A little more sleuthing led me to more articles supposedly written by Dr.Thompson. Here is a website associated with Sarah Thompson, M.D.- firstname.lastname@example.org. I checked and found that this site no longer exists. Then I checked on this site- Fearless Life- listed on the linked article above. Now we're getting somewhere. Here is the story of Dr. Thompson, as shared by her on this site. If you read this account of her life, it doesn't seem to fit with her writings about guns. She is a now a retired physician who tried her hand at Emergency Medicine and then Psychiatry but didn't enjoy either medical practice. In her own words, " I am gentle and patient and am able to Work with people who are new to The Work or who are having difficulty finding their way, as well as those more experienced. I work from a meditative place of deep silence. I know that all the answers you need are already inside you." She admits to having been a citizen lobbyist, activist and founder of several non profit organizations but doesn't mention the Utah Gunowners Alliance.
So, to continue with the sleuthing, I could not find that the Utah Gunowners Alliance exists any more. When "googling" the alliance, I ran across this reference: " Most Gun Owners Disgust Me!" with a subtitle indicating that Dr. Sarah Thompson had "called it quits" at the Utah Gunowners Alliance. I found this quite old article written by Dr. Sarah Thompson. I also found this one which clearly shows that Dr. Thompson was with the Utah Gunowners Alliance. Based on her story about herself and where she finds herself now, and the undocumented statement about gun owners disgusting her, perhaps she has changed her mind about her prior views. It would be interesting if she had since her article was all about the gun rights advocates working to change the minds of people like me.
According to the "astute" psychological analysis provided by Dr. Sarah Thompson, I have some pretty interesting psychological problems. O.K. I confess. I am projecting my feelings of rage and repressed violent and homicidal impulses onto inanimate objects. My defense mechanisms are showing. Should I deny that I am really coming to get the guns of the gun rights extremists or pretend that I am just a "professional victim" and carry on about my God given rights as a victim? Thompson writes: " Anti-gun people who refuse to accept the reality of the proven and very serious dangers of civilian disarmament are using denial to protect themselves from the anxiety of feeling helpless and vulnerable." Surely that is me. Anyone who knows me knows that I feel helpless and vulnerable all the time. What I actually want is " ...to outlaw self-defense and believe(s) innocent people have the obligations to be raped and murdered for the good of society." Yup. That fits. Oh, also I have "gun phobia- an excessive and completely irrational fear of firearms." I'm going to tell my husband to get rid of his hunting guns immediately. I didn't realize it until I read this article but this phobia is "usually caused by the anti-gun conditioning they've been subjected to by the media, politicians, so-called "educators," and others." Wow. And now I am the one subjecting people to this phobia. Oh dear.
Further, I learned that this particular problem is common to all "anti-gun" people- rage! "Because they can't handle their own feelings of rage, they are forced to use defense mechanisms in an unhealthy manner." What would that be? Ah- the "largest and most hysterical anti-gun groups include disproportionately large numbers of women, African-Americans and Jews. And virtually all of the organizations that claim to speak for these "oppressed people" are stridently anti-gun." Really? What kind of people are these? I do fall into one of those hysterical and "oppressed" categories-women. I am feeling relieved that my unexplained urges to argue with gun rights extremists can be chalked up to my psychological processes, which, as Thompson assures us, are not really mental illness. Phew! For a while there, I was getting worried.
There is so much to talk about here that I hardly know where to begin or end. The article was possibly written in 1997( though the date was not on the article but I saw something that indicated that year- and yet some of the references were to artlcles printed in 2000), first of all, so much of the information is dated and no longer makes sense given current organizations and realities. Thompson seems to have disappeared from gun rights writings when she walked out of the Utah Gunowners Alliance. Her sources include a lot of gun rights advocates and writings by people with clear biases against gun control such as John Lott, Gary Kleck and others. As a "target" of her writings, I find this article to be arrogant and offensive and quite astounding for its' lack of scientific research or actual medical research. I would call it junk science. But the worst of it comes at the end of the article when Thompson attempts to educate her readers about how to talk to people like me- gun violence prevention advocates, or, excuse me, "advocates for civilian disarmament":
- Try to reverse my irrational thoughts by repeating what I say back to me and make me question my thoughts. I'll come to my senses and agree with you for sure.
- Ask me what I would do in situations like this- ( this is an example given by Thompson- I didn't make this up)-" Why do you think that your children's schoolteachers would shoot them?" You might follow this up with something like, "Why do you entrust your precious children to someone you believe would murder them?" Huh? Is she serious here? (In reading some of this stuff, I wonder if Thompson is writing a parody.) This is, of course, the wrong question to ask. How about asking me if I think it's a good idea for teachers to carry guns in classrooms because children might get their hands on the gun? Or how about asking if I think teachers should be shooting at a shooter in the school while leaving the children unattended? How about asking if I think guns should be allowed in schools? The question used as an example is just inane and puzzling.
- Insert me into a hypothetical scenario by asking me how I would deal with a "difficult or annoying co-worker." Really? What's the right answer here? Should I say I would shoot that person or what in the world is Thompson trying to get at here? I'll admit it. I don't understand this one at all. What kind of a question is this? Is it relevant to what most gun control advocates really believe? No.
- Oh, and, please be gentle with me. That way you can help me to have a more realistic and rational view of the world. Anger won't work with me. It never does. You might have to deal with my irrational reactions, however, so be careful. Remember, I have a lot of rage. You never know what might happen next.
- Empathy helps. "Imagine for a moment how you would feel if you believed your neighbors and co-workers wanted to kill you and your family, and you could do nothing at all about it except to wait for the inevitable to occur." Seriously, readers, what is this about? Thompson assumes that us poor "professional victims" walk around thinking that our neighbors and co-workers are out to kill us. This is the pot calling the kettle black. This is actually the mind set of the gun rights extremists. I write about this all the time. I wonder what the gun rights advocates are so afraid of everywhere they go that they need their guns with them? Let's see, is this projection or a distortion of reality? To whom does Thompson's statement above actually apply?
- And then there's this one- "corrective experiences." This one, I imagine, is sort of like curing the gays. If you just but "...casually talk about your M.B.A., your trip to the Shakespeare festival, your vegetable garden, or your daughter's ballet recital, you will provide him with the opportunity to correct his misconceptions." I didn't make this stuff up. So now, because Mr. "gun guy" has convinced me that he is really a hippie or a liberal type, I will trust him and let him convince me that I was, after all, wrong about my long held beliefs and convictions. Fine, go to your daughter's ballet recital. Just don't carry your gun. You won't need it. But I digress. Surely I will be cured of my thoughts about guns now that the "gun guy" has an M.B.A. and hangs out at the ballet. This should work! He is not scary any more, or dangerous. Phew- I'm relieved. All along I thought these guys were abusive and "subhuman monsters" but they aren't after all. With the exception, of course, of all of the commenters on my blog and on any blog or article written by "anti-gunners" who have been abusive, scary, offensive, and generally big jerks. Perhaps if they would stop doing that, we would change our opinions of the gun rights extremists.
- And then, of course, what this is all building up to is, that once I trust you, you should take me to a shooting range and teach me that guns are not so bad. This is a form of "de-conditioning" that helps with phobias. Maybe you should have me just look at the guns at first because, you know, I have a "gun phobia". What if I have no desire to go to a shooting range? What does that say about me? According to Thompson, it means that I hate everyone who does go to a shooting range and find them all dangerous and scary. Oh, and Thompson reminds her readers:... "and remember this is not the time to launch into anti-government rants, the New World Order, conspiracy theories, or any kind of political talk!" I would say it's too late for that one.
- Now these techniques don't always work, according to Thompson. Some of us are just too terrified and have some very strong defenses. Maybe we've had a traumatic experience with a gun. Or, "you will also not succeed with the anti-gun ideologues, people like Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein." The reason is that they have "made a conscious choice to oppose firearms ownership and self-defense. " and "They know the facts and understand the consequences of their actions, and will happily sacrifice innocent people if it furthers their selfish agenda." Wow. Those are some strong words. Can Thompson prove what she says here?
- I've also recently been told that I have The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs. For example, in reading about gun control, people usually prefer sources that affirm their existing attitudes. They also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and/or recall have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a stronger weighting for data encountered early in an arbitrary series) and illusory correlation (in which people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations)." Hmmm. I wonder who wrote that entry? Anyway, here is another source for the phrase.
- The commenter is right. I am guilty of this one. But then, of course, so are the gun rights advocates. They send me articles from their sources and I send them articles from my sources. The twain will likely not meet. I usually do not use the NRA as a source for my information. And they don't use the Brady Campaign as a source for their information. I could be wrong but I am guessing that many of my readers watch the Fox news network and/or listen to Rush Limbaugh. I get my news from reading the New York Times, Washington Post, and watching CNN or MSNBC and other such news sources. In the 24/7 news cycle dominated by cable news and Internet sources our tendencies to read, watch and listen to that which confirms our own beliefs has made our discourse poisonous and polarized. Our country would be better off if we would have more reasoned discourse and look at all sides of issues. We need calm and rational national discussions about all of the important issues of the day. This blog has helped me to see what the "other side" is thinking. Occasionally, I am persuaded by someone who has presented me with a rational argument about something I have written. Unfortunately, many readers choose not to wade into the discussion because way too often, it turns ugly and we are going nowhere. And as long as the gun rights advocates are willing to call me names and accuse me of all sorts of things, such as "confirmation bias", "rage", "hysteria", "dancing in the blood of victims", etc., we will go nowhere towards a better understanding of and better information about gun policy and gun rights.
Let's get back to this mysterious article which was posted on August 30th. Reading the article by Dr. Sarah Thompson was instructive. It revealed to what great lengths the gun rights people have gone to advance their agenda. Some of my commenters must have read the article at some point because they have been practicing the techniques suggested by Thompson to try to persuade me and to offer "corrective experiences". So far, most of what they have said has not worked because, remember, some of us are hard to persuade and you just can't deal with us.
So until that happens, expect to see me walking around in a permanent rage with steam coming out of my ears; expect to see me cowering behind bushes and around corners afraid that my neighbors or co-workers are going to shoot me; expect to see me using my status as the sister of a shooting victim irrationally to get my way or else; expect to see me so afraid of a gun that if I see one I will break out into a sweat and decompensate at the mere sight of it; expect to see me not going to a shooting range, not because I think others shouldn't be there but because I have no interest in doing so just as the majority of Americans who don't choose to do so; expect to hear me delighting in the idea that when guns are not allowed everywhere by everyone, someone will surely get shot because they didn't have a gun; expect to see me using more "confirmation bias" to persuade my readers; and finally, expect to see me continuing on my quest for common sense to prevent and reduce senseless shootings.
Addendum- in checking again for more information about the Thompson article, I noticed that it had been posted at "Gun Nation". When I went to that site, I was so horrified by a doctored photo of President Obama that I stopped looking further. I suggest that you check this out if you want to know what the gun rights extremists are thinking and talking about. What does this photo mean anyway? Is the President the "Terminator" of all gun rights? Maybe these gun rights extremists should try some of the techniques suggested above to change his mind. Or maybe they should stop trying to scare their supporters into believing in a fictional world where "advocates for civilian disarmament" are wandering the streets with their phobias trying to take away everyone's guns.