The Trace is running a hit piece soon about a bunch of big 2A social media influencers. Here's a screenshot from an email they sent to a company, soliciting comment.

It's a great example of how this flavor of reputational blackmail works.

🧵 Anatomy of a hit piece 👇
The first thing to notice is the subtle-but-sweeping category creep. In two sentences, the suspect category expands from insurrectionists to conspiracy theorists to people talking about elections and politics and finally all the way to people who warn of gun confiscation.
Textbook motte-and-bailey: throw up a half-court shot (people warning of gun confiscation are bad) at the same time that you toss in a lay-up (insurrectionists are bad). When people call out the first, you fall back to the second. Smart sleight of hand.…
What that does is that it confuses readers who don't know much about the topic. So they lock into a particular negative emotion at the beginning of the passage, when the category is small, and then they dutifully retain that emotion as the category steadily expands.
Motte-and-bailey successfully employed, the email has now established a massive group (covering tens of millions of people) as untouchable for any company that cares about its reputation.

Then it innocuously asks, "So, do you care about your reputation?"
The company that got this email is in the gun industry, and knows enough to see the game that's being played.

But mass-market companies have less time for this stuff, and both they and their customers don't know enough to see the game that's being played. So they fold, in fear.
One way to fix that is to post these sorts of things, to analyze the game *while it's being played*. Once it's been done, that's too late. But if you shout out how a magic trick is done *while the magician is in the middle of doing the trick*, then yep, the illusion pops 👍
Hidden camera video of them trying to pull this off now that the internet exists:

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More from @opensrcdefense

31 Dec 20
Look at our top tweets from each quarter of 2020 and you see a microcosm of how gun rights themselves evolved this year.

Our top Q1 tweet was on Jan 13. The year had *a lot* of surprises in store, and this got swept away. But it'll be back.
For Q2, our piece on the influx of new gun owners topped the charts. Look at everybody who owns a gun in the US today, and almost 10% of them bought their first gun this year. An epochal shift.
By Q3, the second-order effects of that influx were becoming clear to everybody — the new gun owners realized that gun control laws target *them*. Our top tweet from Q3: orgs discouraging their supporters from learning too much about how those laws work.
Read 4 tweets
20 Dec 20
A good example of an effective meme we see pretty frequently. The reason it's effective is simple: it's true — sort of. By picking a narrow slice of the story, it misleads while seeming (to a lay audience) to inform. Short thread on "the middlebrow factoid".
"Weapon of choice" is self-evidently wrong (there aren't nearly that many homemade guns in the country), but sure, criminals do use homemade guns today more than they did 10 or 20 years ago.

Naturally. Homemade guns are way easier to build today. But wait, isn't that bad?
Well, *why* are homemade guns easier to make today? For the same reason that guns in general are better: technology moved forward. It's like saying that reflex optics or pic rails are more popular with criminals today than they were 20 years ago. Yes. They're more popular period.
Read 8 tweets
1 May 20
Some notes on Canada's existing gun bans suddenly snapping much tighter today. Specifically:

1. What actually happened?
2. What determines whether a gun ban comes to pass?
3. What are the implications?…
1. What actually happened?

Canada has 3 gun categories:
- Non-restricted
- Restricted (registration, paperwork++, strict transport rules)
- Prohibited (haram)

By law the gov can edit the lists at will. Today they moved ~1500 guns from the first two categories into "prohibited".
2. What determines whether a gun ban comes to pass?

History is full of examples of a general principle: you cannot survive as an unpopular minority. You have to get popular, become a majority, or both.

That's why we always say that culture-building is the high-order bit.
Read 17 tweets
2 Jan 20
Got this excellent question about our CCW thread from yesterday. A tough but thoughtful question, our favorite kind.

Let's answer it. Thread 👉
Our starting point is (to steal from our home page) this: “We’re all born with the right of self-defense, to control our own destiny. And for that to mean anything — especially for our weakest, poorest, or most disadvantaged — it means having great tools for self-defense.”
That's ultimately a philosophical position, not an epidemiological one, but it doesn't mean statistics go out the window. After all, it's our position *because* we believe (a) it produces the best results for individuals, and (b) respecting people's human rights is socially good.
Read 11 tweets
31 Dec 19
CCW creates an empirical problem for those that made dire predictions: over the past 30 years, it swept the nation. The dire predictions didn’t come true. 2 things did:

- Millions able to carry safely
- No more police pretext (under may-issue) to frisk poor people

Thread 👉
This is a map of state carry laws from 1986 to the present.

1986: 1 state unrestricted, 8 shall-issue, 25 may-issue, 16 no-issue

2019: 16 states unrestricted, 26 shall-issue, 8 may-issue, 0 no-issue
In other words, concealed carry went from being very unusual to achieving almost completely unmitigated ubiquity. Functionally the only places you can’t get a permit are Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey, and a small handful of counties in California, New York, and Massachusetts.
Read 14 tweets
8 Dec 19
This piece is a well-executed example of a smart strategy that gun control groups have been running for a few years. We call it “should dressed up as is”. Let’s break it down.
How it works: write straight news pieces that flatly state your position is popular, irrespective of what the data says. This forces preference falsification among the laity, who are busy and don’t track the data on what’s empirically popular/unpopular.…
If you can get momentum on that for a decade or two, the laity will have hidden their true preferences for long enough that they’ll start to forget they ever had true preferences. Especially powerful as new generations come up only hearing the falsified preferences.
Read 7 tweets

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