Memes Don’t Matter

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Words of wisdom from a skilled firearms instructor.

I’m overwhelmed by all my gun-owning friends posting statistics, facts, and memes to convince the gun grabbers that they are wrong.

Here’s something to consider. Emotional arguments are rarely successfully countered by facts and statistics. The facts are very clear in this case. Do you think that re-stating them endlessly on Facebook is likely to change someone’s mind? I don’t.

Can you think of a single occasion where you have had a major change of opinion after reading a Facebook post or meme? I can’t.

You aren’t going to change a stranger’s worldview by posting more on the internet. Instead, focus your efforts on making positive changes through personal contact with the people who are close to you and who already respect you as a person. Don’t waste your time arguing with strangers on social media.

Instead of posting on Facebook, I taught 27 students how to be safer shooters, more formidable fighters, and better tacticians this weekend. Each of those students will undoubtedly use some of the skills I shared to make their own tribes more robust and resilient.

In the long term, those small, personal changes are the fuel for positive societal evolution. CNN soundbites and Facebook memes are merely annoying background noise.

Do work that matters.

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Forbes Journalist Investigates Firearm Industry

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Forbes contributor Elizabeth MacBride spent six months specializing in the firearms industry, investigating and then summing up what she learned.

Takeaway: The most important influencing factor towards positive coverage of shooters, gun owners, and firearms is a consistent, open dialogue that showcases safe and skillful use, humanizes firearm users, and is inviting to everyone. Much more than political rhetoric, turning positive usage into a story and then consistently telling people about it is the best path forward.

Often, the problem is that negligent and criminal misuse is more sensational and easier to report. This is not the media’s fault as it falls inline with human nature. Skilled firearm users are rare compared to casual gun owners and not vocal enough to maintain a consistent voice.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethmacbride/2018/06/30/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-gun-and-8-other-lessons-from-the-gun-business-beat/

I started covering the business of guns in part because the decline of high-quality print journalism in the past two decades means nuance is being lost. I believe nuance is crucial to sustain a pluralistic society, here and abroad. That’s part of the reason I covered the Middle East for three years; we all suffer from many Americans’ inability to see that region without prejudice.

And business, which tends to be a reasonably neutral and thankfully numbers-based lens through which to write, is a good platform for exploring topics on which there are many points of view.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned in my first six months.

1. Most of the gun community is open to fair-minded coverage.

2. The world of gun businesses is far more nuanced than I imagined, and in different ways that I imagined.

3. Marketing, politics and business are almost inseparable.

4. There are no good numbers.

5. It’s a business with a declining customer base.

6. Many more people like guns than I realized.

7. The West is different. Gun owners and gun businesses out West see guns as tools, one element of a practical, inherently nuanced way of existing in the world.

8. Violence marketing is more powerful than we realize.

9. There is no such thing as a gun. The technology has evolved faster than the language, so much so that we have reverted to broader words

Competitive Shooting Support

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May 2015
SIG SAUER® Introduces Team SIG, Sets Standard for Support of Competitive Shooting
https://www.ammoland.com/2015/05/sig-sauer-introduces-team-sig-sets-new-standard-for-support-of-competitive-shooting/

October 2016
Team SIG is Disbanded
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/10/06/team-sig-sauer-disbanded/

Competition Shooting Cost

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“I’d love to try competitive shooting, but I don’t have the money it takes”

Is this actually a valid reason to avoid competition? It might be for a person that doesn’t already own a firearm and isn’t already going shooting on a semi-regular basis. Otherwise, probably not.

For a person that already possesses a firearm, dry practice is free. The cost to attend a local match will be about the same as plinking the same number of rounds.

While attending an event at a range new to me, the Match Director gave me a tour of their facility. Mid conversation we heard someone in a different bay rip off an extended blast while bump firing probably two dozen rounds.

“Oh, that’s just one of the locals that never attends our matches because he says he can’t afford to shoot competition,” the MD said with a laugh.

At a different event, Bill Wilson informed our group that his company’s “Texas Barbeque Special” outsells their competition-specific models even though the BBQ gun is more expensive.

If a gun owner wants to become more skillful and test skills in a competitive environment, they’ll likely be able to find a way.

New Shooting Organizations

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So you don’t like any current organized shooting format? Stop complaining and take this excellent advice:

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Wisdom from Benjamin Franklin

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“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

“A good example is the best sermon.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Running and Shooting Demographics

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Running USA reported on road race participation numbers.
2016 State of the Sport – U.S. Road Race Trends
The second running boom appears to be backing off as runners retreat from non-traditional races.
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