Gun Forum Purges Differing Point of View – Enforces Echo Chamber

The phone rang this afternoon and the only way I knew who had called was from the CallerID. The roisterous laughter at the other end of the phone prepared me that something good was coming. But what would just have to wait until the caller could gain control of his humor [humour for our British Commonwealth friends].

I have known Ray Vaughn for years…we work together in the same profession and share some hobbies, seeing each other as time and work permit as he lives mostly in New York City and I am mostly in Kentucky. Today, I found out how much we are alike which is a bit of a surprise as I am mostly liberal and he is mostly conservative. One of the hobbies we share is target shooting, killing paper at the gun range whenever it is possible to get together. Neither of us is a gun “enthusiast”, while we have both been shooters since we were kids and like the skill of “competitive plinking”, we do not define our lives by an enthusiasm toward guns.

And today I found out we have one other thing in common…we have both been banned from smith-wessonforum.com. Not for being rude, not for posting obscenities, not for name calling, and not for being confrontational. Both of us, a bit over six months apart were banned for the sole reason of disagreeing with the established forum position on the NRA and on our opinions of gun rights/responsibilities/regulation.

Let’s look at Ray’s experience. The simple, and very good question asked on the forum was “I am curious, how many people here own firearms but are not NRA members?” The debate on that began in 2011 and continued through today. Ray’s answer was equally clear…

“I don’t support Big Pharma lobbyists; I don’t support Wall Street lobbyists. Lobbyists are killing this country; buying votes, limiting debate to those with a big checkbook.

From that position I won’t be a member of NRA just because they support something to which I agree.” – Ray Vaughn

One might think it was simple, an honest answer to an honest question. But it was not. The forum, from the owner to regular participants doesn’t want to listen to a different point of view, they don’t have the capacity to take honest debate and learn from it. In their narrow little world, if someone doesn’t support the NRA or support their personal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment…they are the enemy, and treated as such. They name call, they insult, and they make up “facts” to reply to that differing view.

Now, if Ray was anti gun, interested in “gungrabbing” as they call it, it might be different. But that is not the case. Ray is a gun owner…has been for nearly as long as I have and his pretty conservative views on the subjects of guns and addressing gun violence are reasonable. And that is the problem. Taking a reasoned approach to the very real subject of gun violence in this country is looked down on, it is scorned, and it is rejected because it is not what their echo chamber wants to hear.

NRA-cry-baby

So they act like petty little girls and run and ban someone just because the point of view they hear is different. I could understand it if the general membership took that position – it is their right as they play in a public sandbox. But when the forum owner is just as childish, just as biased, and just as myopic…that becomes a problem. One person decides what opinion is important. And from his hand built echo chamber…if it is not his opinion it has no right to exist.

So we have a paradox, a gun forum that adamantly supports the 2nd Amendment at the expense of intentionally turning its back on the 1st Amendment and free speech.

What can we learn from this? Well, first we have learned that gun owners, at least those who participate in gun fora have no interest in solving the problems associated with gun violence. They do have an interest in protecting their point of view, and only their point of view, as if they speak for all gun owners. And they have an obsessive, hero worship view of the NRA and its spokesmen – they can do no wrong.

We also know this. When you tally up the total number of members of gun fora, members of NRA and other lobbying organizations like GOA we see that the myopic, intransigent, yet vocal collective of “gun enthusiasts” make up less than 5,000,000 people. That is just SIX PERCENT of the estimated 75-80 million gun owners. The rest fall under several categories…liberal gun owners [we make up at least 33% of that 5Million total] like me, conservative gun owners who don’t believe in or support the NRA, like Ray, and a third, apparently very large group…that group of gun owners who keep guns as a tool, not a hobby, not an obsession, and not a statement of their manhood or their patriotism.

When everything settles in the conversation regarding gun violence, and what laws to be implemented are settled, look at those fringe gun owners, those who refuse to listen to differing views, instead holding onto intransigent views as one of the reasons the laws passed.

____________________________________

McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

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8 responses to “Gun Forum Purges Differing Point of View – Enforces Echo Chamber

  • B. Upchurch

    I was comment banned today for a couple posts on Facebook… by one of the “addicting info” admins… on your post… I was banned for the sole reason of posting factual data that anone could look up to verify… and a link to the CNN video of Joe Biden admitting gun law’s won’t stop mass killing’s… there was no reply like I typically get… my posts were just removed…

    I always look at both sides of stories, I’m a centrist… I’m not someone that think’s a magical device is in charge of the weather, but i’ll always be open to listen to anyone’s theories… so why do you think I was literally removed from that thread? it’s not like I posted something from fox news, lol….

    and for the record… I also don’t believe in or support the NRA…

    • Moontree Ranch

      Addicting Info has a very clear anti-gun agenda. So much so, that they refuse to accept the reality that there are some 300 million guns in the hands of 85 to 100 million people in this country.

      • mcallisterbryant

        You are correct that Addicting Info has a clear bias toward addressing the issue of gun violence. It is not “anti gun”…there are too many of us who write there that are both gun owners and liberal.

        They do not refuse to accept the reality of the number of gun or the number of gun owners – though most believe the number of gun owners is closer to 60-75 Million. That said, AI knows the numbers…they also know that the collection of gun owners does not speak as one group, they don’t have the same thoughts on gun ownership or the NRA’s position. It is estimated that, of that 60-75Million gun owners, 33-40% of them are liberal.

        So, we all have to accept that there is a divergent set of opinions and principles from the gun owner community. The question is, what percentage also believes there is a need to solve gun violence?

  • mcallisterbryant

    I am very much against anyone deleting posts on any facebook or forum discussion. It only reinforces an echo chamber and is just not healthy for honest discussion.

    To the deletions you had today…I don’t have anything to do with moderating Addicting Info’s facebook or website…I don’t even get notified if there are comments.

    To your point…Biden did say gun laws won’t stop mass killings, and I agree with that. My more pressing concerns are the 11,800 OTHER deaths that occur, and the 250,000 injuries that occur annually. While the mass murders take the headlines, the everyday murders, from domestic violence to robberies to gangs, to drunken stupidity are significantly more important. And they can be REDUCED by SOME of the proposed gun laws. We will never have 100% success. But like in DUI deaths, 66% success is pretty damned good.

    • Moontree Ranch

      Society needs to look at the real reason for gun crime. People learn that “with a gun they can take” away from people that do not have a gun. This behavior is reinforced every time it happens. By arming the general public this trend would see a drastic shift, as the success rate would decrease.

      In the legal arena, criminals who commit crimes with a firearm are often issued wimpy sentences and are back on the street to commit more crime. How would this trend fair if every violent offender (criminals who commit armed robbery etc) were sentenced to death?

      A would be thug would look a little deeper in the choice they make…do I knock off this gas station for the chance of scoring a few hundred bucks…at the risk of getting caught and killed by the justice system.

      When the system gets tough on crime…crime rates drop

      • mcallisterbryant

        Regarding the first part…”By arming the general public this trend would see a drastic shift”. First…a big majority of the general public has no interest in being armed. Estimates show 7-8 million folks with concealed carry. Two assumptions have to be made…that all permit holders ALWAYS carry and that they are in the right place at the right time.

        There is also the issue of how much crime they may cause…the old assumption that carry holders don’t break firearms law has been shattered.

        I agree that crimes with gun punishment is lacking. But I also know that death penalty has never been a deterrent to murder. If it was, we would have no murder. Those who commit crime, whether robbery, murder or even impulse domestic violence seldom have acute critical thinking skills to make that informed decision as to the risk:reward.

  • mcallisterbryant

    And welcome to the sandbox.

  • Jeromie Ivan Brann

    Great read! First time coming by here (The Liberal Gun Club Facebook page had posted the link). It’s refreshing to see another liberal, Lexingtonian gun owner. I knew there were more of us around!

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