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I have, as likely many among us, always been committed to the cause of justice. I have stood up for others, I have spoken up when others didn't, I have chosen a life path that is for me more morally than financially rewarding. I have participated in protest marches, and clicked on countless online petitions. I have devoted hundreds of hours to initiatives that I felt were right, and knew were doomed from the outset. I have proudly taken on overwhelmingly powerful entities, built strong trust-based relationships with partners in the cause, made enormous profits for those I was opposing, and worked hard to build effective partnerships and organisations that would stand with me.

I sometimes failed to recognize opportunities, often failed to follow through adequately on my commitments, sometimes violated my self-established principles, and have often been disillusioned. I only walk the path I do thanks to the support of others, and yet am not always the best steward of the resources available to me.

One important thing that I've learned is that it's easier to make enemies than allies. Spend 15 minutes in the world of a five-year old, and you'll understand that this is a general human condition. We are inherently, unendingly seduced by the thrill of combat with an enemy, and evil force, an oppositional entity. To our detriment.

"When the Buddha has a goal, he does nothing. He sits. He waits. He meditates. He moves through the world like a stone through water.". The image I carry from that is of a stone sitting solid as the river/world moves past it. More enlightened than I. But I do work harder to build allies than enemies.

It's easy to find opposition, and enemies. In 4th grade, I remember one of my schoolyard friends, Rick, seriously informing me and others of the establishment of a playground gang that it was incumbent on us to combat. Stirred by righteousness, I proposed that we immediately attack them - I'd already fought the ringleader over the issue of who could use the swings. Rick rejected that plan, proposing instead that we monitor and observe. On one level I recognized Rick as a natural leader, because he had a cool jacket, but on another level, I didn't recognize until years later that leaders needed followers, and for that they needed to create threats and enemies.

I'm writing this now mainly because of the gun control discussion. In many ways this is an easy target for the DK community, but in this topic, as many before, more energy is spent in attacking and vilifying enemies than in creating allies. There certainly is room for righteous invectives against the NRA and her defenders, but there's also been much energy spent attacking potential allies - those members of the DK community who are gun owners and gun advocates. Surely some are trolls, but more are committed members of the community - hunters, neighbours, military, veterans, LEO, and so on.

My feeling is that we're in a position to actually effect meaningful change on this issue, a topic I've been following since the Reagan era. We have a president who's willing to take initiative (and risk political damage), a receptive media, strong polling advantages, and truly terrible gun-related atrocities in recent memory, encouraging improvements.

I know and respect too many responsible gun owners, and have too much contempt for the long-running, well-funded, fear-based political juggernaut that is the NRA to have patience with DK discussions where those who defend responsible gun ownership are attacked irresponsibly. There are many examples in other countries where reasonable gun control measures coexist with significant levels of gun ownership, and drastically lower rates of gun violence.

It's always easier to create enemies than allies. And always far more effective to build allies, even when it takes time and compromise, than enemies.

Originally posted to erratic on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 04:57 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks for posting this (11+ / 0-)

    waiting for the provocative responses in 4,3,2....

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ “If someone has a tool and is trying to negate your existence it would be reasonable to reciprocate in kind with your own tool.” - Dalai Lama XIV(sic)

    by annieli on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 05:02:22 PM PST

  •  What is needed is reasonable gun safety (14+ / 0-)

    reform. Most gun owners agree, even most members of the NRA (But not the leadership.)

    The President has put forward a good plan, should be stronger, should require training and demonstration of safety in order to purchase a gun. But still, it's a pretty good plan.

    Running around blasting gun owners, talking about repealing the 2nd Amendment, etc etc, will not helping to bring about these reasonable reforms.

    Focus, people, focus.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

    by JayRaye on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 05:09:57 PM PST

  •  Here is Bill Clinton on the subject. (12+ / 0-)

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 05:26:35 PM PST

    •  excerpts: (13+ / 0-)
      Clinton said that Republicans have been struggling in presidential politics since 1992 — noting that 2004 was the only time a Republican has won the popular vote in more than 20 years. But, he said, the party has been successful in energizing its supporters for midterm elections.
      “You have the power to really democratize America,” Clinton said. “You can do it on immigration reform, you can do it on these economic issues. You can do it on implementing the health care bill.”
      But, Clinton warned, the issue of guns has a special emotional resonance in many rural states— and simply dismissing pro-gun arguments is counter-productive.
      "“The way the Obama campaign won Florida, won Ohio, won this election by more than projected was the combination of technology, social media and personal contact,” Clinton said. That’s “the only way that our side will ever be able to even up the votes in the midterms and as these issues come up, really touch people and talk to them about it.”
  •  I would add (11+ / 0-)

    that knowing more about the places where guns are common the people, and the facts of their day to day existence would help to create something that doesn't have a bunch of harmful consequences to certain places.

    I do not really find anything in the presidents proposal that is that controversial. But that is me and my circumstances. I understand that others have a different opinion and that their circumstances may very well warrant it.

    The idea of gun control is not to shift the death rate somewhere else or put people who have never done anything wrong in impossible positions.

    We do that way to often in this country often to our detriment.

    It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

    by PSWaterspirit on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:01:58 PM PST

  •  Politics is building coalitions (5+ / 0-)

    It is a great virtue of politics that it makes for "strange bedfellows".

    Here's a proposed coalition. Put together rank and file law enforcement (who have no illusions either way), hunters (bring them on board with environmental issues), health reform advocates, and even the (quiet portion of) personal protection believers, the ones who actually want to be safer.

    That coalition could get behind the Obama proposals.

  •  I'm not sure about this part (8+ / 0-)
    Surely some are trolls,
    I don't know of any. And though I'm not a paid up full member of RKBA I know that those guys keep an amazingly careful watch on posters as they are quite frequently visited by zombies. I'd think a troll would be noticed quickly.

    Just my 2 kip.

    Good post though.

    Most of Obama's measures wouldn't affect much politically, I think a renewed push for an assault weapon ban besides being an electoral loser would end very unsuccessfully and if it were successful would do nothing to stop homicide. A big loser all round. If less dead people is the goal there are easier ways.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:55:57 PM PST

    •  Care to share any of them? (0+ / 0-)

      When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

      by Bisbonian on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:10:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  First identify which deaths, suicides or homicide (7+ / 0-)

        Suicides are going to be harder as they are often late middle aged guys who realistically decide there isn't much more happening.

        I'd rather go for young homicide victims which are mostly minority, male, young, poor.

        Give them other options.

        Like a $15 an hour job for all that want one.

        The discussion of immigration reform already talks of work permits for this and that, can't we afford to pay a decent wage to our citizens in areas of our big cites that have intergenerational poverty? $15 isn't that much, it would do lots to help many. When one has nothing to lose it changes things, give people a reason to be a part of the deal. From my ripe old age a 20 year old guy is pretty young. Worth saving.

        How about a decent wage throughout the south? Lots of gun death down there too. And good policing so people call the police when there is a problem. As it is now for whole segments of our society calling 911 is never done. Police too busy protecting gated communities.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:46:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't understand your answers. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Give homicide victims other options?  Hey, I'm all for that, but if they're a homicide victim, I fear it might be a bit too late.

          Maybe you mean people committing homicide, or preparing to, or likely to commit homicide.  How do you identify them, to give them these options?

          When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

          by Bisbonian on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:10:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  victims and perpetrators are the same demographic (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erratic, PavePusher, dewley notid

            in case you've lived in an alternate reality for the past half century. Hard to tell if you are seriously clueless or pretending.

            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

            by ban nock on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 05:18:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Re-read your response (0+ / 0-)

              "I'd rather go for young homicide victims which are mostly minority, male, young, poor.

              Give them other options."

              And then call me clueless again.  I gave you the benefit of the doubt, and tried to figure out what you really meant, and this is the response you have.  Typical.

              Anyway, back to your solutions; I guess you are saying that we need to give every young minority male a job at $15 an hour, and that would help.  It just might.  But, speaking of alternate realities, those have been a bit hard to find, lately.  If you have a way to create that many jobs, at roughly double the minimum wage, we'd all like to hear about it.

              And then, of course, we have to figure out how to pay for that kind of thing, and who pays.  Sounds like I'm going to be paying quite a lot so you can keep your guns.

              When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

              by Bisbonian on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 06:02:31 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  no one has talked of taking my guns away (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                erratic, mahakali overdrive

                I have bolt action hunting rifles, always empty.

                We have tons of money for $15 an hour jobs. Richest country in the world.

                There are these things called taxes.

                How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                by ban nock on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 07:21:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, there are taxes. (0+ / 0-)

                  Do the taxes taken in currently meet all the spending requirements? (Think "deficit"). No.  Therefore, more taxes would be needed for such a jobs program.  Not a bad idea, overall, but one that will be mighty difficult to sell to the general public...especially when you factor in that all of us would have to pay it so that some of us could keep their guns.  Might be problematic.

                  And I don't think a job would have helped in the Sandy Hook situation, which is what many of us are concerned with precenting, right now.

                  When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

                  by Bisbonian on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 07:42:30 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We don't mind taxes, we are too poor to pay them (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    erratic, dewley notid

                    it's all you folks in gated communities I want to tax.

                    I get it that Sandy Hook is what people care about, me, I care more about the other 99.99% of gun homicide more, but that's just me, not because I am a minority and poor and young and male, but because I could imagine being so.

                    Another country with our gun murder rate is Thailand, largest wealth disparity in E Asia.

                    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                    by ban nock on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:43:32 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, I live in a mostly abandoned mining town (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      erratic, ban nock, a2nite, Tommye

                      Though I do have a gate in the front yard....

                      Yeah, this one event got all the people's attention (finally!). The good news is that it's a breakthrough, and people seem to be more willing to look for effective solutions...which means we may see action on that other 99% as well.  I hope so, too.

                      When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

                      by Bisbonian on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:27:53 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  No, all of us wouldn't have to pay it. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    erratic, janetsal, blue in NC

                    Greed, avarice are what we're paying for now.

                    If the Koch's, de Vos', Peterson's, Walton's paid ninety percent of their income in taxes they would still be left w/over hundreds of millions of dollars each year.  

                    They're stealing our labor and convincing workers we don't deserve the benefits of the labor we put in to make them billions each and every year.

                    When each of these billionaires take more in one day than you or I will earn in a lifetime, there is something wrong and it's not our lack of effort!!!

                    The two Koch bros took six point seven billion dollars between 2009 and 2011.  The Walton's even more.
                    In one day they took more than ninety-nine percent will earn in a lifetime.  That's how we could pay a measly fifteen dollars an hour and not raise our taxes.

                    We've been deluded into thinking it's our fault.
                    Pete Peterson spent four hundred eighty million dollars in four years to convince us it's our fault.  And the Koch's spent even more.

              •  Funny... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                erratic, janetsal, blue in NC

                "And then, of course, we have to figure out how to pay for that kind of thing, and who pays."

                Ninety-three percent of all wage/productivity has gone to less than one percent of the population.

                How's that for a source of money.  All it would take is to identify the sociopaths who are stealing our efforts and steal it back.

                Fifteen dollars an hour would be a start and give an awful lot of people hope.  But then again, who would want to see the Koch's, de Vos', Simmons, Petersons', Walton's have to relinquish some of their ill gotten gains.

                The thought that it's only minorities is a sincere misunderstandiing and plays right into the sociopaths efforts to divide us by race, age, sex, geography etc. If we were ever to understand the billions they've spent to keep us from seeing their objective they would have to hire armies to keep us from them.

                Convince the bigots who vote against their own interests and the billionaires  (maybe four hundred families) would have to take up arms against the sane of America.  Or, we could continue to protect the billionaires so the bigots feel satisfied they are hating those who they, as somewhat deranged themselves, feel are beneath even them.

                When the Koch's and Waltons and Peterson's and de Vos' and Simmons and Scaife' etc make billions paying less than living wages and spend billions to convince bigots it's only the way things are... that proves their money is well spent.

    •  Lots Of New Trolls With Zero Diaries, Real Whiners (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, RUNDOWN

      Very passive aggressive, clearly these guys are getting coached somewhere.  Nice to know we are such a threat that they get actual training.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 07:12:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The door swings both ways. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I tend take a middle position on this issue, so I take heat from both sides.  I can remember walking into an RKBA diary and not being treated too well.  I'm not defending invective directed at RKBAers, but you do reap what you sow.

  •  Bullet Regulation Is A Huge Loser Of An Issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    there will always be some people that refuse to acknowledge they aren't helping but still banging the same drum.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 07:17:56 AM PST

  •  Amen. (9+ / 0-)

    You wrote the diary I should have, instead of my regretable comment a few days ago.

    While I can understand others justifiable outrage, the constant vilifying of all gun owners will not serve any purpose other than destroying natural constituencies we enjoy as Democrats.

    If any other group(use any group as an example, eg., blacks, gays, women) was refered to as a cabal, deserving to be in an asylum, fetishists, having a small dick, replacing their manhood with guns, crazed, psycotic, being all a bunch of killers, all wanting to murder kids...(all of which I have read here)and on & on--it would not stand here. Calling my 65 y/o neighbor lady Carol--a widow who lives alone in the sticks a kook for owning a handgun--that's ok here on Dkos. I think people think I'm kidding when I say all my liberal friends own guns here. I'm not. Insulting an enitre swath of people--people who help the cause by voting for things we want like gay marriage--doesn't get us votes when we need them. How am I supposed to convince independants in a Congressional district that put a teabagger into office to vote our way when all they hear coming from our side is they're insane, should be marginalized, and are a stain on society?

    We need to band together for realistic, reasonable further restrictions on weapons in America. We need to be that proverbial 'Big Tent', not drive voters away by always belittling, insulting, and saying we don't care how they feel.

    I live in Colorado, where I suppose a vote on gay marriage(using my earlier example) will be coming up sometime soon. Colorado has a huge amount of registered Indepentdants. There are many of them who are gun owners. When you constantly insult & impune'll lose their vote on things that matter a great deal.

    Please help sensible people further the cause of limiting magazine size, background checks, ridding us of "assault weapons"(however you define them) and the other things Obama is working on. By constantly refering to them(me) as a nut deserving jail, an asylum, or death won't be helping anything besides your bile content.

    Adam B. and Noddy have it right:

    "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

    by Thinking Fella on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:42:16 AM PST

  •  The short Version (0+ / 0-)

    Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate!

    (If you must ask, Murphy was an optimist)

  •  Shouldn't refrain from "Parrot" hunting. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't see sensible and responsible gun owners being marginalized, just the gun (business) lobby "echo chamber" - and as it should be.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:21:40 PM PST

  •  I strongly agree, erratic! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, NoMoreLies

    Comments in Huffington Post articles about gun violence, gun control, the Second Amendment, etc. often see an outpouring of incoherent and insane commentary from gun extremists.  It's hard to not respond with the same vitriol.  But if I do, I try very hard to be more measured and sane with my comment or response.  BUT, if I read a sane comment from a sane, responsible gun community proponent, I make it a point to recognize it and compliment it and the person behind it!

    Building those bridges with the sane and responsible within the American gun community is important if we are ever going to prove that we are not fascists or commies coming to confiscate ALL firearms from ALL Americans.

    I believe that Nancy Lanza, the mother of the Sandy Hook shooter, was an irresponsible gun owner who enjoyed the bravado of gun ownership too much to reasonably foresee the possibility of tragedy within her household.   Responsible gun owners, while not omniscient, realize the power and danger of what they possess and use and take steps to prevent tragedy.  The NRA would reap a lot of respect from the American public if it would focus on responsible gun ownership and the very real risks that firearms present instead of their current extremist gun rights ideology.  (I know!  Woulda, shoulda, coulda, ....)

  •  Well done, and thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are common grounds to be found and I'd like to be one of the folks on the winning team that finds them together.

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