Economics of Community Organizing and Divisiveness

2016 is bringing a lot of stories that may seem unrelated, but overlap tremendously. We have:

  • Obama’s Gun Control Executive Orders
  • Oregon Bundy Insurrection
  • Mass Shootings
  • and so on

So what is this about? 

Cause and effect. Attention versus results. Symbolism over substance. 

If you really believed that more guns resulted in more gun deaths (despite all the evidence to the contrary), then outcome would be more important than credit. 

We know that drawing media attention to issues gets a counter-reaction. It happens consistently:

  1. Drawing attention to mass shootings gets MORE mass shootings. You’re literally putting ideas into the mentally disturbed heads. 
  2. Drawing attention to a few rare loopholes (that can’t be plugged, and that most criminals and individuals don’t exploit), gets more people to exploit them
  3. Telling people that like guns (or are neutral), that you want to make them harder to get, gets more people to buy them
  4. Drawing attention to injustice (racial, sexism, economic,, etc… especially when it’s as infrequent and un-tolerated as it is in the U.S.), doesn’t get less of it and help. At some point it angers, inflames and gets more lash and backlash. Both sides are divided what is essentially something that might have a minor impact on someone’s lives a few times a decade. 

How do we know? It’s been shown in psychological studies, many times. But more important than lab theories and poll results, is real world results. 

Look at gun sales. There are meme’s dedicated to Obama wearing an NRA cap and pointing out that he’s gun-salesman of the decade. And trends/charts prove that’s not just propaganda.

We went from 12M a year in 2008 (and more like 8M in 2000), to over 30M a year now.  It’s not only gun sales, but NRA membership has been climbing (I got a lifetime membership, just to let the President know of my dissatisfaction) — they were floating around 2.75M members before election, now they’re more like in the mid 4M level. But if he’s changing public opinion, that’s what matters, right? Support for gun bans (pistols and assault weapons) has been trending down the more he talks. 

If you’re naive enough to correlate gun sales with gun violence (and miss the fact that violence and gun crime in general has been trending down for decades), then you should be yelling at the President to shut the fuck up. And of course if you care about logic/facts and run rights, then you should be yelling at the President to shut the fuck up. So we should all be able to agree on that at least: if you’re a hole, stop digging. 

If the restrictions he’s putting place were to matter (and I can go into details on the how these proposals will not make a measurable difference) — but if you believe they mattered, then he should be doing them quietly. A silent policy recommendation that might matter and might not inflate sales. Instead of the opposite, big wind, little results, with major backlash on everything it stands for. (All hat and no cattle). 

Bundy Extremists

There are these Oregon Extremists that are tired of ranchers having their land seized by the Federal Government (or new restrictions on everything: grazing, usage, logging, etc). Here’s a good teardown of the issue, even if I disagree with the idea of rationalizing bad behavior, it at least explains the grievance: 

They’re not terrorists (which attack civilians and try to terrorize to alter public opinion). But I think taking over abandoned federal building under arms isn’t a good way to display your displeasure at something. 
I remember context: this is after we had the President calling out to the brave soles protesting in Ferguson (rioting and burning down neighborhoods because a violent felon thug got shot for thugging). This is after Occupy was sensationalized by the Press/President for public defecation and proving they understand absolutely nothing about the causes of the Financial Crisis, nor the proper roles of government. So this is proof that if you keep sensationalizing protests (and protestors ends justifying the means), then you’ll get more of them? (Even those that are opposed to you). You’ve taught them that stunts for media attention are a way to enact change, so both sides will use it.   

From there view, I’m sure they think,

"whenever the left gets pissed they do violent things over wrong causes, and get positive media attention. We’ll be more civil, and have a more just cause, and see what happens (and of course having boom sticks gets the medias attention)."
But I think both sides are wrong. And bringing guns is a stupid escalation, it increases the odds that there will be a violent over-reaction by an overzealous government, over an abandoned outpost that no one gives a shit about… unless you’re threatening the collective power/authority of fascists. 

Yet, you notice a trend. These events like Waco, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City, Oregon, always peak with Democrat (authoritarian) administrations. Why is that? The less ability to listen to the other side, and more willingness to talk over them and misrepresent them, abuse power and so on, that  the administration has — then the more demonstrable these organizations get. And of course, the media is doing a lot to misrepresent their cause or intent, but still give them attention, and how do you think that will work out?

Mass Shootings

And if you doubt the point, look at Mass shootings by administration.

There have been 23 real mass shootings since Obama was elected to sensationalizing guns/gun control, and making a big deal of each one of them. (Many more than prior administrations). But some cook the numbers to make it look sound lie more. But using any objective metric, they go up as they are sensationalized. 

The fact that the media is ghoulishly willing to sensationalize bloodshed for ratings is not a big surprise. But knowing that the more attention you bring to it, the more you encourage the next one, what does that say about our politicians?

Each time Obama gets on camera, and claims "this has got to stop", it is said with a wink and a nod to the next shooter, to kill some more innocents so the President can get more camera face-time. If they fixed the problem, they wouldn’t get the ratings, thus the posing and posturing. These events give Obama (ever the community organizer) a selfie stick to prove he cares, by getting more people killed. 


You have a choice. Either care about the guns and lives lost, and shut-up and let things cool down. Or you can care about your own self-aggrandizement and the aggrandizement of your views — but not both. We know which Obama is choosing. 

I disagree with the President and gun-controllers premise, that guns cause problems. To the informed, it is strictly about WHO gets the guns (good guys or bad guys) that will impact the outcome. (Tools in good hands are used for good, good tools in bad hands will be used for bad). So if we cared, we’d focus on the right problems. Bu even in the land of make-beleive where there’s no difference (because government/democrats are too incompetent to know the difference, and thus it must reduce all guns) — then to make a difference: Gag the President. Stop sensationalizing every gun and gun control agenda, knowing that it will make things worse for everyone but the politician speaking. 

We should deal with issues when they aren’t obnoxious protest and stupid symbolism like camping out in a park to smoke pot and rape women (Occupy), or having a gun-club meeting / press-event in an abandoned government cabin. But once they’ve raised stupid to that level, I think we should treat them with the equal contempt. And share a bit of that contempt for any Politician/Media outlets that try to sensationalize it (and encourage more of it) for ratings. 

If you want to end the Bundy/Oregon stand-off? Ignore them. I say the same thing about the tree huggers chaining themselves to a tree, or Occupy-morons or Only-Black-Lives-Matter racists. If you keep paying attention to them as noble warriors for a cause, you’ll get more polarization and noble warriors mimicking their bad-behaviors for attention.

So even if you believe they have valid causes, the ends doesn’t justify the means. And for that to matter, you have to lead by example, and hold your side to the same standard as you’d hold the other. Anyone that complaining about Bundy/Oregon, but wasn’t equally vocal about Occupy/BLM/Furgeson, proves that they’re hypocrites. Just like anyone that excuses Bundy/Oregon but has a problem with Occupy/BLM/Furgeson is as well. You either have a problem with the means, or you only selectively have a problem with it (and are a hypocrite). But the more you sympathize with bad behavior, and reward it, the more bad behavior you’ll get.