Guest editorial: To win gun debate, facts are paramount
March 2, 2018
While I agree with the anger and frustration expressed in Jay Meehan's opinion piece (published Feb. 21), I feel compelled to correct some glaring inaccuracies and misstatements contained in this column. Rather than enter a debate on guns or the second amendment… sadly I don't think many of us are apt to change whatever opinions we hold on those at this point, I want to take a minute to help readers understand Net Neutrality and Google's advertising platform.
First, Net Neutrality has nothing to do with the sort order of the ads placed on a search engine like Google. Net Neutrality, or the lack thereof is more likely to make those ads take forever to load in the event that your Internet Service Provider doesn't approve of them. In reality, this could actually help your cause because if Comcast were anti-gun, they could reduce bandwidth and effectively slow down Google's ability to serve up ads for stores that sell bullets. Of course in that event Google would buy Comcast with the loose change from the sofa cushions on their private jets and serve up the ads that generate the most revenue as fast as humanly possible but I digress… You may also want to note that Net Neutrality is actually still in effect and will be until April 23rd.
This brings me to my second correction; The ads that you see on Google are paid for in an auction-type system where advertisers bid what they would pay "per click" in the event that you or I click the ad. The higher the bid, the higher the ad is placed on the page. Facebook has a similar system which allows advertisers to target users based on what they "like" and post themselves. These systems are considerably more complicated than this but I am attempting to be succinct here.
My point in writing this letter is not to insult Mr. Meehan, whose columns I enjoy very much but to articulate a point about the gun debate that has been hampering efforts for change since day one. The gun reform side appears to have no interest in facts but rather argue from emotion which never works. In most cases, the inaccuracies demonstrate a complete lack of understanding about guns and how they function. In this case the foundation of the argument was laid in the first several paragraphs about how the internet works that were all inaccurate. Either way, that's how you lose a debate. When you start weak, you finish weak. If you want to take down the NRA and the politicians they own, you're going to have to come ready for a fight; prepared, trained, and rehearsed. I assure you that your opponents are.
Jay is correct. This is going to get ugly and one side is vastly better equipped for that than the other.
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