Here is the advice
that the PR company hired by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The bottom line is to take advantage of tragedies when they occur. Here are some quotes from their "playbook."
P. 40: The debate over gun violence in America is periodically punctuated by high-profile gun violence incidents, including Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, the Trayvon Martin killing, Aurora, and Oak Creek. When an incident such as these attracts sustained media attention, it creates a unique climate for our communications efforts.The purpose of this section of our guide is to present some advice about how to make sure our communications are powerful, impactful and appropriate to these unique circumstances.We believe that the following nine guideposts should be helpful both when we encounter high-profile incidents that attract national attention – and when a similar dynamic occurs in a local community.
p. 40: #1: Don't hesitate to speak out
There can be a tendency to adopt a quiet “wait and see” attitude when a high-profile gun violence incident happens. The truth is, the most powerful time to communicate is when concern and emotions are running at their peak. While we always want to be respectful of the situation, a self-imposed period of silence is never necessary.
p. 41: #3: Don't assume the facts -- and don't wait for them.
Experience tells us that the specific facts of a high-profile gun incident are revealed over time. If we jump to conclusions about those details, we could find ourselves at odds with reality as events unfold.So, the smartest thing to do is avoid linking our message and arguments to any one set of partially-revealed facts. We shouldn’t assume the facts.But, we also shouldn’t argue ourselves into inaction while we await clarity about details.The clearest course is to advance our core message about preventing gun violence independent of facts that may shift on us over time. (“While we don’t know the specifics of this tragedy, we know far too many people are killed by weak gun laws in this country.”) Of course, once a fact is clearly established, it makes sense to rely on it to advance your case.
MY NOTE: BUT DESPITE THE LACK OF FACTS THEY ARE STILL SUPPOSED TO LINK THE CRIME TO GUN CONTROL ISSUES AND USE IT TO PUSH FOR GUN CONTROL PROPOSALS.
P. 42: #4: Ask hard questions.
One way to link our arguments to an event without being trapped by shifting circumstances is to ask questions – ones that point to approaches and policies that we favor, but that resonate with special emotional power at the time of a high-profile shooting.Where did the gun come from? Did the shooter have to undergo a background check before he got the gun? Did the shooter have a permit for the gun? Did the shooter own more than one gun? Did he have high capacity ammunition magazines with him? How many rounds did he have on him? Did the shooter have to observe any kind of waiting period before he got his hands on the guns? Or did he get them right away no questions asked?
p. 44: #8: Don't let policy speak drain the emotion from the moment.
There is often a compelling case to be made for immediate action, pivoting from the emotion of a high-profile incident to calls for legislative action or specific policy changes. Those who seek to make that pivot have to be careful not to drain the emotional power out of the moment.An emotionally-driven conversation about what can be done to prevent incidents such as the one at hand is engaging. A dry conversation about legislative process and policy is far less engaging.Choice of language, constantly connecting the policy to how it impacts people’s lives, and avoiding being dragged into the nuances of specific policy prescriptions are all critical here.
Labels: GunControl, Mayors Against Illegal Guns