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I have to admit I was never a very prolific Twitter user. I would log in periodically to post a story or two, and I have it linked to my personal blog, so it automatically posts blog entries. I don't like the abbreviated lingo, and I'm not thrilled with the 140 character limit that forces people to adopt that barely literate lingo.
But when I took on social media duties for JPFO, my Twitter usage increased. We quickly gained nearly 1,800 followers, and I began to interact with them, as well as the myriad of misinformed gun grabbers out there! The folks I encounter range from passionate JPFO members, who already support our mission, to individuals who don't realize JPFO is still very much alive and fighting for our rights, to emotionalist gun grabbers, whose hysterical seizures at the mere mention of a gun lead to unhinged diatribes.
Twitter provides a way for those interested in a particular subject to post and comment on it. It's called a hashtag (#). For instance, those interested in Second Amendment news and discussion, include #2A in their Tweet. Their comment or link immediately gets posted in that category for others interested in the Second Amendment to peruse and comment. Those who want to discuss gun control, generally stick to #gunsense or #everytown.
If you aren't familiar with what gun grabbers call "gunsense," it's a shortened version for the Bloombergian Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America group (or as I like to call them, Moms Demand Attention for their Anti-Gun Histrionics). Except their version of "gun sense" really involves banning guns, and don't believe it when they tell you otherwise.
Everytown is another Bloomberg beastie that claims to demand "gun safety." But that buzzphrase does not mean what you think it means. Their idea of "gun safety" is keeping guns out of the wrong hands - your hands. And they work hard to achieve that goal by spreading misinformation.
So anyone interested in lies, half-truths and hysterical propaganda about guns and the Second Amendment, visits #gunsense and #everytown on Twitter. However, gun grabbers aren't the only ones posting there. This is where the opportunity to engage with them is most ripe. Example:
When someone posts a meme such as this, the obvious question is: where did it come from? Did a Second Amendment advocate say this? Did a conservative politician?
The person who posted this meme did not respond to the question, so I proceeded to explain to MrsLibertas that the quote came from the twisted minds of gun grabbers, who not only have no comprehension of basic economics, but also zero understanding of the views of Second Amendment advocates.
The non-response is standard for these people. If you ask them a question about what they posted, they a) post a meme accusing you of being stupid and block you from further communication with them...
...b) ignore you and block you from further communication with them, c) accuse you of... wait for it... RACISM and BIGOTRY and block you from further communication with them...
... or d) Curse at you and block you from further communication with them.
The anti-gun presence on social media is vast. This is how they communicate, share what passes for ideas in that world, and spur one another to action. Recently, Moms Demand Action posted a request at the #gunsense list, prompting followers to demand that candidates answer questions to an incredibly biased, skewed and ignorant anti-gun survey. The response was vast and in lockstep. Thousands of gun control cultists immediately Tweeted their compliance.
This is part of the reason why I encouraged JPFO to immediately restore its presence on both Facebook and Twitter. The potential to reach thousands of supporters is magnificent, and every once in a while, you can even broaden the mind of a socialist.
A few days ago, I engaged with a young lady whose Twitter handle is @OpheliaMcGraw. I initially decided to talk to her, because of her absurd claim that a book to teach young people about gun safety is a "primer for the children of gun nuts who'll be lucky to see their tenth birthday." At first, my response was a bit snide, I'll admit.
But after a while, I began to pummel her with facts. I asked her what it is about our gun laws that she finds insufficient. She replied that she would like to see background checks on private sales, gun purchase limits to one per month, tougher penalties for straw purchasers, mandatory smart gun technology, fund gun violence research, and allow gun companies to be sued for negligence.
That's quite the Christmas list, isn't it?
I informed her that mandating background checks for private sales will eliminate them altogether, and that mandating smart gun technology will make tools of self-defense cost-prohibitive for those who need them most – the POOR! I poured other facts into her feed until she gave in and admitted she had no idea what she was talking about.
I've engaged with her several times after this, and have found her to be at least willing to read and understand. She admitted she was, in fact, a socialist, so it did not bother her that Mother Jones, a publication she claims publishes objective facts, was named for... well... a socialist. (She missed the irony of accusing Fox News of bias, while stubbornly clinging to the "Mother Jones is factual" meme.)
There are others... so many others! The world of social media is rife with tall tales, hysterical half-truths, urban legends, and discredited claims. Arthur Kellerman's long-debunked alleged "study" on gun ownership that famously claimed a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to be used in shooting a fellow occupant or family member than a criminal keeps rearing its ugly, creepy head. The gun grabbers even have the temerity to use one of Oleg Volk's photographs to peddle those lies.
When I hoisted the BS flag and quoted an article by *GASP!* Fox News to refute that particular meme, I received an admonition not to use Fox News as a source (along with another link pointing to a liberal BLOG) and a photo meme impugning my intelligence.
When I replied with an article from Forbes, specifically quoting Kellerman's admission about his incomplete and inadequate study, I was met with silence.
But that's OK, because for every gun grabber who runs away from debate, I'm convinced there have to be thousands who are at least persuaded to think (and hopefully rethink) a little. It's that silent group I'm trying to reach. And if I change a mind or two, my adventures in Twitterland will have been worth it.
Nicki Kenyon has been an avid gun rights advocate since she returned to the United States from an overseas Army tour in Germany. She began writing about Second Amendment issues in 2001 when KeepAndBearArms.com published her first essay, "The Moment.". She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies from American Military University. Her area of expertise in those fields is European and Eurasian affairs. When not writing about gun rights or hanging out with her husband and son, she practices dry-firing her M1911 at the zombies of "The Walking Dead." Nicki Kenyon's Archive Page.