Let me start off by saying that I don’t support any limits to the right to keep and bear arms. None. I think you should be able to defend your home with heavy artillery if that’s what I feel is called for–though I do think you should be on the hook if you blow up your neighbor’s house–and I don’t like the idea that I can’t have pretty much whatever weapons I want.
Yet I also understand the political game well enough to know that there are certain things that you may have a right to do that you still shouldn’t do.
Politics is a game of optics. It’s about perception. What you’re trying to do is to win people over to your cause. Protests are part of that effort.
For Second Amendment advocates, we’ve long understood that the media is against us. They’re not interested in presenting reasoned discourse from our side of the argument. They want to try and scare the bejesus out of people with pictures of scary gun rights folks.
With COVID-19, a lot of those same people are chomping at the bit to get back to work. In Michigan, they’re protesting the governor’s heavy-handed actions in response to the virus.
And, well, they took their guns with them.
Now, the state is debating whether to ban guns from the capitol building and, well, if that happens then that’s on the protestors’ heads.
Look, I don’t want to see this measure passed. I don’t think there should be limits on where guns should go, with the exception of matters where we’re talking about private property. The government damn sure shouldn’t impose limits.
But, on the same token, perception is everything and how did the media play it? How did they make the protestors look? We saw people carrying firearms and screaming at cops.
Oh, I have absolutely zero doubt that what was shown was carefully manipulated to make the protestors look unhinged. Of course it was. That’s what the media does for anyone on the right politically. Why else do you think you saw more pictures of people with guns at Lobby Day in Richmond than of the thousands of other protestors who went unarmed? The media wants people to think we’re dangerous. At least there, though, it was a Second Amendment protest. Guns had a role to play there as those were what politicians wanted to restrict.
Yet the problem is that in Michigan, no one accounted for that, apparently. Instead, they opted to feed into that narrative, a narrative that will now be used to justify imposing more restrictions on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
And that’s the key term here: Law-abiding citizen.
Nothing the protestors did was illegal. They complied with the law. No one is arguing that point.
What I am going to argue, though, is that whoever thought it would be a good idea to carry guns didn’t think things through. You want to make a point, make it, but make the right point at the right time. Now, no one cares what those protestors had to say about the quarantine rules. No one cares that some of those people are losing their livelihoods and are just wanting to go back to work.
No, all they know is that a bunch of white guys with guns all but stormed the capitol.
If you want to make a point, if you want to make your voices heard, then you need to understand how the media will portray you. You need to play that game if you want to win. The media is hostile, so why give them exactly what they want?
As Michigan considers banning guns from the capitol, remember that the reason they’re likely to get away with it was because people brought guns to protest that had nothing to do with guns.