As a fan of theatrical magic -the kind performed on stage or street corners, not the “magic is real” mystical stuff that has kept charlatans employable forever, I know there’s one key element to every great magic illusion: misdirection.
There’s nothing unintentional in a magic act. The slip of a “lovely assistant” while crossing the stage is designed to draw your attention away from something being done to make the magic happen. The flourish of the right hand with the magic wand is designed to draw your attention away from the fake thumb full of silk handkerchiefs on the left.
Misdirection is a proven technique in plenty of other areas, too. In court, a line of questioning may seem pointless until the real question is asked of the unsuspecting person on the stand. Hesitation, stammering or floundering for an answer might not be the answer, but it might be the reaction the attorney’s hoping to get. Introducing reasonable doubt regarding the veracity of the testimony helps weaken it. So too does provoking an angry response or sullen silence.
Our elected officials are well-aware of the strength of misdirection. The Roman Senate maintained power over their citizen/subjects with a simple strategy: bread and circuses (panem et circenses). The use of spectacular sporting events to divert attention from a source of grievance.
If it sounds familiar, it should. If it doesn’t, you need to work on your situational awareness.
There’s a cultural war going on today, and our industry is at the point of attack.
In “anti-gun” states like Illinois (more accurately the City of Chicago and Cook County versus almost everyone else living inside the state), legislation that blatantly disregards Supreme Court decisions regarding the Second Amendment isn’t just introduced, it’s passed. And the governor’s absolutely willing to set fire to taxpayer funding to defend his unenforceable law.
State Attorneys General are taking aim at “woke” bankers. The bankers, in turn, have submitted documents attesting to their compliance with laws designed to protect legitimate gun-related businesses- despite the fact their own websites say they’re doing exactly what they’re denying (still looking at you, Citi).
And for what seems like the hundred and second consecutive year, Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced another pair of gun control bills that would outlaw the most commonly-owned rifles in society.
Don’t get me started on Senator Charles Schumer’s shrill demands that the Federal Trade Commission investigate Wee1 Tactical for their “JR-15” .22-caliber rifle.
Wee1 Tactical’s “JR-15” rifle. The youth model rifle that Sen. Schumer (and California Governor Gavin Newsome) describe as a “weapon of war.” Wee1 Tactical web image.
Of course, Newsome’s all-aboard with anything that harasses gun owners, shooters, hunters or -gasp-the firearms industry. California’s law prohibiting marketing anything gun-related to young people has led to the creation of splash pages at the front of most industry websites. Those pages require visitors to “attest to the fact they are over 18 years of age.” The fact the law has handicapped youth shooting sports and organizations that support them bothers Newsome not one whit.
The NSSF’s weekly Government Relations Update outlines bills being introduced in Washington State, Maryland and Virginia to curb resident’s 2A rights. Governors Whitmer in Michigan and Walz in Minnesota are asking legislators to send them more gun control bills to sign. And Colorado is passing around a draft of their “Mass Shooting Prevention Act” that would ban “import, manufacture and sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines” and other now-familiar cosmetic features.
Anti-gun politicians get a lot of coverage for these actions.
Unfortunately, it’s not for the time and money they waste; it’s for their “doing something” about the issue of “gun violence” -or whatever buzz phrase in vogue this week.
It’s part of their cacophony of misdirection. And the media’s willingness to push their agenda explains the disappearance of many of our basic rights over the years.
If we’re distracted our senses are dulled to the fact that we have a serious problem. If we’re fixated on the NFL playoffs, we’re never going to realize our “senior leadership” -on both sides of the political aisle- is unwilling to do anything that would seriously help to remedy the real problems in society.
Blaming the tool rather than the person using it prevents their potentially having to acknowledge they gutted mental healthcare years ago.
Addressing the crime problem would require the admission that enforcing the laws already on the books would stem the rising tide of “non-violent crimes.”
Instead, they introduce other distractions. If you look outside the “intelligentsia” you’ll find very little support for the ideas they’re pushing. But you’ll find lots of people distracted by these ideas that are anathemas to our founding documents and core beliefs.
Misdirection makes magic. Not all magic- or magicians- have our best interests at heart.
We’ll keep you posted.
— Jim Shepherd