance of us finding common ground are vanishingly slim. We both look at each other and think "Do they really believe that?"

    That means that our respective groups will forever be locked in a media and legal battle. We have as much chance agreeing as the various pro and con abortion groups.

    And that's where it really gets heated. Both sides try to rally their supporters to action and recruit new followers. We end up battling over the most trivial of words because if we don't we end up letting the "other" side invent terminology and define the debate. The NRA-ILA sees ever attempt at legislation a back door attempt at "grabbing guns" (I'm not saying that it's really NOT an attempt, but pointing out the language used) and folks like Brady invent terms like "Assault Clip" because their PR tells them that people believe that "Assault" anything is bad.

    All of this has to be sufficiently scary or shrill to get someone to pay attention to a 15 second sound bite that they'ed really rather ignore or to trigger a reporter to write a story about this or that 'outrageous' claim.

    By the time we get here.. You *must* be a shill for Brady and I *must* get my talking points directly from the NRA and both sides believe the other side is chock full of loons. Thus we start with the premise "Why should I negotiate with crazy people"

    For years and years the gun folks were on the defensive spending more time trying to slow down the loss of rights than gaining ground. For now, the shoe is on the other foot and the gun regulation proponents spend their days trying to hold the line on this or that bill.

    Like abortion, this is an argument where thinking people can and do come to radically opposite conclusions. We have only the Constitution as the buffer to keep either side from running rough shod over the other.

    The problem with such debates on a forum like yours is that both sides are confined to written words with no "human" face to put with them. What might seem like witty debate in person, when you try to corner your opponent on a point, easily comes off as rude and boorish in writing.

    As the immortal Frank Zappa said "On the internet no one can see you wiggle your eyebrows" The answer, i suspect, is to be "more" polite than you would be in person, to come off as merely polite in writing.

    Oh.. we will still likely disagree on everything but hot coffee and cold milk but perhaps each side will at least gain insight to the other. I think we can do that respectfully.

  2. To 18Echo- this has to be one of the best comments made on my blog since I started writing. You captured the problems and expressed pretty much how it feels to be on opposite sides of a controversial issue. Even if we can't agree, I do appreciate these comments. They were thoughtfully written and respectful. Thanks.

  3. Internet discourse is tough because folks tend not to know each other in person - and they can be somewhat anonymous, which usually leads to comments and discussions being far less polite than they may be in person.

    That said, there's no reason why debate can't be respectful and appropriately argumentative without crossing into personal insults and disrespectful behavior.


  4. 18Echo, Now that I've seen you quote FZ, I have a completley different (more positive) opinion of you.

    japete, I don't spend so much time on each post as you do. Sometimes I write off the top of my head. Maybe that's why the nastiness I generate doesn't surprise or bother me more.

    There's lots of common ground. Some of us on both sides prefer civil discourse. That's something right there.