This Tweet has been circulating on a regular basis:
if JJ Abrams just said “no Star Wars until we have competent gun control”, america’s nerds would un-fuck this country by comic-con.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) June 10, 2014
It works because it’s way too topical.
This Onion article has been shared on Facebook on a regular basis.
It works because it’s also way too topical. And like the Star Wars/Abrams/gun control Tweet, it takes the impetus off the reader. We feel helpless about seemingly inevitable tragedy so we might as well make a joke.
On Saturday, for the first time since 1920, The New York Times ran an editorial on its front page. “End the Gun Epidemic in America” called for tougher laws on gun and included lines such as, “It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.” It has already been dismissed by GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie.
The Tweet, Onion article and Times op-ed all highlight a horrible problem that leaves most people feeling helpless. If you’re our average reader, you are most likely young, between 18 and 45, well educated and tend to have liberal beliefs. You also most likely do not own guns and feel helpless. But you may know someone, may be related to someone, that does own guns and believes in their right to own guns. Here’s how you can help with gun control.
If you plan on visiting your family for the holidays and they own guns, tell them you won’t visit unless the guns go away.
The holidays are a time of unwelcome debate. Someone you feel like you have to see will say something you oppose and you will tell them why they are wrong and you are right and things will end poorly. This is nearly inevitable. And opinions rarely, if ever, change. But if you let your loved ones know that they won’t see you if a gun is in the building, they may remove that gun. If you’re serious about your simple demand, your loved ones will get rid of their guns. If they don’t, don’t see them this December. Stick to your ideals and allow them to choose between sticking to their guns or considering an alternative.
People that own guns are not bad people. People that do not own guns are not bad people. It is possible to have a parent that you love and admire also own a firearm. It is possible to change that person’s mind.
As a younger person, your leverage is you. Your presence is desired more than your gift giving abilities. You are not expected to provide the house for everyone to congregate, the toys for the children or the money to help bring relatives together. The only thing your parents want from you is you. If you take a reasonable, rationale stand on something like not having a gun in the house, you’ll be able to at least inspire a thought that maybe your parents don’t need a gun in the house.
I have friends that are against stricter gun control laws. I would like to make all guns illegal. I am glad I have people with opposing viewpoints in my life. It’s unlikely that either of us will ever be able to change each other’s views on The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, but neither of us have the power of family guilt.
As of this writing, there are 5,290 comments on The New York Times front page piece about guns. How many people do you think changed their opinion? Maybe you can change your parents opinion. You’re more influential than the newspaper of record.