We've been posting Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) diaries for a few months, and a certain unpleasant, and unfortunate, attitude has been displayed by a few of those who disagree with us.
Many in the DKos community disagree with us, of course... not as many as one might expect, but most of us would admit that they do constitute a plurality if not a majority. This does not bother us in the least: we are here to educate people who disagree with us, using statistics, logic and irrefutable facts to persuade others that most people who legally own and carry firearms are completely harmless. We seek to steal away from the Republicans an issue they have used to defeat us in countless elections.
We also regularly encounter something other than mere disagreement: raw anger, most akin to the hate mail Kos collects on Saturdays for our amusement. I refer to this as hoplophobia. Its methods, rhetoric, and style -- even down to the often terrible grammar -- mirrors the 'discourse' on FreeRepublic. The pathological insistence on smearing us, and insulting any logic we may offer, resembles the behavior of the common homophobe.
The RKBA credo, and details, after the jump:
Update [2010-1-26 12:51:47 by Tom Seaview]:
I clearly failed to make two crucial distinctions in this diary.
I failed to emphasize that many people disagree with us (you knew that) and that most of them base their dissent on purely intellectual grounds. This diary was meant to highlight the differences between the many who argue honestly against our views, and those few who only attack with slander and projection... that latter minority is the group I describe as "hoplophobic."
I also left a glaring omission, for which I attempt to atone with the following:
Nothing in this diary is intended to compare the effects of homophobia, which are worse than we can describe (my humble thanks to those who have tried) to the effects of hoplophobia, which are worse than one might think... but do not approach the vast evils homophobia has wrought for centuries. I compare causes, not effects: nothing posted below has changed my opinion of those causes, nor changed my estimate that most opposition to these positions is the kind of honest discourse that both defines and undermines the Left. The failure to make that clear is mine alone, and I apologize.
I have left the diary untouched outside this update, so as not to belie arguments that accurately point out the weakness of my diary... and I thank those who have faithfully defended its arguments, while laboring under their incompleteness.
RKBA is a DKos group of second amendment supporters who also have progressive and liberal values. We don't think that being a liberal means one has to be anti-gun. Some of us are extreme in our second amendment views (no licensing, no restrictions on small arms) and some of us are more moderate (licensing, restrictions on small arms.) Moderate or extreme, we hold one common belief: more gun control equals lost elections. We don't want a repeat of 1994. We are an inclusive group: if you see the Second Amendment as safeguarding our right to keep and bear arms individually, then come join us in our conversation. If you are against the right to keep and bear arms, come join our conversation. We look forward to seeing you.
The last sentence is true even for that Strident Minority who attack us with neither logic nor civility. We accept their inevitability, and encourage them to expose themselves to the light.
Of course, we come to speak to the vast majority of Kossacks: people dedicated to liberal politics and discourse, who display a refreshing intellectual honesty. The so-called 'weakness' of the Left -- our failure to march in lockstep, uncritically parroting talking points -- is, in this diarist's humble opinion, our greatest strength.
Last week, this strength was on display. Many Kossacks visited my diary and honestly answered the question: how would having or carrying a firearm affect their behavior?
I was asking all of you to think hard about that -- just as I did for months before buying my first gun, and again before applying for my carry permit. Many of you came up with the same answer: you would become extremely non-confrontational, and avoid trouble and dangerous situations, just like we do.
Alas, this enlightening discourse was visited upon by the dark forebodings of the common Hoplophobe. We were called "pathetic," and told that our "goal is to instill fear into others" ...without any evidence of either.
We're kind of used to that. The hoplophobes show up every week, stalking us from diary to diary in a way most determined... and quite forbidden by the forum rules. We expect to hear from them again in the comments below.
Read their comments, and look through a few other diaries with the RKBA tag, and recognize their anger for what it is: projection. The hoplophobes are clearly suppressing their own violence and anger, and they expect us to suffer from it as well, so they attribute it to us. (Forgive me for not quoting too many comments: in last week's diary, I learned that repeating the exact words posted by a hoplophobe often sends him or her into a frenzy of angry denunciation and denial).
Never mind that concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding groups in the country, even less likely to commit crimes than police officers. Never mind that 37 states issue such permits freely, and two require no permits at all. Never mind that Florida started issuing permits in 1987, and that Florida permits are valid in 33 other states, yet the much-anticipated bloodbath has never happened.
No, the common hoplophobe has much in common with the homophobes we all abhor: they project their twisted imaginations upon those whose freedoms they fear most. By realizing the common threads that link their behavior, we begin to suspect their greatest fears: that, given the opportunity, they would hurt people. Fearing these impulses, they project them upon us... just as Larry Craig consistently voted and spoke angrily against gay rights.
It is sad to see such misdirected anger, such fervent hatred, in an otherwise beautiful site like DailyKos. For good reason, most of us avoid arguing with right-wing nuts. The hoplophobes who frequent, or even stalk, the RKBA diaries remind us of Freepers. We know we will never overcome their projected violent anger and convince them of anything. They are the price we pay to have a more evolved conversation with the rest of you, and it is well worth it.
We can't cure hoplophobia, but we can gain by understanding it. You don't need to click links to find examples: just wait a while, and scroll down this page. Have pity.