Joe Bob is an odious fixture in my life. He's abrasive, frequently profane, and he's chosen fatalism as a political philosophy. In Joe Bob's world view, a ban on semiautomatic rifles and/or standard-capacity magazines is a foregone conclusion. Rather than participate in preemptive political action to prevent this, he prefers to indulge in grim and counterproductive fantasies about how he'll resist the government through force of arms.
I think Joe Bob actually wants calamity to befall us so he can be some sort of hero or martyr. It's all quite tiresome.
His fantasy invariably involves one of two unrealistic and surreal scenarios. In the first one, he holes up under his front porch and snipes at the knees of government stormtroopers who are coming for his guns. That is, until someone gets the bright idea to simply run an APC over the front porch, thereby squishing Joe Bob and his feverish dream of getting into the history books.
The second involves him retreating to some idyllic place in a rural area, where he and other like-minded folks will wait in ambush for the aforementioned jack boots. The whole idea conjures up an image of a bunch of sweaty, overweight guys from one of those weird John Bly retreats who end up eating twigs and berries while they snuggle up next to a campfire with Charlie Sheen in a way that's not the least bit homoerotic.
This isn't 1994, and we have a very real chance of beating gun control this time around. The best part is, we don't even have to resort to violence. If you can't afford to ante up a measly 25 bucks to support the NRA, and you're too lazy to engage in creative thought, I've got a pre-written email you can send to your Senators and Representatives.
Don't know who those guys are (even though you've memorized every insignificant technical detail for this week's trendy tactical rifle)? Fear not. Your Senators are Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss. You can find your Representatives here.
Cut and paste this, and don't forget to put your name at the bottom:
I am writing to voice my opposition to the flurry of gun-control laws being introduced in this session.
Proposals to register handguns, license gun owners, revive the failed Assault Weapons Ban, and close the fictional "gun show loophole" are nothing new. As I'm sure you are aware, they are proposed nearly every year.
The current crop of proposals is not a response to the horror of Sandy Hook. The tragedy is being used as a grim and morbid form of political capital to push an agenda that violates the rights of the law-abiding and has no measurable benefit in terms of social policy.
I am grateful for your support of the 2nd Amendment, and I was pleased to see you raise your voice in our support of the Heller and McDonald cases. I ask now that you continue to support us, and that you urge the cooperation of your fellow legislators.
Don't go changing or embellishing anything. This format works, and here's why.
Your elected officials probably aren't going to read your missives. Remember Sandy? She's got enough crap to deal with, and we don't need to make her life any harder. When a divisive issue comes up, she's not tasked with interpreting incoming mail. Her responsibility is to take a tally of who supports and who opposes a given issue in order to get a feel for the constituency. It's all about numbers.
That's why the first sentence needs to be a concise statement of purpose. Resist the urge to open with "as a sovereign citizen of these formerly free United States who refuses to…" You've already lost your audience.
Pick one issue and stick with it. One. Use two or three short, organized paragraphs to prove your point.
Close with something reassuring. Gratitude for prior good acts or best wishes for reelection are good ones. "Your gonna get booted next election" is not so effective. Nor are insults or accusations of fascism, communism, Kenyanism, or involvement in illegal activity.
There seems to be some question of whether it's better to email or write an actual letter. While traditional logic holds that the written letter shows commitment and effort, the use of email is now respected for its efficiency. Either way works, but given the way they mine data these days, email seems to win out.