|Creative Commons photo by Ed Schipul|
The magician’s secret, the key to a successful trick, is misdirection. Patter, the high-speed, high-energy babble that comes from the trickster’s mouth, is part of that. “Look over here,” the magician says, pointing away from the hand that’s hiding the coin or pulling the card out of the deck. The audience looks away, and the magician shows the illusion. Magic!
The NRA’s video is political and social misdirection. The illusion: that guns are necessary to the American way of life, the survival of the USA as we know it today.
The result: US residents buy huge numbers of firearms, and 55 percent of Americans support the NRA’s proposal to put armed guards in every school.
I’m neither a citizen nor a resident of the US, but it’s a debate that resonates in Canada. I’ll leave aside the criminally negligent absurdity of the NRA’s argument, and focus on the message from a communications perspective.
|NRA head Wayn LaPierre: not crazy. |
(Photo credit: AP/Alex Brandon)
That’s not crazy. That’s irresponsibly disingenuous.
The misdirectionAs President Obama announced his intentions to more strictly enforce existing gun control laws and pass new laws, the NRA brought out this message equating Secret Service protection with armed security guards in elementary schools, and equating 50-round ammunition magazines with Second Amendment rights.
This is how misdirection works:Look over here, folks. We have a problem: obviously mentally disturbed people arming themselves with military grade assault weapons and using them against children and other unarmed innocents.
Now, watch this hand: we give everybody the same kinda weapons! Assault rifle here, assault rifle there, concealed handguns over there. Now watch what happens: two days after the Newtown school shootings, a gunman in San Antonio, Texas opened fire in a movie theatre. He was wounded and incapacitated by an armed, off-duty police officer.
See? More guns means more security!
Just don’t look at the body count.
(According to the Journal of Trauma-Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, “before a child in the United States reaches 15 years of age, he or she is…12 times more likely to die a firearm-related death” compared to children in other industrialized countries.)
I’m not going to tear that argument apart. You can see for yourself that the fact that it was a trained law-enforcement person who shot the crazed gunman refutes the argument that arming everyone protects everyone. Nope, I’m not going to say that. You can figure that out for yourself, because you’re reading this blog, and that means you’re smart.
Problem: if even some categories of firearms are banned, weapons manufacturers’ sales and profits will fall.
Misdirection: The politicians are taking away your freedom! Their servants are armed, their children are protected! You deserve the same thing: stand up for high profits for gun merchants lax or non-existent gun control legislation!
Don’t look at the actual problem: 130 school shootings in the USA that resulted in at least one death of a student or staff member since the Columbine shootings in 1999 (according to FactCheck.org, an apparently right-ish site funded by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. I’ll let you form your own opinion on it: http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/)
What they’re not sayingWhen someone’s trying to convince you about something, you have to ask what’s in it for them.
According to Business Insider magazine, more than half the NRA’s funding comes “in the form of contributions, grants, royalty income, and advertising, much of it originating from gun industry sources.
“Since 2005, the gun industry and its corporate allies have given between $20 million and $52.6 million to it through the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor program. Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun industry include Cabala's, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.”
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/gun-industry-funds-nra-2013-1#ixzz2IAJ2j6bNThe NRA and its corporate
Someone shoots an innocent person.
Response: Don’t let Washington dishonour the Founding Fathers and take away your rights!
What they’re not saying: We love our money much, much more than your kids’ lives.
What do you think?