This post is somewhat of an oxymoron as you will see since I address a certain group of people who will choose not to be vocal, or have chosen not to even go so far as to read a post like this given their stance on OPSEC (or Operations Security). That being said, I hope those of you out there who are more particular about living covertly have fired up your VPN connections and Tor browsers and will consider what I have to say.
When you read the news you will often see terms like "white supremacists", "right wing gun owners", "trump supporters", and "gun rights activists" used interchangeably to somehow describe the gun owning population of America. Well, I think we can agree that these terms are often abused since of course just because you are a gun rights activist that does not make you a white supremacist for example. There are a number of reasons why this narrative has been drummed up over the years, and yes, there is certainly blame to be cast at certain news outlets or organizations. But apart from that, I think there is an underlying mentality that may be actually helping that narrative continue to grow instead of dwindle, and that is the mentality of extreme secrecy when it comes to the 2nd amendment and firearms.
In the growing anti-gun climate, people have almost been forced to become much more careful about how they talk about their opinions on guns, the 2nd amendment, firearms training, and the prepared civilian's lifestyle in general. At an extreme level, some people have come to the point where they will not even discuss their opinions on guns or the fact that they own them. They simply lock up or hide away their stash of firearms and ammo and pretend they don't own them, thinking this is the safest way to go about owning firearms and avoiding any potential gun confiscation legislation.
While I understand this mentality, i'm concerned that it is damaging the credibility of responsible gun owning Americans. When those on one side of a debated issue are silent, it's impossible for them to show strong or even reasonable support for their stance on the issue. The result is the opposing side becomes stronger and stronger. It's sort of like a seesaw - if you keep adding weight to a leveled out seesaw without adding weight to the opposite side, eventually it will tip towards the side with the most weight.
Now don't get me wrong, what I am not saying is that you should go set up a soap box and start regurgitating your opinions on guns and how many you have. There is a way to live discreetly while still making a positive difference and getting your message out. Here are three guidelines i've come up with that I think will help gun owning American's word get out in a professional, mature manner:
1. Talk and Seek
The art of discussion seems to be something that has been all but lost in today's society, but there are more people than we think out there who want or at least are willing to discuss their differences. Talk with those people who have different opinions than you do on guns, and don't talk with the mentality of changing their mind but seek in your discussions to understand why they believe what they believe. Generally, people aren't stupid, and when you start talking as if to convince them or challenge them to think like you do instead, it will most likely be a shorter discussion and a longer argument.
Social media is extremely powerful and is something that is obviously working to squash opinions of those who disagree generally with the main liberal narratives. That shouldn't stop us from sharing what we believe in a professional, mature manner. Let's not be quietly stamped out of relevance by being silent and bottling up our views, share them!
3. Be Smarter, Be Educated
It's so easy these days to find a meme on Instagram and share it, only to find that nothing about that meme was accurate, or that it was extremely misleading. Be smarter. Do some research before you quote something or share something and subsequently make yourself look like a fool. This applies not only to social media, but also to face to face discussion. I've done this plenty of times, trust me, and i'm working harder at being smarter myself. Also, be educated ahead of time. Read books, read articles written by professionals, and be a constant student. The more we can learn about those we agree with AND those we disagree with, the better we will be able to talk about the issues in an intelligent and beneficial manner.
Learn to live discreetly, while making a difference.