Having spent decades in the marketing field trying to convince people to buy things they don’t want, I get it.
I get that people become acclimated to ideas and new concepts as a result of continued exposure. So when open carry advocates claim that their aim is to desensitize the public to the presence of guns, I understand the logic. Look how well it’s working with the gutting of our Constitution. Bend a fundamental rule of law here and there and before you know it, you can achieve some real progress!
What I don’t understand is the rationale behind an “instant desensitization” strategy by staging “in your face” open carry gun parties in an attempt to influence the non-believing community.
Let’s consider a recent example.
Starbucks had a long-standing “gun policy” of… following local laws. If local law allowed open carry, fine. If local law allows concealed carry, fine. That’s a win for us folks. I don’t want businesses making individual decisions about my rights. I want them to worry about whatever their business is and to just follow the law of the land when it comes to constitutional issues. If they want to dis-invite me as a gun owner under their private property rights, that’s OK. It’s also my right to shop elsewhere.
But then idiocy reared it’s ugly head. The “other” side adopted a strategy of trying to force Starbucks to become anti-gun. Even though they were never pro-gun. They were, and are, pro-coffee. That’s it. And all it should be. Gun control proponents staged protests and media events to force Starbucks to take a political position that had absolutely nothing to do with their business. While I think that was a stupid move, I understand it. After all, they’re idiots. And desperate. Well, in fairness, they’re not all idiots. They’re just choosing to make decisions from a fear-based emotional perspective. Like NBC executives.
In response, some in the pro-gun community decided that the right defense was to be offensive. So they staged “Bring your arsenal to Starbucks” days and showed up with rifles on the backs, a pistol or twelve and perhaps a couple of MK-19 automatic grenade launchers. Because Starbucks would be thrilled to have the Internet Ninja Militia show up in their stores, fully armed, and spend five or six bucks on some coffee. Boy did we show them!
The response from Starbucks was predictable. While reluctant to outright ban guns, they did issue a statement that they politely request gun owners don’t carry in their stores. What did we expect?
So why did this happen?
The short answer is that our side orchestrated and achieved a colossal failure of desensitization.
Think about it. If you’re allergic to guinea pig dander and head to your allergist for treatment, they’re probably not going to lock you in a chamber with 12,000 of the squeaky little rodents and hope you get used to it. That would be an epic failure of desensitization and would cost a fortune in guinea pig food. Instead, the doctor will give you a weekly injection of guinea pig pheromones, in gradually increasing doses, until your body learns to cope, or you start to become romantically attracted to guinea pigs. The process may take years. Eventually, you won’t break out in hives when sharing a bowl of timothy hay with a couple of abyssinian guinea pigs.
On a similar note, I’ve yet to see a frog jump into a pot of boiling water. All the boiled frogs I know chose to desensitize themselves by jumping into nice, lukewarm crock pots. Then they would hang out, have a glass of champagne and enjoy a gradual rise in water temperature. Another classic example of gradual desensitization.
The point is simple. If you want to acclimate someone to a new point of view, you need to do it gently over time. No one decides they like liver and onions or Season 8 of The Bachelor after just one sitting.
Our unworthy opponents in favor of gun control are masters at the desensitization strategy. It’s rare to find a public spokesperson calling for outright gun confiscation. But that’s what they all want. Instead, they propose bit-sized nibbles that are digestible by the uninformed. “Let’s implement just one common sense measure to increase public safety.” Or perhaps “We agree with the right to own guns, we’re just asking for more thorough background checks.” Unless you’re whacked out on Mighty Putty fumes, you know exactly what their long-term goal is. If you are whacked out on Mighty Putty fumes, please don’t drive. Or vote.
Heck, I’m in favor of legal open carry as much as anyone. If I see someone open carrying, I know they’re generally the least of my worries. But I’ve been properly de-sensitized. But someone like Piers Morgan? Or the average Starbucks customer? Not so much.
When a business is being extorted by the anti-gunners, just stop by, dressed in your normal fashion. Buy something. And tell them you appreciate them focusing on their business – not the yahoos boycotting for their cause du jour.
Remember folks, we can be right, and still lose. Just ask Sarah Palin.