If you’re reading this, odds are about the same as Evander Holyfield whoopin’ Mitt Romney in the ring that you already know Gun Free Zones suck.
Seriously, how much thought does it take to realize that people intent on doing harm could give a rat’s @ss about a flag in the ground claiming a Gun Free Zone? This line of thought is a unicorn fart not worthy of inclusion in the latest Al Gore documentary about the impact of roasting marshmallows on climate change. Heck, that idiot who shot up a movie premier in Aurora, Colorado bypassed numerous closer and more densely populated movie theaters to find one with a Gun Free Zone sign on the door. More recently, and closer to home for me, another demon incarnate right here in South Carolina elected to bypass his primary target of the College of Charleston because there was a risk of confronting armed security. And those are just two examples. Of all the mass murders in the past 50 years, only two have taken place in areas where guns were not specifically prohibited. Gun Free Zones attract sick, evil sociopaths like politicians to a camera. The thought of having absolute control over defenseless victims is appealing to those disgusting and twisted souls.
Yes, Gun Free Zones suck because they are ineffective. Worse yet, they suck because they actually attract the worst sort of violent criminals. The scum cowards who perpetrate mass murders choose Gun Free Zones because they know they can rule that area of real estate for ten, twenty, or thirty minutes, completely unopposed. I’m frustrated, depressed, and nauseated by the senseless deaths caused by this “feel good” concept of Gun Free Zones.
On a different front, the career marketing strategist side of me is also affronted by Gun Free Zones. Not the idea, but the description. Yes, we all know that “Gun Free Zones” equate to places where criminals have free reign. But we’re not the ones that need convincing in the broader public relations campaign about this issue.
If you step back and assume the thought process of average Joe and Jane TV Watcher, who do not spend the hours we do researching facts and considering the true ramifications of pleasant sound bites, you might think that “Gun Free Zones” sound pretty good. Heck, who can argue against the idea of the impossibility of violence? Of course, we know better, but only because we’ve plunged deeper into what that phrase truly means.
In our nanosecond attention span Tweet-A-Gram society, we need to think of how to best communicate our message in ways that low-interest Reality TV show watchers can easily digest. If we only get five words to communicate our message, “Gun Free Zones Are Bad!” is not our winning scenario because the first three words of that sentence sound pretty good on the surface. Heck, if those three words represented reality, I would be all for hanging out at a place where I had a zero percent chance of getting shot.
Let’s consider just one example. To the broader non-analytical community of voters, making a school a Gun Free Zone sounds like a great idea. To the uninterested and unenlightened, guns are associated with violence. They don’t understand that guns are even more closely associated with the concept of self and family defense.
When we try to fight the concept of Gun Free Zones in schools, we’re having to use language that advocates for guns in schools. Let that sink in for a second. We’re telling a large population of low-information voters, who know little about the self-defense meaning behind our words, that we want guns in schools. Those are not winning public relations words.