Another Gun Rights Policy Conference is done and in the books. This year’s conference attendance set a record with over 1,100 attendees. Over 100,000 watched it live on Facebook where it was livestreamed. GRPC set another record with 91 speakers. I was one of the 91 and spoke on the panel that covered using new media to advance gun rights.
Below is my presentation as delivered. In a few days, there will be video up on YouTube of this and the rest of the presentations.
I’m John Richardson of the blog No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money. I’m also a co-host of the Polite Society Podcast.
I had a rude awakening a month and a half ago. I woke to find that Google’s Blogger had taken my blog down and was threatening to delete it. I could not even access it to backup my nine and a half years of work. My blood ran cold at the thought of losing all that work.
I was erroneously accused of violating the terms of service for selling or facilitating the sale of a regulated item. I was put in the same category as drug dealers and other purveyors of prohibited or regulated items.
I immediately appealed and I got tremendous support from the gun rights community. Dave Workman wrote an article for Liberty Park Press. Tom Knighton covered it on Bearingarms.com. People aimed tweets at Google and Blogger. There were posts about it on Facebook. Two days later, I got a email from Blogger saying, in essence, “Ooops. We made a mistake. You didn’t violate anything. So sorry.”
I tell you this story not to gain your sympathy. I tell it to show how we are at the mercy of big tech oligopolies. There have been plenty of stories about gun rights supporters being suspended or banned from Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You know, like SAF. We have seen the demonetization of firearms-oriented YouTube videos. Thanks to leaks, we know that through the use of algorithms and key word lists there is a conscious effort to suppress our voices in advocacy of the Second Amendment, self-defense, and gun rights.
I got complacent and we as a community have gotten complacent. The social media giants made it so easy to be involved in social media that we forgot something. That something was that if you don’t control the means of getting the message out, it can be turned off at a whim and you are suppressed.
I decided never again. I bought my own domain name and thanks to my friend Bill Chachkes of Firearms Chat Podcast, I was hooked up with a 2A friendly host – Patriot Hosting.
We need to do three things if we want to continue getting the message out. First, we need to control our hosting and not be dependent upon companies that will sell us out in a heartbeat. Second, we need to explore going back to older technology that is beyond the control of the tech oligarchs. By this I mean firearms forums and perhaps even old fashioned bulletin board systems. I should clarify that I’m not advocating going back to 2400 baud modems to dial long distance to a favorite gun board. Finally, seek out and use newer alternatives like MeWe, Full 30, and Declan McCullagh’s “Talki. Ng”.
The late Professor Brian Patrick who spoke at GRPC a number of times called how we communicate the anti-media. He spoke and wrote about this extensively. Professor Patrick credited horizontal interpretive communities and how they communicated for the passage of shall issue carry laws in Florida and elsewhere. In non-social science speak, this means gun rights supporters and potential allies talked to one another, planned their strategies, and organized through the use of newsletters, forums and bulletin board systems outside the notice of the mass media. The key phrase here is that they talked to one another. Moreover, they talked to one another as equals. It was not top-down like our opponents.
You may never want to be a blogger, a podcaster, a YouTuber, or any other type of content creator. Nonetheless, you can help out those of us who are by providing us with leads, tips, and other information. Some of my best blog posts have come due to this. We are all in this together, we are a community, and we all can help one another protect, preserve, and enhance our Second Amendment rights.