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@NRA , Please Proceed

February 19, 2013

That’s the new NRA ad.

Yes, it’s ridiculous but let’s break it down, you know just for fun.

They start with their standard schtick, “OMG OTHER PEOPLE HAVE MORE THAN YOU!” This is standard conservative doggerel. I get why they keep using it. It really works on a specific type of person.  It’s a fairly obvious attempt to get the viewer in the mindset of resource guarding by implying that you and your children need to be guarded to the same level ad by the same weapons that the children of the president and the very rich do.

Let’s be clear here; no they don’t. Sorry. I know that fact doesn’t make people feel good but it’s still true. Nobody is coming after me or anyone to whom I am related for a ransom or access to launch codes without a serious change in circumstances.

People who have armed guards either need guards because they have massive fortunes, sensitive jobs, or they are paranoid. The president has a sensitive job and a not small fortune. Members of the legislative branch and the mayor of NYC? Pretty sensitive jobs and several fortunes between them.

Rock starts, CEOs and “wealthy big shots?” Big piles of money.

And after making that list for the viewer and ending it with a somewhat pejorative term, they pivot to the crime aspect. That connection, the one between the president, other members of government, the general class of the very rich and mad men, drug cartels and home invading criminals? That is very deliberate.

I have to give it to them, whoever writes the NRA copy knows how to use language to create othering. The visual makes the same connection. By using the dollar bill backdrop when talking about members of government and then rolling that bill up to illustrate the types of criminals the NRA is talking about they are literally rolling the groups into one large group.

And then they hit the money shot, the hand with the shot magazine, and the narration, “It’s just the rest of us, the law abiding, average people who will have to defend our families with limited capacity magazines.”

Even the hand is calculated. When I first looked at it I thought it was a male hand due to the finger width and nail length but the pose suggests a female hand and the chubbiness suggests a child. You see whatever type of hand is most emotionally evocative to you. Well, as long as you’re a Caucasian and let’s all pause here to acknowledge that the group most receptive to the NRA’s message skews heavily Caucasian.

Done? Cool.

The tag on the end of the message, “Welcome to Barack Obama’s middle class,” brings the viewer’s mind back to the idea that all of the groups in the beginning are connected and the viewer needs to defend against them.

Frnakly from the point of view of someone who studies propaganda and Neuro Liguistic Programing, this commercial is brilliant. Horribly offensive, misleading and full of lies but still. Whoever the NRA is paying for their ad work is giving them their money’s worth.

The thing is, it’s all bullshit. Come on, we all knew that. It is brilliant, but it’s brilliant bullshit.

Aside from the reality that certain people and their children just need to be guarded, the Secret Service and security guards generally don’t use large capacity magazines. Even the Uzi’s that the Secret Service sometimes uses aren’t fitted with those magazines. Sorry, big lie. Don’t fall for it.

Further, the primary source of black market guns is? if you said theft you’re wrong. The answer is straw purchases. If high capacity magazines are not available for either straw purchase or theft, the criminal access to them will dry up and it won’t be a concern.

That’s how reality works.

Even the website, which I’m not linking to because fuck them, makes it clear that their goal is to convince people that they are being attacked and the people who are attacking them are an hysterical, paranoid mix of criminals, rock starts, members of government, and “wealthy big shots.”

A less nuanced version of this would be someone jumping out and yelling “BOO! ” at top volume.

Don’t believe the hype.

 

 

24 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2013 1:03 AM

    Nobody is going after our children? Hmmm? You want to tell that to the children of Sandy Hook? Aurora Colorado? Columbine? Virginia Tech?

    • February 19, 2013 12:31 PM

      All incidents that involved shooters with high capacity magazines, most of which have be shown to have resulted in a larger loss of life because of those magazines. I’m pretty sure you were trying to make a point but you missed.

      • February 19, 2013 12:38 PM

        Those two Columbine kids brought at least 13 10-round mags. They only had 3 mags with higher capacity than that. Columbine also happened right in the middle of the federal gun ban. That was the deadliest mass murder on an American high school campus, ever. 13 dead and 21 injured. Have you ever changed mags in any kind of semi-auto weapon? I mean seriously, it’s a joke that anyone thinks reloading time is actually going to lower kill counts in massacres. It might help if the shooter has a single shot rifle.

        • February 19, 2013 3:26 PM

          Those two Columbine kids brought at least 13 10-round mags. They only had 3 mags with higher capacity than that. Columbine also happened right in the middle of the federal gun ban.

          False, although commonly believed. There’s never been a federal gun ban. There has previously been an assault weapons ban, which would have been much more effective if it had been more comprehensive.

          Have you ever changed mags in any kind of semi-auto weapon?

          Yes.

          I mean seriously, it’s a joke that anyone thinks reloading time is actually going to lower kill counts in massacres.

          False. It happens. It doesn’t take long to put someone on the ground, especially if the tackler is powered by adrenalin.

          Furthermore, everyone ignores the fact that the weapons used at Columbine aren’t an argument for more gun access. They’re very much an argument for greater restrictions on those guns and types of ammo that can do the most damage int he least amount of time.

      • February 19, 2013 2:12 PM

        Well when these guys commit these horrific acts, notice that they carry multiple weapons. So say there are less bullets in a magazines, you do not have to Einstein to know that when you run out of bullets, you simply pull out another gun.

        • February 19, 2013 2:26 PM

          And in that pause you get tackled and can’t shoot any more people.

          • February 19, 2013 4:29 PM

            What pause? Is that really the argument you are going to go with? I do not know about you, but if I had ever in a situation where I had been unarmed, I sure as heck am not going to tackle an armed individual. It takes nothing but one second to switch guns.

            • February 19, 2013 7:28 PM

              I do not know about you, but if I had ever in a situation where I had been unarmed, I sure as heck am not going to tackle an armed individual.

              That’s your failing and has no relevance to the conversation.

              It takes nothing but one second to switch guns.

              Depending on the type of gun it takes between 5 seconds and hours, depending on the amount of ammo and the type of weapon.

              What pause? Is that really the argument you are going to go with?

              The pause necessary in reloading. Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. We can quibble about how long it is, but it’s there.

              And I’ll admit that I tricked you a little bit, because I’m better at this than you are and you didn’t read the rules of engagement.

              Any argument that predicates itself on “It doesn’t take that long to reload,” is an argument for making it take longer. If the argument is meant to be “but criminals versus the law abiding,” then the baseline consideration should be the unarmed citizen.

              • February 19, 2013 9:59 PM

                Well I am not talking about reloading. If an individual is about to go into a shooting spree, do you not believe that every weapon with him or her will already be loaded.

  2. February 19, 2013 12:05 PM

    Neuro-linguistic programming is pseudoscience.

    Aside from that, you could do the same “propaganda” analysis on this recent Brady Campaign video: http://youtu.be/DoAG0A2e4vo. Where they show priests, the elderly, kids exhibiting scars for the camera, etc., to elicit an emotional response. Classy.

    Of course both sides use suggestive images and fearmongering. They’re trying to get you to believe their message. When argued on a purely logical basis, the case for law-abiding citizens having the right to arm themselves is infallible. Most people are more easily stirred by a man with a ski mask, or a kid with a scar on his neck, than logic. That’s just human nature.

    • February 19, 2013 1:30 PM

      Neuro-linguistic programming is pseudoscience.

      Yes, it is, but it’s still fascinating and it’s still actively used by advertisers. As such, when one is breaking down an ad it’s a useful in identifying source material.

      Aside from that, you could do the same “propaganda” analysis on this recent Brady Campaign video: http://youtu.be/DoAG0A2e4vo. Where they show priests, the elderly, kids exhibiting scars for the camera, etc., to elicit an emotional response. Classy.

      You could, although I think you mistake the nature of my criticism. The fact that this ad is propaganda is fine. I like propaganda. I find it both fascinating from a purely intellectual point of view and useful from a sociological point of view. However, for propaganda to be truly effective it needs to be true, or at least the truth needs to be ambiguous enough that I can’t disprove it with a simple web search.

      Of course both sides use suggestive images and fearmongering.

      False. In comparing these two ads using the tu quoque logical fallacy response is both dishonest and, as always, wrong. These two ads which directed at opposite sides of the same subject, have very little in common.

      Both ads attempt to strike an emotional chord. However, the Brady ad does nothing but emotion and opinion. The NRA a offers information that it presents as if it were factual that is, in fact, not at all true.

      Further, the NRA ad uses these lies to present a negative argument and to obliquely assert that the viewer needs to defend against both shadowy criminals and the government while the Brady ad uses an affirmative argument to ask the viewer to join them in seeking a solution through government.

      I would also point out that the NRA ad is better at reaching its goal of frightening people who are already inclined to agree with them than the Brady ad is at its goal of persuading new people to get active.

      In fairness, the Brady ad has a heavier load to lift. A positive persuasive argument is always more difficult than a negative one. Brady may want to look at hiring the same company that the NRA uses.

      When argued on a purely logical basis, the case for law-abiding citizens having the right to arm themselves is infallible.

      That’s super interesting but not relevant because I’m not arguing against the right of any law-abiding citizen to arm themselves in this conversation. I’m specifically arguing that the NRA ad is brilliant and full of lies.

      • February 19, 2013 2:58 PM

        The Brady ad is just as much a crock of shit. Come on. “Felons can just go on the Internet and buy all the guns they want, and then put them on the streets of my community!” Right. Misleading the public yet again. Online retailers do not ship to any individual who’s not an FFL holder, but they don’t mention that. They just play on the uneducated public’s fear of guns. They want soft, suburban families to be afraid of all the ZOMG VIDEO GAME KILLERS AND HIGH CAP ASSAULT CLIPS violence.

        • February 19, 2013 3:12 PM

          The Brady ad is just as much a crock of shit.

          No, it really isn’t, and I cover that earlier in the comments.

          Come on. “Felons can just go on the Internet and buy all the guns they want, and then put them on the streets of my community!” Right. Misleading the public yet again. Online retailers do not ship to any individual who’s not an FFL holder, but they don’t mention that.

          Straw purchases. Also covered previously.

          They want soft, suburban families to be afraid of all the ZOMG VIDEO GAME KILLERS AND HIGH CAP ASSAULT CLIPS violence.

          The only people who regularly mention video games are the NRA.

  3. February 19, 2013 12:10 PM

    “Create othering” – what an interesting way to describe the success the NRA has at marketing fear to the masses. I feel like the NRA proposals often end up going viral (or at least become incredibly popular with a certain segment of society) so there is some genius behind their message. This “othering” may be the perfect way to describe the feelings that their branding elicits…

  4. February 19, 2013 12:15 PM

    This is a pitiful outlook on the ad.

    The dollar bill is not behind the government but rather appears in the words “Wealthy Big Shots” <- money = wealth.

    And basically you are arguing here that an aristocracy should exist in personal protections but I am willing to bet you are against the wealthy big shots having all of that wealth which is basically the same argument on a different subject.

    Everyone wants to argue that the NRA is terrible and filled with propaganda but Obama speaks with a borderline level of propaganda in the same way all of the time.

    And on high-cap mags. Why 10? What is magical here with 10 rounds. I have a handgun that comes STANDARD with 16. That doesn't make it high-capacity, that's standard capacity just like an 8-speed BMW is standard gearing and not high geared. It's a bunch of feel good and very little substance. Not to mention, a criminal with minimal metal working experience could make a magazine of whatever size.

    One more thing of note – a criminal going for a mass shooting will have no problem carrying multiple magazines. They could carry 20 if they wanted because they aren't concerned with comfort or appearance. An average concealed carry person can carry maybe one.

    Interesting stat: You are more likely to be struck by lightning than shot in a mass shooting. You are more likely to be attacked by multiple assailants than to be struck by lightning. Even cops who are expertly trained want more shots.

    If you want to know more about facts and less about political agenda pushing – here is a great four part article on the myths being propagated.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/25/the-assault-weapon-myth/

    • February 19, 2013 2:25 PM

      The dollar bill is not behind the government but rather appears in the words “Wealthy Big Shots” <- money = wealth.

      So what? They’re all deliberately made the same group. Further, the building in the backdrop doesn’t change and since one backdrop melts into the other, it’s pretty clearly another visual connection.

      And basically you are arguing here that an aristocracy should exist in personal protections but I am willing to bet you are against the wealthy big shots having all of that wealth which is basically the same argument on a different subject.

      You’re wrong. What do I win?

      I’m perfectly happy for the very wealthy to keep or earn their money within rational law as I am perfectly happy for gun owners to keep or buy their firearms, also within rational law.

      Everyone wants to argue that the NRA is terrible and filled with propaganda but Obama speaks with a borderline level of propaganda in the same way all of the time.

      No, the president speaks with fantastic propaganda. He’s got whole teams of people who make sure of it. I don’t think the NRA is terrible because they use propaganda. I think they’re terrible because they have left all rationality and responsibility behind.

      As far as their propaganda is concerned, I actually think they’re better at it than most people. It’s just that the things they are arguing are laughably untrue.

      And on high-cap mags. Why 10? What is magical here with 10 rounds. I have a handgun that comes STANDARD with 16…It’s a bunch of feel good and very little substance.

      I agree. Banning high cap magazines should be one tiny step in a series of much more comprehensive gun laws.

      Not to mention, a criminal with minimal metal working experience could make a magazine of whatever size.

      So what? The least rational argument against any law is the assertion that criminals might break that law. that is already understood. The idea that criminals will break laws is never an argument against laws. It is an argument in favor of laws.

      One more thing of note – a criminal going for a mass shooting will have no problem carrying multiple magazines. They could carry 20 if they wanted because they aren’t concerned with comfort or appearance. An average concealed carry person can carry maybe one.

      So what? The necessary pause to reload is what makes taking down a mass shooter possible. Example: the Gabby Giffords shooting. A citizen with a gun, or even a highly trained law enforcement officer with a gun is not a deterrent to a mass shooting and is, in fact, a danger to innocent bystanders. Example: The Gabby Giffords shooting, and the Empire State building shooting.

      Interesting stat: You are more likely to be struck by lightning than shot in a mass shooting.

      Neat.

      You are more likely to be attacked by multiple assailants than to be struck by lightning.

      Also neat.

      Even cops who are expertly trained want more shots.

      Still neat. None of it is particularly relevant but it’s neat.

      If you want to know more about facts and less about political agenda pushing – here is a great four part article on the myths being propagated.

      I’m sorry, did you honestly use the Washington Times and the phrase “more about facts and less about political agenda pushing in the same sentence? BAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

  5. February 20, 2013 2:44 PM

    Here’s a video of what you can actually do in five seconds with a little bit of training. As you can see, it’s a good bit more than one mag change. I’m slower than average, and even I can reload in under two seconds.

    As I know you agree, semi-auto handguns are too deadly for civilians to have. Let’s limit it to revolvers only, even though that’ll never happen even if Feinstein clones an army of herself and becomes a level 100 warlock. How fast could you possibly reload a revolver? Even an expert would have to take at least five seconds.

    My point is just that no matter how strict the laws, you can’t significantly reduce mass murders from their (already statistically very low) current numbers without blatantly violating the constitution. Not to mention, it can’t be done because people just will not stand for that kind of violation, no matter how much political capital is amassed for the politicians by tragedies like Newtown.

    • February 20, 2013 2:46 PM

      I guess it didn’t take the YouTube current time URL. I linked directly to 00:29 in that second video, that’s the interesting part.

    • February 20, 2013 7:44 PM

      Your point is fallacious and based on the extreme skill of an expert in ideal conditions loading a revolver. You’re ignoring reality; the physical and mental difficulties inherent in a live shooting situation, the panic and distraction of screaming crowds and, you know, the possibility of someone trying to stop you as you’re reloading, in order to fit your preconceived conclusion. This is not surprising given the tendency toward selectively ignoring facts exemplified in the pro-gun arguments.

      • February 20, 2013 10:22 PM

        I don’t get it. So… let’s do gun control, because armed civilians can’t stop a shooter, so they shouldn’t be armed. They’ll just cause more chaos. Instead, wait until the shooter has shot as many people as he can–maybe 5 or 10, depending on your level of fascism–and has to reload. Then an unarmed person will get him, succeeding where a person with a gun would fail. Wut?

        Even if that has happened before, I doubt that if you heard your family was under fire, you’d be hoping there wasn’t any trained citizen there with a gun. I know I’m not going to force other people to be unable to defend themselves, nor do I have the right to. If a law-abiding adult wants to carry a gun at their college, I’m not going to stop them. If I want to keep a gun in my car at my job, my employer can’t tell me not to. With good reason.

        Can you measure the effect of screaming crowds on reload time? I would be genuinely interested in seeing any kind of data on reload time during mass shootings. All I’ve ever seen is reported numbers of reloads, not how long each reload took. You certainly can’t make the case that it’s not possible to achieve a speed close to that of a competitor like Jerry Miculek.

        • February 21, 2013 1:58 PM

          I don’t get it.

          Clearly.

          So… let’s do gun control, because armed civilians can’t stop a shooter, so they shouldn’t be armed.

          Straw man. For someone who claims that the pro-gun argument is infallible when argued on a purely logical basis, your assertions seem to consist largely of logical fallacies. You may want to pause, regroup and try again.

          Instead, wait until the shooter has shot as many people as he can–maybe 5 or 10, depending on your level of fascism–and has to reload. Then an unarmed person will get him, succeeding where a person with a gun would fail. Wut?

          The implication being that an armed person would keep those 5-10 people alive? That is false as has been proved. Armed bystanders cause more damage to other bystanders.

          Even if that has happened before, I doubt that if you heard your family was under fire, you’d be hoping there wasn’t any trained citizen there with a gun.

          You’re wrong. Again. During an incident of gun violence, I very much hope that there is no one else there with a gun because, as I said, additional guns equate to additional deaths.

          Further, the entire example above is a red herring.

          Can you measure the effect of screaming crowds on reload time?

          Probably, given the right sample size and conditions. There have been a number of studies done on distraction and its effect on reaction time. It wouldn’t be a difficult experiment to set up.

          You certainly can’t make the case that it’s not possible to achieve a speed close to that of a competitor like Jerry Miculek.

          Sure I can, it’s actually very simple to make the point. What is statistically more likely; that an expert’s skill will be negatively impacted by stress to the point where they reduce their reload speed to that of the average gun owner or that the average gun owners will be able to reach the skill level of a highly trained expert under stress?

          Obviously, in the land of fact based reality the first is more likely to be true. The problem is, that in the fantasies of many gun owners, they turn into Rambo McClain and can make miraculous trick shots as well as achieve super human reload speeds under the worst circumstances.

          Work harder on the logic thing.

  6. February 21, 2013 11:24 PM

    About that last comment, we were talking about the hypothetical mass murderer, not the “good guy.” I don’t care what Average Gun Owner’s reload time is. He only needs to make one kill in almost any mass murder scenario, because those are mostly perpetrated by one person. What I was saying is that if you take away more and more gun rights, murderers will find another way. The deadliest mass murder at a school in American history, if I recall, was committed with bombs. Which we can’t legislate against, because they’re so easy to make.

    This one incident came to mind; this happened here in Florida. This senior citizen managed to wound and drive off two armed criminals without slaying every baby in a 30-mile radius. It honestly baffles me that some people believe a trained, competent good guy with a gun is actually a bad thing.

    http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/71-Year-Old-Man-Shoots-Would-Be-Robbers-at-Ocala-Internet-Cafe-Authorities-162941656.html

    • February 22, 2013 1:21 PM

      Edit: One last thing that I forgot about, that was incorrect on your blog. The Secret Service did use the standard magazines (anywhere from 20 rounds up to 50) in the Uzi. But that was back in the 90s and before, when they actually used the Uzi. The only time you’ll ever see lower capacity for that old gun is when the ammunition requires it; calibers like .41 AE and .45 ACP trade higher energy for lower capacity (still 16 rounds for .45, which I doubt the Secret Service used).

      They now use either the MP5 for their submachine gun needs (15- or 30-round mags, and I’m guessing they go with 30), and the FN P90 (50 rounds). They absolutely do use what you refer to as “high” capacity magazines. Even their standard pistol, the Sig P229 in .357 SIG, carries 12 rounds, and that would be higher if not for the constraints of the caliber itself.

      The other guy who mentioned police use was right– even ordinary cops carry patrol rifles with standard AR magazines, and cops are civilians like me. Any magazine legislation should equally affect the police.

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