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Thu May 26, 2022, 12:41 PM

The Second Amendment End-Around

I read this post earlier and it's been stuck in my head... https://www.democraticunderground.com/1016323521

The idea is that we should approach gun control the same way that anti-smoking campaigns (mostly) defeated smoking. The key was not laws in Congress, but a massive, extended PR campaign to get people to understand the dangers of smoking and how harmful it was to society.

The NRA and other orgs, along with gun manufacturers, already have a vast PR operation in place -- which includes every single Republican politician, as well as at least one major cable news channel -- intended to persuade their customers that you can't be a real man/American if you're not toting a gun, and that real men/Americans should in fact go out of their way to acquire a vast arsenal of firearms in order to protect themselves from muggers, home invaders, immigrants, liberals, etc. etc. Once they've convinced people of this, they sell them guns.

There is absolutely no organized counter to this on the other side, at least not that I'm aware of. But here's the thing -- even without opposition, the gun orgs NEED this PR operation in place to counterbalance public opinion in their favor. They're already swimming against the tide, and it seems to me that there could be a big opportunity for change by giving them pushback in this space.

Forget trying to force people to turn away from guns. Instead, get them to understand -- really understand -- how damaging guns are to individuals and to society as a whole, and then let them turn away from guns on their own. Make it a moral issue, not a rights issue. Sure you have the right to own a gun -- but why would you want to? Or as suggested in the Banter piece, make owning a gun look really uncool, which could be particularly effective if aimed at young men. A massive, ongoing ad campaign that can run for the long haul.

The beauty of this idea is that it completely sidesteps the 2nd Amendment problem. You don't need to start with new laws, you're not getting into court battles which would be thrown out by the Supreme Court. You're simply using your First Amendment rights to persuade people to change their minds, which is as American as it gets. If done right, it could even avoid alienating people who really actually need guns for whatever reason. (I gotta believe that not all gun owners who live on ranches and farms in rural America want to be associated with the Call Of Duty cosplay loons in suburbia.)

Congress wouldn't be totally sidelined in this effort. If a successful PR campaign could start to turn the tide of public opinion, it would make it easier to elect members of Congress who are opposed to the current gun madness. Then, gradually, laws could change in order to keep up with public sentiment.

Surely there are many talented ad agencies in this country that could come up with a great campaign, and surely there are a lot of private individuals who would be willing to fund it. (And surely, many socially-aware corporations would want to be seen sitting on the right side of history.)

The anti-smoking campaigns of the last couple of decades are a blueprint. It worked with smoking. Could it work with guns?

People can change their minds... https://www.democraticunderground.com/100216726520

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 12:43 PM

1. Probably the most effective anti-smoking technique....

Was increasing the price of cigarettes through taxation.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 12:47 PM

2. Was posting in your other thread when you self-deleted




But what I was gonna say was that two of the biggest film and television "action drama" genres are the "crime shows" ( "cops and robbers" ) and "westerns".

Both glorify guns.

For brief periods over the past 50+ years, the various arts of self-defense without the need for a gun became an "action" genre (e.g., Bruce Lee and his genre) that provided an alternative for being a "good guy" but without need for a "gun", and perhaps this needs to be reintroduced at the same time.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 12:49 PM

3. I think the biggest difference here...

is that the anti-smoking advertising campaign was at government direction and funded by the tobacco companies (either through taxation or legal settlements).

That was made easier by the lack of smoking rights in the constitution.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 12:49 PM

4. Won't work on RWNJ.... The gun is an integral part of their identity.

They don't care if guns kill people. They didn't fucking care if wearing a mask or getting a simple vaccine would have saved innumerable lives. They're members of a death cult. People dying horribly is an acceptable, and sometimes desired, result.

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Response to Nevilledog (Reply #4)

Thu May 26, 2022, 12:59 PM

6. The hardcore would not be the intended target of the campaign

But they could certainly be the subject of the campaign. The point would be to make their culture look ridiculous and persuade the vast majority of the country that it is dangerous and not something that any responsible person would want to emulate.

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Response to EarlG (Reply #6)

Thu May 26, 2022, 01:19 PM

9. It might work on their children.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 12:49 PM

5. It took decades to reduce smoking

I think the higher taxes on cigarettes had more to do with reduced smoking than education.

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Response to Buckeyeblue (Reply #5)

Thu May 26, 2022, 01:06 PM

8. Surely it wasn't one thing or the other, but a combination of things

Higher taxes
High-visibility education campaign
Private corporations banning smoking on their premises
Advice from doctors
Kids pressuring their parents
Etc.

It doesn't really matter whether higher taxes were more effective than education, what matters is deploying as many ideas as possible to solve the crisis of gun violence. There is currently no massive nationwide ad/education campaign against dangerous gun culture, and I'm suggesting that such a campaign could help.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 01:01 PM

7. Some Folks Here

Have suggested that photographs of the dead might have an impact.

The horror witnessed by the First Responders, if made public, would reveal the hideousness that is caused by these guns.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 01:20 PM

10. Tax ammunition.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 01:37 PM

11. I think this is an excellent idea. We also need to have a single, powerful, organized

financial force behind us in this regard. One that would specifically counter the NRA vs. the multiple, splintered groups we have now.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Thu May 26, 2022, 03:46 PM

12. My "Gun fetishes are disgusting" campaign is ongoing and not trademarked.

The guys who lure young men into this deadly life-destroying cult are vile, not much different than those who lure young people into sexual slavery.

The "open carry" fools are no different than the fools who masturbate in public.

There ought to be something similar to a national sex offenders list for gun fuckery, and yeah, cops could land on that list too.

Alas, this is one of those issues where all votes are not equal.

We need to push back against the gun fetishists whenever we encounter them.

When I was a kid I remember people smoking in supermarkets. They'd be in the produce aisle squeezing the avocados as ashes fell off the cigarette they flicked with their lips. They'd drop their cigarette butts on the floor and mash them flat with their shoes and then light up another.

I don't see that any more. Anti-smoking campaigns have pushed smokers out onto the margins of society. Some of the employees in my local supermarket still smoke, but they've been forced to do it out back near the dumpsters, away from the pleasant break room or benches near the entrance of the store.

In California 67% of the population has never smoked and 23% has quit.

When I was a kid most of the adults in my life smoked, including my dad. He quit when I was in grade school. Smoking killed one of my grandmas.

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