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NRA Video: They’re Hurting Us, You’re Hurting Me

The scary NRA video is about how “they”re” hurting “us” and taking away what’s “ours”.  Scary because the teachers, reporters, young people are being made not part of a “we” with the video’s audience.  And they are — fellow citizens, members of the same family, people trying to do a job, trying to understand the world and share their understanding of it, trying to help us all get by.  How did they become a “they” different from the NRA’s “we”?

John Bowlby founder of attachment theory and Mary Ainworth figured out that the two things we worry about as infants, and must worry about if we are to survive, are being violated and being abandoned.  Is someone going to burst through our boundaries and hurt us?  Or is someone going to leave us alone in a defenseless state, so we die of neglect?

The demons that haunt our childhood are human beings who threaten to abuse/rape/or otherwise violate us or abandon us to die.  They seem like demons because they awaken primal fear.  Of course they are not demons they are actually just other human beings.

The basic pathology or simplest version of it therefore is “I” vs. “You” where you are a demon who will either in fiery fashion burn me up, or in icey fashion do your own thing while I perish.  We get beyond “I” vs. “You” thinking when we have enough security to see that the potential abuser or neglecter is a human being too who has her own fears of violation and abandonment.

I propose we understand the pathology of “us” vs. “them” that is on display in the NRA video on the model of “I” vs. “You” thinking but with a few more wrinkles.  We fear that the other group — the plural group of “them” — will either laughingly go on their way while we suffer, or will push through the boundaries of our group, killing, enslaving and raping us.  That is such a primal fear that it prompts irrational responses, such as we see in the video.

The solution is first of all the same solution to “I” vs. “You” — to see that that nasty arrogant group of liberals, college professors, and reporters is vulnerable too.  Every reporter and college professor is afraid of getting hurt and abandoned.  Just like us, the NRA.

The additional wrinkle is to see that within the group people are being manipulated by “I” vs. “You” thinking.  The leaders have different agendas than the followers, and pursue them by stoking the same primal fears of abandonment and violation.

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4 thoughts on “NRA Video: They’re Hurting Us, You’re Hurting Me

  1. Yeah, but how to deliver such a message in a way that it will actually be those people seeing it and relating to it, rather than just liberals seeing it (ie, the choir)?

  2. Fortunately, almost nobody, especially the old shooting culture, gives a damn what the NRA says officially, we don’t follow them, and many of us are upset at the focal shift away from the shooting sports and into gun control only, and are wary about the organization becoming more political. The NRA’s problem of being lead by the industry is that there are top people using the magazines it produces to basically advertise for manufacturer’s merchandise, and the rise of videos and articles intended to influence gun culture, especially the new kids, are minor, and it should be understood that gun owners support the NRA for its primary purpose (organizing and promoting the shooting sports and marksmanship) and its secondary modern goal of fighting gun control, but they do not FOLLOW the organization, and the NRA does not lead.

    From rigged reviews in The Rifleman” instead of old scientific work from the technical staff, to the rise of professional shooting sports shooters promoting products, to the kind of media being presented that started your article, the influence of the corporates is highly evident and not well liked in the NRA. They try desperately to create stars and spokesmen for the industry and the sport, for political influence, but mostly to create figureheads that the industry can use to influence the consumer in various directions that the industry wants to do. This is not something specific to the NRA, as many industries have fallen under the spell of the advertisers who have convinced industries that consumers don’t buy products because the consumer wants them, they only buy them because the advertisers fooled them into buying them. Its obvious the heads of the industry are under the same influence, and are trying to organize consumers by organizing media and creating heads and celebrities in the culture, and dominating every aspect to advertise, influence, and sell, and finally break the market’s norm of the consumer telling the industry what to produce.

    When gun owners see Loesch, or successful shooters, or new internet gun celebrities, they might agree with them when they are speaking broadly, but when they do things like this they usually shake their heads, say “Well, I’ll be”, get angry at the NRA for a second, realize its an imperfect organization, take a puff off their pipe, and go back to shoot some pheasants in the tall grass and quickly forget or ignore the whole ordeal. These new messages and tactics, which seem to come from Madison Avenue or from some Los Angelos firm, are confusing sometimes inflammatory (against the organization, not the opposition(, and are simply lost and forgotten. These attempts will probably end up backfiring in the long run, being of more interest to committed anti gunners than to their intended target audience.

    Winchester tried to market the SSWM line of super short magnums, touting to the public the huge supposed advantages of slightly less weight and length with the shorter action the cartridge allowed, like they did with their .264 Magnum decades earlier, and Glock tried to market the 45 GAP round to replace the century old 45 ACP cartridge, touting the same exact thing; the shooting public responded by not buying the guns or cartridges and ignoring them till they became obsolete. The manufacturers tried to solve problems that didn’t exist, and sell a quality the market never demanded, and the consumer told the producer what the deal was. This is a good metaphor for the current media you are concerned about; the firearm owning community will be displeased at worst, uncaring at best, will bitch to the NRA about it, maybe, or just go back to the reloading bench because what does it matter anyway.

    The current uptick in “self defense” firearms and self defense motivated purchases is not from a panic of fear from bandits and cut throats, but rather from a multitude of reasons, including the rush to buy guns before gun bans and restrictions take place, the demographic change of rural to urban with urban firearm owners seeing self protection as the most utilitarian use of their firearm over the rural folks who hunt and do more long range shooting, as well as the old gun culture buying what they didn’t already have. Since firearms don’t go bad from age, only destruction and neglect, and since cartridges and many hunting gun designs have not changed in over 100 years, the old gun culture has an ample amount of bolt action, lever action, and pump action shotguns and rifles and target pistols and revolvers from not only their own purchases, but also through family inheritance, event the old gun culture is buying up assault rifles and modern auto loading combat handguns because they are the guns they don’t already own, and the logical place toe expand their collections.

    Meaning the whole fear narrative, the gun buying “panic”, the image of the vulnerable person buying guns for security, people looking for firearm authorities to tell them what to buy and who to politically fight, might just be a misconception, or wishful thinking by people who want to use that narrative to their own gains. I think Loesch was trying to raise and motivate an army of straw men that many pro gunners think makes up their side, and I think this whole thing is a very well thought out but completely off the target powerful swing and a miss.

    I agree with your assessment of the content of the message, but also went on too long yet again, but if to shed some light on clown show I think the video and its backers are.

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