And the internet fans the flames.
The Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut had an impact on the US different than any other shooting in the last decade. I don't know if it was the fact that it was children or that it was right before Christmas. Perhaps it was the fatigue, frustration and anger of yet ANOTHER US shooting. Perhaps it was the fact that the election was newly over and conservative and libertarian voters were still licking their wounds while the gloating moderates and liberals were feeling more confident and powerful. Maybe it was a combination of it all but the rush for gun control measures to be taken was staggering in it's ferocity.
We responsible gun owners were (and are) just as hurt and shocked and devastated by the shooting as any one else. I shed many tears over the children of Sandy Hook and the pain of the families I could barely imagine. I was disgusted and angry and feeling the grief of my friends and families.
And then that grief was stolen from me. Instead of being given that time to grieve and assess and think, I was bombarded by the hyperbole. I and many like me were assaulted with not only the call for more gun control measures but also the offensive idea that anyone for individual gun rights was somehow in favor of the murder of children. Like never before myself and others were finding themselves being viciously attacked for owning inanimate objects. And the media has done nothing but thrown fuel on that fire.
Those on the other side of the fight went from being hurt to angry and pointing that anger at us. We responded by trying to defend ourselves and tensions began to mount.
And mount they did.
Soon the president was making speeches and assembling task forces. People were screaming on television and radio shows. Calls for deportation. Conspiracy theories. Name calling. Websites created. Groups were meeting. Bills were being drawn up. Politicians were scheming. Guns and ammo started flying off of shelves like the last loaves of bread on grocery shelves in an apocalypse. People were making YouTube videos about killing people. Talk of executive orders and bans electrified every computer in the US.
And it all came to a pseudo head yesterday with the President's speech and executive orders on gun control.
I was not at home to listen to his speech. I had a choice of taking my kids to a story hour featuring stories and crafts of snowmen or staying in front of the television. I wasn't going to let any presidential speech or hyped-up fear about guns take the place of making time and enjoying it with my children. They are and forever will be more important to me than any possession and presidential speech.
I fully expected to get home, log into my email or facebook and see the thousands of outraged posts about how he tried some sort of extreme executive ordered ban.
Even though his speech had been concluded for some time by the time I got home there was not a single post on either my Facebook or my email in regards to what he said. They weren't even playing it on television news. That told me one thing: It wasn't nearly as bad as everyone predicted.
I had to go searching for his speech and when I found it and then found a list of his proposed executive orders and read them carefully I felt quite a bit of relief. Memorandums, letters to this or that agency, incentives to increase background checks. There was not a single item on the list that made me grind my teeth.
Then I went to some of the gun websites I frequent to see what some of the other people were saying about it.
I was more shocked about what was going on in the gun community than outside of it. The hyperbole was alive and well and instead of taking a second to breathe people were escalating. I can't even begin to list the ways in which people have been distorting what happened to make it far more panic-inducing than what it really was. And it continues.
I decided days ago to not borrow trouble from tomorrow. What will be will be. Panicking about it will help no one. Nor will it help our cause.
I think it is exceptionally prudent to be proactive, alert, vigilant and perhaps a bit suspicious. I know there are politicians who won't be happy until the entire US population is disarmed and I intent to continue fighting them. I have no delusions that it is getting better. It's not. It's bad and we still need to work and fight.
But I'm pretty sure it's time for the raving and fear-mongering on our part to settle a bit.
- I have and will continue to write my representatives.
- I will share any information I find that is based in fact and relevant.
- I will join and donate money to groups that will fight the upcoming bills that are going to be introduced to Congress.
- I will communicate with anyone who has questions and if I don't have the answers I will attempt to direct him or her to someone who does.
- I will continue teaching firearms safety and attending firearms training.
- I will support any legislator who votes to oppose any assault weapons ban.
- I will watch the voting in Congress to help me better vote for representatives in the mid-term elections who are pro-second amendment.
- I will also attend meetings and peaceful demonstrations like those arranged for Jan the 19th at noon and Feb the 8th at 10am.
- I will continue to carry in accordance with my state's laws and encourage the cause of liberty, firearms and self defense.
- I will NOT pass on conspiracy theories.
- I will not attempt to put words in any politician's mouth and presume he has said or done something that has not been said or done.
- I will not allow fear to overrun my common sense and reason.
- I will not encourage any kind of illegal action. I will not condone or partake in any talk of harming or wishing harm on any political figures, actors, actresses or public figures no matter how misguided they may be.
- I will not try to read into things, assume, over think or otherwise borrow trouble from the unknown.
- I will not attack those confused and misunderstanding individuals who come to me for information.
- I will not partake in the insults and cyber bullying that has gone on on both sides of the agenda.
- I will not flame, harass or "troll" any site or figure who I disagree with.
I am a responsible gun owner and a reasonable woman. I am a gun owner and a defender of the second amendment. I will not change my mind on that for many reasons. And I will fight for my right to keep and bear arms. But I will also not allow my priorities to be unduly skewed because of panic.