Beware of the Liberal Wolves Under Sheepskin
Don’t fall for latest leftist tactic promoting gun control. When they come to your area promoting a “Civil Conversation on Gun Violence” make sure you understand their definition of “civil conversation” and the real intentions behind public perception goals of the left.
Don’t fall for leftist tactic promoting gun control.
Understand what a “civil conversation” really is.
We’re past the Ides of March but Brutus could have taken pointers on how to be civil while stabbing Caesar. That’s my impression of a meeting billed as a “civil conversation” in West Michigan recently. Pay attention because this type of program is coming to a community near you soon!
How it happened:
They (liberal group) advertised a meeting, touted to offer divergent views on guns (fair and balanced?) Many tea party and conservative groups were invited, insuring a good turn out. It was to be a panel discussion including prominent, local experts representing both sides of the issue. The topic was titled, “A civil conversation on Gun Violence”. However, using this technique the sneak attack on Caesar could have been on any topic.
Their stated goals:
1. Provide information drawn from a variety of expert local professionals
2. Give attendees a safe, respectful space to exchange views on this matter in small groups with people holding different views.
3. Capture the event in such a way that it helps inform decision makers, politicians and other citizens who did not attend the event.
Sounds innocent; but the devil is in the details. The formula for deception started with sponsorship from the American Bar Assoc with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Local sponsors included the League of Women voters and a progressive community library which provided the venue. To set the stage, they framed the topic by calling it, “A conversation on gun violence.” The media ate it up, giving them pre-publicity, both print and TV coverage of the event itself.
Smelling a “rat”
Speakers representing gun rights were solicited but not told about the format or other panelist’s names. Two speakers backed out after they, “smelled a rat”. A third from a gun club also backed out two days before the event. In desperation mode, organizers secured a last minute commitment from the public relations board member of Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners (MCRGO) to be a panelist. His name wasn’t announced. (Perhaps in fear someone would give him a heads up). He didn’t learn of the format until after he was on stage.
Call the cops?
A free light supper was provided, requiring advance registration and insuring a good turnout. As about 120 people filed in the atmosphere was set by the presence of at least six, uniformed police officers. (Were they expecting trouble from those “nasty gun owners” or was it a subtle message to the media hinting at dangerous gun rights supporters?)
On arrival, everyone was assigned a table number. (each table had about five people). This was supposedly random but organizers made sure at least two people with anti gun viewpoints were seated at each table. 60 to 70% of attendees were strong gun rights advocates, licensed concealed weapon holders, or gun activists. Despite this, organizers managed to control the outcome.
A professor from Cooley Law School gave a stirring introductory speech on civility. He also touched on the second amendment, suggesting it was open to interpretation. Then, panelists introduced themselves. Two of them, (a doctor: Michigan president of the American Pediatric Association and a sociologist, County Mental Health director) didn’t talk about gun control. Instead, their focus was, “child safety”. Another speaker, (a local school superintendent) echoed similar sentiments and didn’t want “more guns in schools”. Really? How many guns are already in school?
The board member of MCRGO stated his views on the 2nd amendment quite succinctly, even correcting the intro speaker. There was a round of applause when he stated the obvious. “We don’t have a gun violence problem. We have a violent people problem.” Another panelist representing a pro gun viewpoint was a former state senator who expressed support of the second amendment.
A county prosecutor completed the panel and was purported to the moderate. He even cited his viewpoint on “shall issue” legislation adopted by Michigan in 2001 was wrong. He admitted “Shall Issue” did not result in OK corral shoot outs in the street which were predicted by him and others. He sheepishly said, “We were wrong”. None-the-less he followed with comments that we need “common sense’ measures to deal with the “problem” of gun violence.
So far; so good. On the surface the panel was somewhat balanced at three to two and one moderate. Now the fun began. The moderator (a veteran journalist) asked panelist questions. This was the real set up. The doctor, mental health director and prosecutor were fed questions that let directly into rehearsed answers while questions to gun rights supporters tended to be spontaneous and somewhat confrontational.
No challenge to miss leading information
Leading questions allowed the doctor and sociologist to cite miss-leading or questionable facts that no other panelist was allowed to respond to. At a rare moment, audience members challenged the speakers, but the moderator quieted them, stating it was not a debate. As panelists answered questions, the TV camera followed every word.
Hold those questions
Then came what some might have thought to be the real meat of the program: audience questions. At this point the TV crew left. Unfortunately, there was limited time. Only four questions were taken and addressed to no one in particular. The president of MRGO offered his views but minimal input came from the doctor, sociologist or prosecutor.
Boom, any opportunity to challenge questionable facts was gone. Now the even more devious part of the program began. At each table, attendees were instructed to discuss what they had heard. At each table were discussions, questions and a mini-debate on some points. No other table had the benefit of hearing opinions, questions or answers from other tables.
Finally each table created a list of recommendations to address “gun violence”. Four or five ideas were noted and members of each table voted for their 1st and 2nd best answer. Ironically, each table had several pro gun recommendations but only one or two recommendations reflecting anti gun viewpoints. Votes for things like “arm school personnel”, reduce gun free zones, NRA type education for children, open carry, etc were splintered, but votes for anti gun suggestions were concentrated.
At the end of the meeting, large sheets with recommendations and votes were displayed on the wall showing concentration of votes for things like banning assault rifles, universal background checks, closing gun show loopholes. The results were lopsided given the number of gun supporters in the room. Bottom line, the organizers’ pre determined goal was met. A compilation of the “fair and balanced” results will be made available online and given to legislators and published in the media.
Presto! manufactured consensus
Despite perhaps being outnumbered two to one by gun rights advocates, organizers were able to show a consensus arrived through “civil conversation”. Adding insult to injury, the local organizers claimed this novel “conversation approach” was a grass roots idea. The media of course, is too dumb or unwilling to do research. Following links on the organizer’s registration page yielded a link to a national organization based in Massachusetts. It also included a 60 page “how to” manual for pulling off a civil ambush of Caesar.
Be prepared (Boy Scout motto)
To learn more, do a Google search with the words, “Civil Conversation” or include “Gun Violence.” I’m sure you’ll see something in your area. My advice to those invited to participate in such a program:
1. Insist on an unbiased moderator.
2. Insist that questions to panelist originate randomly from the audience, not predetermined.
3. Insist the same questions be asked of all panelist
4. Insist on the opportunity to challenge other panelists’ answers
5. Of course, you could agree to participate, then cancel at the last minute but that wouldn’t be “fair”