Right to not be Silenced

Every so often, during public discourse, people don’t agree. Sometimes, some of the people, lacking either the ability or the willingness to argue the thing on its merits, resort to the old ad hominem standby—you know, just give up on reasoned discourse and attack the other person. Personally. Or, better still, cast that person into a stereotype and then attack the whole stereotype.

I’m not saying that this is a new tactic, just that I have been seeing an awful lot of it lately. And that I have decided to become Officially Pissed.

And I am no longer accepting it.

As I’m sure you have heard, anyone who isn’t racing to give up his gun is a “gun crazy” and you know with that means—he is racist, he hates gays, he is uneducated, he doesn’t respect the rights of women, and he has poor oral hygiene. And if he happens to be a SHE, then it’s even worse. Not only is she a racist who hates gays and has poor oral hygiene, she is an anti-feminist who is being controlled by her husband because no woman in her right mind would want anything to do with guns (because it’s not like a willingness to want to protect your children is “normal” female behavior.) She is probably also fat.

This strategy might lack elegance, but there is no doubting its effectiveness. No one wants to be seen as one of those “gun crazies”.  Perfectly normal citizens who own guns, or who might not own a gun but support the right of other people to own guns, are forced to stay quiet. When they are put on the spot, they acquiesce to anything their questioner informed them was “reasonable”—“No, I don’t need more than seven rounds in my gun”; “Yes, assault weapons are very scary looking” just to avoid being labeled as a “gun crazy”.

Gun owners (and their allies) really need to knock that shit off. We are every bit as entitled to our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs as our opponents in the great Gun Control “Conversation” and should not allow ourselves to be bullied into silence. Approximately 42% of households in American have at least one gun. If you have a gun, you shouldn’t feel like you also have some deep, dark secret… or at least not any more than, say, owning a video game console.

I admit, I’ve been guilty of keeping quiet myself. In the past I have thought that if I say that I believe in an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, if I say that I have a pistol permit, if I say that New York’s new gun legislation is downright silly, I’ll lose my Feminist Card. My gay friends and family will think I don’t love them anymore and that I no longer care about their rights. Someone will call me a racist. Or uneducated. At least they won’t be able to say I have poor oral hygiene; I have excellent teeth.

But I DO believe in an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

I DO have a pistol permit… and the pistol to go along with it.

And I DO think that New York’s new gun legislation is downright silly. (Let’s all pinkie promise not to load more than seven bullets into our ten round magazines, okay?)

I refuse to be labeled as someone who doesn’t care about the rights of women or homosexuals. I refuse to be labeled a racist. I refuse to be called uneducated.

I also refuse to be bullied into silence.

Though if someone wants to say I have bad teeth, I’m just going to smile at them.

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