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Social Media Gunfighters

Proficiency, knowledge, and experience are desired traits within many aspects of life. Unfortunately, a counter-culture is growing within social media that focuses on firearms. This isn’t new but it is getting worse. The people who are part of this like to hear themselves talk, they shout out answers without reason or context (because they have none), and they are very attached to the ideas they have emotionally invested in (good or bad). It is that same highly vocal minority who fill in the blanks of their knowledge with what they think the answer should be (see Dunning-Kruger) and tout it as fact.

They have limited frames of reference and when you provide context and counter points to their narrow view they lash out. You know you are gaining advantage in your discussions when the memes come out, names are called, or they need to bring up their background. Over used cliché phrases in attempt to gain credibility – “booger hook on the bang switch” and “face shooting” seems to be a simple tactic. Ultimately they marginalize life and prioritize the tool over life itself.

Part of this issue seems to be a misconception in social media that places a gunfighter persona as the ultimate status for which to strive. I see a lot of social media profiles that feature threeper, militia related silliness, and stuff about killing the enemy flavor of the week. Knowing some actual gunfighters, I don’t see the real ones behave that way.

Why is killing another human something to strive for? I understand duty, I understand defensive measures, I understand the need for offense to maintain that defense. I also understand there are trained people who are paid to do this professionally (military & law enforcement) and then there are people who pretend to be on that level. Kind of like preparing for zombies. There is a big difference between appearances and reality – there is a difference between fantasy and real life.

How many people on social media actually carry a weapon and train? Do many carry a weapon in a professional capacity? Is social media as a whole the source for real answers?

We used to have people emulating known and vetted gunfighters. It makes sense, they have seen and done things normal folk don’t. They might just have a clue. The scary trend is the people with no formal background, education, or experience with firearms are being emulated. The Walter Mittys are being copied by people who don’t know better… and don’t care. What does that say about our culture? It’s all about appearances, all about status, all about self-promotion, all about the flash – no substance.

People are now taking concepts too far, even into absolutes, which distort the advice given by reputable sources. Those people don’t have experience or a frame of reference to apply concepts. The groundbreaking ideas become concrete versus “used when applicable”. Taking concepts and emulating them instead of discussing and pondering those ideas while figuring out how they best apply. Those who have the ability to use critical thinking seem to be dwindling fast.

If you are carrying a gun so you get to shoot someone in the face, I question your mental state. This preconceived idea of what carry a gun is about is one is turning into a manufactured macho persona mental illness.

I carry a weapon to protect others, not specifically to shoot someone in the face. If I were to draw my weapon in public to defend my family from a threat, did I just make my wife and daughter the backstop to the assailant’s target (me)? Training, real training, helps people look at potential events from more angles than what they typically can think of. These people are living in a fantasy where they “patrol” looking for a fight and dream of being the hero. They don’t seem to ever considering repercussions and reactions to their actions.

Why are there more Facebook profiles of people with guns versus people with their families?

Since when is it no longer cool to take pride in being a good parent, being a good husband/wife, being a professional in your field? Right now, I see a lot of people dressing up as things they are not, pretending to be people they are not, dreaming of being relevant. Many of these people need to put away their guns for a day and consider reality. Life isn’t a movie and you are not the hero. You can be relevant – in the present, in the roles you have in life.

People will be offended by this. They always are. Don’t be offended. If you are offended please take this as a clue that something needs adjustment. You might need some training or some good talks with people who can help fill in the blanks.

Be yourself, be cool, be safe (and train).

 

Matt Landfair
Lead Editor/Contributor at Primary & Secondary
Active Law Enforcement background since before the turn of the century in the middle of no where. Firearms instructor, armorer, hangs out at DARC, has attended numerous training courses including DARC, Follow Through Consulting, EAG, TMacs, and more boring mandatory popo training you can shake a stick at. He has written for RECOIL Magazine, Breach Bang Clear, Soldier Systems Daily and Monderno. Enjoys long walks on the beach, blah blah blah… Known as Matt Prime or Riafdnal in some circles.

Matt@primaryandsecondary.com
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