The huge gun rights rally is happening in Virginia today. Make it over there if you're within driving distance, and stay engaged via the Facebook page and the /r/VAguns subreddit.
Throughout the past couple months of Virginia debate, the question of violence keeps bubbling up in the media. What would cause it? From whom? Why?
And that highlights an interesting subtlety in the game theory of gun rights. Historically in the US, the only times gun control pushes have gotten traction is immediately after high-profile violent crimes. That's it. The immediate reaction to certain crimes has created enough momentum in a handful of states or handful of situations that then laws emerge within a few months or years. But as soon as people resume thinking rationally — i.e. as soon as emotions subside — the door for gun control closes.
That's a key lesson, and tells us a lot about the memetics of this stuff. As a meme (in the Selfish Gene sense), gun control requires reactionary, emotionally-driven thinking in order to succeed. That's empirically how things go.
And times of uncertainty or violence or stress promote that. The mainstream media has a symbiotic relationship with those times (analyzed well by BJ Campbell in "Anatomy of a Culture War Weapon"), and so has an emergent tendency to signal-boost such events. Which, again in a Selfish Gene sense, is a boon for restrictionist memetics.
Here's the good news: gun rights have the fortunate to be the meme that replicates via calm. Via rational thinking and reflection. Via knowledge and familiarity. The less reactionary your thinking is, the more you know about guns, the more familiar you are with the upstanding, normal, everyday people who own the 423MM guns in the US, the more likely you are to support gun rights. That's empirical reality. And it's our cosmic good fortune that we get to be the people whose incentive is to spread truth and calmness.
So get out there, spread truth, spread calm, and do it all tenaciously and effectively. That spreads gun rights.
This week's links
Will Smith, gun safety pro
Richmond: The Mother of All Buffalo Jumps
We like to consider any thoughtful opinion. So here's a contrarian but thoughtful, strategic take on the rallies in Virginia.
Collateral Damage, Race, and the Virginia Gun Control Bill
Re-upping this BJ Campbell analysis we put up last month about the empirical effects of laws like the ones being proposed in Virginia.
Ed Calderon talking about guns in Mexico on Joe Rogan
There's only one gun store in the country. But the reality is … more complicated.
Colorado's red flag law used to target police officer who fatally shot a suicidal 19-year-old
The mother of the teenager red-flagged the officer, but the sheriff's office refused to serve the order. That may or may not have been the correct decision, we're not familiar enough with the details of the shooting. But it highlights a danger of these laws, and the importance of due process in general: if the process for deciding whether your property is or isn't confiscated is "the sheriff decided for/against it", the dangers of that are pretty obvious.
Officer who lied on a no-knock warrant — and whose colleagues killed the married couple who picked up a gun in the ensuing raid — has been charged with felony murder
Armed self-defense in these cases is an interesting area of case law, and it's very unusual to see criminal charges against the police in such situations.
How Far Can Abused Women Go to Protect Themselves
The New Yorker commendably writing on the merits of self-defense, and the tribulations that ensue when the law doesn't fully respect that right.