I chiefly blame the mainstream media for trying to divide Americans from their Second Amendment freedom.
This is part exasperation, as I am an editor, journalist and author who started in a small newspaper in Wyoming, and then got the big magazine job in New York City, before later coming to the NRA because this is a place that not only lets us tell the truth, but insists on it. Given how I’ve spent my career, I’m particularly bothered by what activists with bylines have done to this vocation and with what they’re trying to do to this civil right.
To see what I mean, imagine a well-dressed lawyer with a carefully crafted courtroom demeanor stepping up to a podium at a town-hall meeting filled with a cross-section of an American community. Now, in your mind, hear this attorney and his easy voice tailored to sway juries, lying—mostly by omitting key parts of the truth—about a topic half the audience knows a lot about, but that the other half knows practically nothing.
Now picture what might happen to the people in this audience after such a speech, perhaps during car rides home. Wouldn’t there be disagreements between people on both sides? Might those who know the speaker is a liar try to explain why? Meanwhile, might the people who didn’t know he was lying insist that he seemed compassionate and good to them? Might some of the people who really don’t know much about the topic come to the conclusion that those who do are being too extreme, too hardheaded? Might the less-knowledgeable people then come to the conclusion that everyone should soften and compromise, even if this means giving up a constitutional right a little at a time?
This is what the mainstream media now so often does on the issues related to guns.
Instead of seeking the truth, they push a political ideology with false compassion (false because, if they were really compassionate, they’d question everything, even their own ignorance and biases, in their pursuit of answers).
The citizens who know the mainstream media is lying, resist; whereas some percentage of the people who don’t know they’re being lied to come to the conclusion that gun owners should compromise away this freedom.
It shouldn’t be this way. Journalists are supposed to report the facts. They are supposed to openly source their data and to actually question everyone and everything—including their own biases. In this pursuit of the truth, the media should be bringing us together with fact-based articles that then grow into a shared understanding. In a democracy, honest reporting is a check on those in power. It also helps voters understand and then vote for candidates who stand for the best policies.
But, too often, that isn’t what’s happening today.
What can be done about this is an ongoing conversation we’ll keep having in these pages. But you are doing one thing that helps: You have chosen to be a member of the NRA. This is important, as NRA members are key influencers on topics related to guns and this civil liberty. There are millions of us. There should be millions more. We’ve won a lot of cultural battles because we’ve stuck together behind the clear understanding of this freedom.