OSD 65: Diving headfirst through the Overton window

Hey, that’s what the bump helmet is for.

We came across a pretty good discussion on /r/guns about armed protest. It’s one of those things where the exact details matter a lot, and can change the entire calculus around the tactic. We don’t have one-size-fits-all thoughts about it, so let’s take a second to steelman both sides:

The “armed protest is net-beneficial for gun rights” position:

  • The entire point of gun rights is that you can actually exercise them. If you have them in theory but not in practice, then you don’t have them.

  • Cultural normalization matters, and if we’re not out there shifting the Overton window, it’ll be pulled the other way. We want to accustom people to seeing open-carried rifles and tactical gear. In the short-term it might generate negative news stories, but in the long-term it generates normalization. See, for example, how carry laws have gotten much freer in the vast majority of states over the past 20 years.

  • It’s a feature, not a bug, for people to credibly say that they’re willing (if push came to shove) to retain their freedom by force.

The “armed protest is net-detrimental to gun rights” position:

  • Empirically, open carry protests have led to carry bans. California’s Mulford Act targeting the Black Panthers is the most infamous example. (From Wikipedia: “the Black Panther Party’s core practice was its open carry armed citizens’ patrols (‘copwatching’) to monitor the behavior of officers of the Oakland Police Department and challenge police brutality in the city.”)

  • Normalization is great, but we come off looking like psychos in the press. After every big open carry protest, the press runs stories about how the protestors were just backwards racists. We can complain all we want about how that’s not true, how the protests have a ton of diversity, and how the racists are a reviled tiny fraction. But the bottom line is that that’s not the message the mainstream hears.

You can imagine situations where either one of these would be pretty compelling. That’s why we don’t have a one-size-fits-all opinion about it. Results are the test. So whatever you do, demand that from yourself.

“I would have gotten the results I wanted if ‘those people’ had just done what I wanted” doesn’t mean that those people messed up — it means that you messed up. The only way to achieve excellence is to hold yourself to uncompromising standards, with no excuses. Figure out what you need to do to actually deliver results. Then do it.

Hold us to that, we’ll hold you to it, and we’ll all do excellent stuff.


This week’s links

The Guardian ran a feature piece on OSD Office Hours

Came out great, check it out.

Post Malone is the person we all aim to be

If sitting at home shirtless and playing video games while wearing NODs and an Ops-Core SOTR is wrong, then what are we all working for?

An NFA-registered Molotov cocktail

This breaks the D&D lawful–chaotic spectrum.

Ninth Circuit officially suspends Judge Benitez’s suspension of California’s ammo background checks

Ammo background checks will now stay in place until the underlying lawsuit to strike them down fully plays out.

CCWer shot dead while trying to detain hit-and-run suspects

A case of good intentions leading someone into tragically negative-expected-value behavior. As Pat McNamara says, “Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you are armed.” Know your laws, strategies, tactics, and morals, and how they all interact.

Lawsuit alleges that Maine police illegally created a gun registry by retaining background check submissions

One requirement for credibly reasoning about a law is to know the differences between how it works on paper and how it’s put to use in real life.

60 Minutes did a piece on 80% frames

Predictably, unfortunately its main educational value is as a case study of Gell-Mann amnesia. But important to watch. Know how these things are being discussed in mainstream channels, so that you can see what ideas need to be corrected.


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