In the five-plus years I’ve been writing here, there are a couple of subjects that cause a lot of people to leave a lot of comments, and it always gets emotional. Guns, gun laws, and school shootings, are subjects that bring people to their keyboards and there’s been hurt feelings, some deleted posts, and some people demanding that I be fired. Jon has held the line, not choosing sides, mind you, but choosing instead to choose to let me, and you, talk about the subject, as long as it didn’t get too weird or too personal. Or both.
In case you missed it, on Valentine’s Day, 2018, a young man walked into a High School in Parkland Florida and started shooting with an AR-15. After murdering seventeen people he very calmly walked away and was arrested nearby.
Almost immediately, Troll Programs, whose sources come from outside the United States, began swarming all over Social Media posting Anti-gun posts and pro-Second Amendment essays, with material designed to cause people to violently disagree with one another. The fire was set, and it rages still.
Once upon a time, back in the late 1990’s, I was a troll. I set fires on the internet and then watched them burn. Perfectly good chat rooms were destroyed and hard feelings lasted into the realm of reality long after I had moved on to the next target.
This is how it works. Take this sentence: “The Republicans have sold their souls to the NRA and they’ll bathe in the blood of children before they allow any meaningful gun control laws to be passed.”
It presents not the first bit of factual information at all. It’s a sweeping, specious, spurious, and inflammatory generalization that is designed to do one thing, and one thing only; cause a reaction.
Or maybe this one, “Obama and the liberals are going to use the deaths of those kids as an excuse to take away our rights to bear arms!”
Again, there isn’t one piece of factual information in that sentence. It’s as wayward as the previous was, and is, and its design is perfectly mirrored by the other.
I wrote both those sentences. I designed them both. Those two sentences have nothing at all to do with the discussion on gun control. They were built to get a very specific reaction out of a very specific group of people and get this, it will work nearly every time, everywhere, and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it.
Right now, even as you read this, what I have told you did happen is still happening. The computer programs out there churning out these types of sentences have one goal and one goal only; to polarize the American electorate. It’s working beautifully. And it is going to kill this country if we keep allowing it to happen. It’s already killing our children.
Okay, take a breath. No, really, take a deep breath right now, and then take some time to try to figure out which side of this issue I’m trying to promote. If you came into this thinking one side or the other, fine, if you know me that’s good. But suppose you didn’t know anything at all about me. How did I make you feel when you were reading this? Did you feel like I was leaning to one side or the other? It’s possible to piss everyone off, and that’s when it’s a damn good sentence.
That’s what trolls do. That is what they are doing right now.
Remember this: I’ve already explained that neither of the sentences that you’ve read on the subject of gun control has any facts in them. Are you emotionally investing in something here? Are you gearing up for a fight? Have you already decided that you will agree or disagree with one sentence or the other, even after you’ve been alerted that I presented you with nothing of substance to form an opinion on?
There is nothing there. Stop swinging at it.
It is time, people… no, the time is way past due, for there to be a calm, logical, and constructive debate on the issue of gun control and ownership rights, without it turning into a screaming match. We have to come to an agreement that we can all live with and make laws that protect everyone. That’s how America is supposed to work. There are countries out there who do not want America to work. They are the ones winning this debate.
Stop wasting your time in endless and mindless debate with people online who may only exist inside of a computer program. Stop rising to the bait, and sit down across a table from someone with whom you disagree and talk about this.
This isn’t about gun control. This is about mind control. This is about emotional manipulation as a form of espionage that I saw in action decades ago.
Don’t feed the Trolls. Don’t condemn those with whom you disagree. Stop the noise and start presenting your thoughts in a manner that actually means something.
Because if we don’t, if both sides cannot stop what they’ve always done, then children will keep being murdered and that means we have failed them, again, and again, and again. It doesn’t matter who you blame because it keeps not getting fixed. How many more? How long before we, the adults, step in and do something?
We’re failing the kids. Start right there, with that thought, sit down, and talk to someone who you cannot agree with, and find a way to stop failing.