Advocacy: The power of testimonials

Sample of testimonial flyer
Sample of testimonial flyer

How do you build support for your project, business or campaign?

There are a lot of tools at your disposal, but one of the most effective tools is garnering support via third-party testimonials.

Third-party voices reinforce your own messaging and they build credibility for your project.

The most powerful persuader in the marketplace, apart from a customer’s own experience, is the opinion of someone they trust, according to Cutting Edge PR.

Authentic testimonials can be produced in both traditional and non-traditional ways: from letters to the editor and op-eds in local newspapers to short videos that can be posted on social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Consider the following research:

  • 90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations over traditional marketing efforts;
  • 81 percent of customers reach out to friends and family members on social networking sites for advice before purchasing products;
  • 59 percent of consumers say user-generated product reviews have a significant impact on their buying behavior.

These trends are just as important when trying to rally support for a community project or a political campaign.

People trust authentic, independent voices.

A campaign sign placed by the side of the road is one thing, but a campaign sign on a person’s lawn reinforces the candidate’s support in the community.

Advocacy works best when it’s delivered by people outside your project team. I have been helping a variety of clients find and recruit third-party endorsers for more than a decade.

Third-party voices are an effective tool with proven results.

I invite you to contact me to discuss how I can put my years of experience in building community support to work for you.


 

Randy Seaver is a former newspaper reporter and editor. He also has more than a decade of experience as a strategic communications consultant, helping a wide range of clients overcome challenges in the court of public opinion.  Learn More

 

Political shakeup in Saco

Following the unexpected announcement that State Sen. Linda Valentino (D) will not seek re-election for a third term in the senate, there has been a seismic shift in the city of Saco’s political landscape.

State Rep. Justin Chenette — Valentino’s protegé —  announced simultaneously that he would seek Valentino’s seat. Both moves were kept secret until  they were announced on these pages just two  days before Saco’s Democratic Caucus.

State Rep. Barry Hobbins, a Democrat who served the district as a state senator for four terms before Valentino, said he was caught off guard by the announcement.

During Sunday’s Caucus, Hobbins praised Valentino’s leadership and announced that he also would seek his party’s nomination for the senate seat.

That leaves the city of Saco with two open House seats.

According to Chenette’s Facebook page, which has become his temporary, default campaign headquarters, Katie Purdy, a political newcomer and Chenette supporter, will seek Justin’s House seat that represents the north and western portions of the city.

Donna Bailey
Donna Bailey

A more experienced candidate will seek Hobbins’ House seat, which represents the south eastern section of the city.

Donna Bailey, a well-known Democrat, will make her first legislative run.

A former York County Probate judge, Bailey has lived in Saco for 23 years. She is married with two children and two grandchildren.

She previously served on the Saco Zoning Board of Appeals and is currently serving as a member of the city’s Planning Board.

She is an attorney practicing probate, family and real estate law.

No word yet on Republican candidates for either the Senate seat or two open House seats in Saco. Stay tuned.

The Write Stuff: Make your message sing

Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness — Georges Simenon

Most everyone thinks they are a decent writer, but there is always room for improvement.  Improving your written content — whether it’s a press release, a brochure or web-based content — is not difficult. It just takes practice and adherence to a few basic rules of grammar and style.

DSCN4461If you are knee-deep in developing a new product, launching a business or just wanting to share your message, you may not have the time or expertise to develop skillful messaging that will hook and captivate your audience.

People will judge you by the words you write and distribute. You want to make the right impression. You want your words to matter.

This is when you should consider hiring a professional writer who can craft written copy that is crisp, clear and compelling.

Pro-Tips:

Crisp: Your writing should flow smoothly, not ramble. Stick to the main points. Keep on message and use words that grab your prospective reader’s attention. If you are writing a press release, think about the editor on the receiving end of your words. The old adage applies: less is more. Don’t make the reader work to understand your point. Avoid complex sentence structure.

Clear: Writers instinctively want to impress their readers, but unless you are writing a novel keep your sentence structure simple: subject, verb, object. Choose your hook wisely and then expand on that theme. Avoid cliches and jargon. (Example: “win-win” or “let’s be clear”)

Compelling: Think about your subject matter. Make a list of no more than 10 things that make your subject important. Remember: newspaper editors and the general public are barraged with thousands of written and spoken words every day. What is going to make your message stand out?

If you break your arm, odds are that you will seek the help of a professional. It’s really no different when it comes to producing written copy for your project, campaign or business. Do you really want to wonder if there is a split-infinitive in your copy, or do you want to leave that work to a professional?

The guidelines above are just a few easy ways to improve your writing, but there are many more.

For example, if you’re writing press releases think like a reporter or an editor. The best way to do this is to write like a reporter or an editor. Most reporters and editors use the AP (Associated Press) Style Guide.

If you want a refresher course on basic grammar and style, then you should spend a few dollars and pick up a copy of The Elements of Style.

Writing is important for your success, but it does not have to be a chore.

I invite you to contact me to discuss how I can put my years of experience as a newspaper editor and professional writer to work for you.


 

Randy Seaver is a former newspaper reporter and editor. He also has more than a decade of experience as a strategic communications consultant, helping a wide range of clients overcome challenges in the court of public opinion.  Learn More

 

 

Bad News for Saco, Good News for Saco

BREAKING NEWS . . . And this just in from over the transom:

ValentinoAccording to multiple sources, State Senator Linda Valentino, a Democrat, is expected to announce Sunday (March 6) that she will not seek reelection to the Maine State Senate.

Valentino, who has served two terms in the Senate and is now a member of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, has reportedly made her decision for family reasons. After this term, she would have been eligible to serve two more terms under Maine’s term limits law.

On the heels of Sen. David Dutremble’s unexpected resignation from the State Senate a few weeks ago, a departure by Valentino will leave a noticeable void in legislative leadership for the tri-community area.

Dutremble, a fellow Democrat, represented the city of Biddeford. Valentino represents the communities of Saco, Old Orchard Beach as well as Hollis, Limington and parts of Buxton.

The two openings will surely delight Maine Republicans who already hold a majority in the Maine Senate.

During her tenure, Valentino has proven herself to be an independent leader who often questioned her own party. Her colleagues describe her as “passionate, meticulous and hard-working.” There is no doubt that her withdrawal from public service will leave a huge void in experienced political leadership in Saco.

Good News, Experience Matters

There is a silver lining in Valentino’s expected departure from politics. State Rep. Barry Hobbins, also a Democrat, could easily bring his many years of experience and leadership to bear for the district.

hobbbjFirst elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1972, Hobbins has decades of experience and a proven track record of success. He is highly regarded on both sides of the political aisle and he has the insight and political connections necessary to deliver exceptional service. A skilled attorney, he has served a total of eight terms in the Maine House of Representatives and five terms in the Maine Senate.

Few people understand and can navigate Augusta’s political landscape better than Hobbins. He has won each of his elections with wide margins of support, and there is a reason for that. Hobbins knows the district and its people. He knows how to get things done.

In what is expected to be a bitterly partisan legislative session next year, Hobbins would be a moderate voice of reason who will work hard to ensure that state government does not roll off the rails because of political stalemates and tension between the two parties.

Hobbins will almost certainly step up and fill the void being left by Valentino. Such a move will be good for Saco, the tri-community area and the state of Maine. Saco Democrats caucus on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Fairfield School, so the hall will be buzzing.

My prediction is the Dems don’t take any chances during the upcoming election cycle. They need a political heavyweight in that spot. Count on Hobbins being Saco’s next state senator.

Public Relations: the good, the bad and the ugly

handsAsk one hundred different people to define “public relations” and you’ll probably receive nearly 100 different responses, many of them with negative connotations.

A lot of people view PR as some sort of shell game, something that is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Pay us enough and we’ll convince the world that your product, brand or reputation is infallible.

There is an old joke in the consulting industry: “If you’re not part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.”

Even some PR pros think that a few “white lies” are often necessary to achieve success for their clients, as outlined in this story from USA Today.

I see things differently. I don’t think of PR as “public relations.” I think of PR as “public relationships,” and there is a distinct difference.

Take a moment and consider the relationships that are most important to you: your partner, your spouse, your friends, your boss or even your neighbors.

Good relationships are built on a solid foundation of trust. If you don’t trust your spouse, your marriage is likely doomed. It’s not different when it comes to public relationships.

The truth vs. The Narrative?

The public is more savvy than most PR pros give them credit for. The public yearns for truth and integrity, and will generally forgive a misstep, so as long as the offender is transparent and contrite about their mistake.

Sure you can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can even fool all of the people some of the time. But you simply cannot fool all the people all of the time.

Developing a strong and compelling narrative for your client is essential, but that narrative must be rooted in truth and genuine honesty. This is how you build strong relationships. And there is nothing more important in the world of PR than having a strong relationship with your audience.

As an example, I point you to the popularity of two very different candidates vying to be the next president of the United States: Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, two very different men on completely different sides of the political spectrum.

Sanders, a self-described socialist; and Trump, a billionaire reality TV star, have defied the odds and speculation of the pundits. As the two men continue their campaigns, the pundits now say that the candidates have both tapped into the anger of a very cynical electorate.

I beg to differ.

I think those who passionately support Sanders or Trump view their respective candidates as “honest” This trait causes those supporters to overlook flaws in either candidate.

Sure, voters always like a candidate who tells them what they want to hear, but they become passionate when they believe the candidate is being honest.

A relationship without honesty is like a bicycle without tires. Neither one is of much use.

Building relationships takes time and hard work. But every good relationship must be built on the foundation of honesty.


 

Randy Seaver is a former newspaper reporter and editor. He also has more than a decade of experience as a strategic communications consultant, helping a wide range of clients overcome challenges in the court of public opinion.  Learn More

 

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Robert Johnson Album Cover
Robert Johnson Album Cover

I have a lot in common with my hometown of Biddeford.

I am at a crossroads, and I have decided that all good things must come to an end. It’s been an incredibly fun ride, but it’s time for me to make some changes.

You may have already noticed, but last week I put All Along the Watchtower — my personal blog — to bed.

Going forward, this site will focus solely on my new business venture. The blog posts will be less personal and focused more on subjects such as public policy, politics, economic development, media trends and healthcare.

The timing for this seemed right. For many years, All Along the Watchtower focused primarily on the city of Biddeford and its political infrastructure. Because my wife was recently elected to the Biddeford City Council, it would be increasingly difficult to write about the city objectively.

And then, I decided to start my own business.

Many people have asked why I decided to launch Randy Seaver Consulting. A number of factors converged; some anticipated, some beyond my control.

Laura and I have been talking about doing this for more than a year, and finally the time seemed right. So, I find myself at a crossroads. A proverbial turning point in my life.

It is exciting and simultaneously terrifying. There is no safety net. Either I swim or I drown.

Now, with the disclosure out of the way, I would like to offer a few final thoughts on my hometown of Biddeford, a city that is facing its own crossroads; its own turning point.

Biddeford is in the midst of a renaissance, a revitalization that would be impossible to recognize 15 or 20 years ago. There is a new vibrancy here. The city’s narrative is changing and people all over Maine are noticing.

But still, there is an internal conflict in the city and it’s not so subtle sometimes.

I read something on Facebook recently that left me shaking my head. It was penned by a woman who claimed she moved here three weeks ago.

Essentially, this woman wrote that the city does not need a parking garage because downtown has nothing to offer but crime and crappy businesses. Who would want to come here? Why would they need parking? There is already plenty of street parking because Biddeford — basically — sucks.

I fought the urge to respond to this woman. I had a few questions for her. 1.) Why did you choose to move to Biddeford, if it is truly as bad as you say? 2.) Were you court-ordered to move here? 3.) Did someone force you to live here?

I understand that change is uncomfortable. I am experiencing my own incredible set of changes (and challenges). But change is part of growth while stagnation leads to decay.

I can appreciate the apprehension some people have about the city’s transformation. I also fully support the notion of constructive criticism from people who are worried about being priced out of their homes because of property taxes. These conversations happen in every community across the country.

But Biddeford has something unique, there is a strong element of self-loathing here.

Over the last few months, countless social media accounts have been set up for no other purpose than to spread negativity and vitriol through the city. No solutions are offered, none of these folks step forward to actually do anything other than gripe.

Self-hatred is prevalent here, and I wonder why more of our residents are not rooting for the city’s success. I don’t expect anyone to become a cheerleader. I respect different opinions and perspectives, but if you stay focused on the negative then you will find yourself in a negative place.

I am at a crossroads, and if I want to be successful, I must focus on success.

If I want my clients to succeed then I must keep my energy positive while also remaining open to constructive criticism.

It is the same for my hometown.

I am excited and anxious about my future. It’s no different in Biddeford.

 

 

What would you do?

reportersMany moons ago, when I was an editor at a weekly newspaper, we used to run a section in the paper that was known as the Police Notes.

It’s a common practice for smaller, local newspapers to run such police blotters, but we used to have a little fun with ours by giving each blurb a humorous sub headline,  and we never included names.

For example, a police report regarding a complaint about a neighbor’s dog doing his business in the neighbor’s yard might be titled “Canine Travels for Business” The blurb would read something like this ” An Elm Street man called police to report that a neighbor’s dog has been repeatedly defecating on his lawn.”

We sought out the most amusing police notes from the three communities we covered. More serious crimes were covered in other parts of the paper. But still, we had access to all police reports, so everything was theoretically fair game.

There are different standards when writing news stories. For example, if a city councilor were arrested for an OUI offense that story would likely be on the front page. If an average citizen were arrested for the same exact crime, it would likely end up in the police blotter without his name.

Police officers are also held to different standards than firefighters. Why? Because a police officer has authority over citizens and a sworn duty to uphold the law. A basic firefighter or public works employee has no such authority.

Bottom line: some people are treated differently by the media, most notably public officials and those who have thrust themselves into the public spotlight. An obituary for a long-time city volunteer and former school teacher would likely run longer than an obituary for someone who was not as well-known in the community.

These are always tough judgment calls for reporters and editors.

I remember one particular item that gave me pause. The adult child of a city official was arrested on a domestic violence charge.

Was this “news” simply because of the relation to a city official? I eventually decided it was not. Typically, domestic violence reports were covered in our Police Notes, not in the news section of the paper.

But if you were a newspaper editor, where would you draw the line? Do the actions of a municipal official’s relative (sibling, child or parent) warrant a news story?

What if the governor’s brother were indicted on charges of mail fraud? For me, that’s an easier question to answer.

On a higher level, the media usually keeps a clear distance when reporting on the children of the President of the United States, but President Jimmy Carter’s brother, Billy, seemed like fair game.

These are all tough judgment calls, and they become more murky as we descend lower on the authority scale. Certainly a city councilor wields much less influence than a state senator or governor.

So, I made a choice. I decided not to pursue a story about this councilor’s adult son. The action’s of the son were not directly connected to the councilor. Thus, in my opinion, it was not fair game and would be in poor taste to publish such a news story. In short, it would be sensationalism and had no impact on residents in that community.

Where do you think the media should draw a line?

I never wonder whether I made the right choice. I am as confident in my decision today as I was 13 years ago.

But what would you have done?

The Outsiders

outsidersUp until two months ago, most political consultants within the DC Beltway would tell you that you need a “moderate” candidate in order to win an election. That candidate, the consultants would tell you, should be a centrist, an establishment-type, someone who makes most people safe and secure. Someone predictable.

Outsiders, consultants explain, are unknown quantities; unable to steal votes from the sacred independent, middle-of-the-road voters who often carry much weight in so-called purple states like Ohio.

Conventional wisdom dictates that in order to win the general election, the primary candidate has to draw from the middle to outpace his/her opponent.

This presidential race is unlike many other races in recent history, for both the Democrats and the Republicans. But is there any truth in the theory that moderate candidates are effective for either party?

The establishment didn’t work for the GOP

Republicans bristle at the idea of an “establishment” centrist candidate. They point to the last 20 years, in which they have won only two presidential elections after unsuccessfully nominating Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

In each of those Republican primaries, anti-establishment outsiders were quickly sent packing. Sam Brownback, Jim Gimore and Tom Trancedo were all anti-establishment outsiders in the 2008 GOP race. Rick Santorum, Buddy Roema, Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry were all anti-establishment, political outsiders. Where are they today?

The establishment rarely works for Democrats

In 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton’s star was shining brightly. She seemed to be the heir apparent for the Democratic nomination. She was, by definition, a Washington insider and portrayed herself in the same mold as her husband: a pragmatic moderate who could get things done.

But a war-weary electorate was looking for something fresh. They rejected all the insiders (Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards and Bill Richardson), instead rolling the dice on a virtual poltical unknown with almost no experience in Washington DC.

But the election of Barack Obama was an anomaly in politics. It defied conventional wisdom. Clinton’s campaign consultants wound up with egg on their faces.

In 2000, the Democrats took the safe bet with Al Gore, who is about as establishment as they come. Of course, we all know that Gore came within inches of winning that election, and that he was able to sway independent voters. But still, it was not enough.

Four years later, John Kerry, another insider and establishment type fended off political outsiders such as Howard Dean and Wesley Clark. He also beat other insiders Dick Gephardt, Joe Lieberman and Dennis Kucinich.

When outsiders make a splash

Many Republicans still blame billionaire Ross Perot for handing Democrat Bill Clinton a victory over President George HW Bush in 1992; and Democrats still seethe when they speculate about the damage that Ralph Nader played in 2000, supposedly stealing very critical votes from Al Gore.

This campaign cycle, both the Democratic Party and Republicans have their hands filled with so-called outsiders.

I don’t know how you describe Bernie Sanders as an “outsider” because he’s been a part of Washington’s infrastructure for nearly 16 years. But he is most certainly not an “establishment,” middle of the road candidate. He is a self-described socialist, but his poll numbers look good in both Iowa and New Hamshire. He will likely get crushed in South Carolina, but are Democrats fired up enough to “feel the bern” past Nevada?

And then there’s Donald Trump, a candidate who is all over the map. Trump defies every ounce of campaign logic known to man.

The establishment is beside itself. The National Review and Rich Lowry can’t stop him or slow him down. His off-the-cuff remarks about immigrants, Muslims and even war heroes only makes him more popular.

He is an egomaniac who has filed for bankruptcy four times. Yet, he describes himself as a fiscal conservative who can make “America Great Again.” (He’s just short on specifics)

So maybe, just maybe, this will be the year when Republican voters tell the consultants to just stuff it.

 

 

 

Money for nothing

Ben Chin (Sun Journal Photo)
Ben Chin (Sun Journal Photo)

There were a few lessons to be learned this week for campaign operatives and political junkies in Maine.

1.) A financial war chest does not necessarily win an election;

2.) Voters in small communities become weary of aggressive campaigning that lasts for more than two or three months; and

3.) Negative campaign tactics still work, despite the fact that most people will say negative campaigning is a turn-off.

Lewiston’s mayoral race, in which Robert Macdonald won a third term, garnered national media attention. Tuesday’s run-off results were reported by media outlets across the country, including NBC News and the New York Times.

Although Ben Chin, a progressive Democrat, got the most votes during a five-way race for the mayor’s seat in the November 2015 election, a runoff election was required by the city’s charter because he did not capture at least 50 percent of the vote.

Democrats tend to favor run-off elections and/or a concept known as ranked choice voting, but Tuesday’s results bit them in the ass, when Republican Macdonald came out on top, 53-47 percent over Chin.

What would have otherwise been a small community election became amplified when the campaign took an ugly turn in October.

Several signs that featured a caricature of an Asian man were hung on buildings in Lewiston. Those signs contained a blatantly racist message: “Don’t vote for Ho Chi Chin. Vote for more jobs not more welfare,” according to the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Is cash really king?

Robert Macdonald (Portland Press Herald photo)
Robert Macdonald (Portland Press Herald photo)

Because of the national attention, Chin’s campaign was able to raise a whopping $87,800. Maine Democrats wanted to send a message and large amounts of money poured in from all over Maine and across the country. Chin, the political director for the Maine People’s Alliance, was able to turn on one of the state’s biggest political machines.

In total, Chin’s campaign raised roughly 15 times more than Macdonald’s campaign, which raised $5,800.

By contrast, in the city of Biddeford, a typical mayoral campaign raises somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000. This year, however, Mayor Alan Casavant raised a paltry $1,270 and spent $818 of it to secure a third term. He got 2,494 votes at a cost of roughly 33 cents per vote.

Chin garnered 3,826 votes; spending nearly $23 per vote. Macdonald, on the other hand, garnered 4,398 votes; spending roughly $1.32 per vote.

Chin edged out second-place finisher Macdonald in November, but Macdonald won Tuesday’s runoff, despite being outspent roughly 15-1. Why?

Almost every one I speak to about this race has a different theory, but I think voters were turned off by an incredibly aggressive campaign that was raising so much cash from outside of the city.

It was a bit over the top.

Voter fatigue?

According to the city of Lewiston’s web site, 33.5 percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots in the November election. That number dropped slightly on Tuesday, when 32 percent of the city’s voters cast ballots during the runoff election.

By contrast, slightly more than 30 percent of voters in Biddeford cast ballots in that city’s 2015 mayoral election.

Mayoral campaigns in cities like Biddeford or Lewiston usually have a shelf-life of between two or three months. Tuesday’s run-off election added another month to the process. I heard stories of voters being weary of door-knocking and incessant telephone calls.

Sometimes, too much of a good thing (grassroots campaigning and cash) can be a bad thing.

One friend of mine recently speculated that Lewiston’s voters are conservative (and perhaps just a tad racist). He failed to explain how Chin, a progressive Democrat, came out on top in November if a majority of Lewiston’s voters are bigoted or conservative.

In fact, Lewiston, which is a lot like Biddeford, has historically been a bastion for conservative, traditional Democrats (mill workers and Franco-Americans).

Macdonald, a former police detective and Vietnam War veteran, is  a blunt speaker and has a propensity for being “politically incorrect.”

When you consider all these factors, it’s no wonder that a small Maine city’s mayoral race attracted national attention.

It was a campaign that defied conventional wisdom, and it offered some lessons for all of us.

 

 

A plea to responsible gun owners

Note: The following was penned by my friend and former colleague Tobey Williamson who now lives in Hawaii. It is provocative, and I thought my readers may want to consider his point of view.

police lineDear Responsible Gun Owners with Good Hearts:

I know more than a few of you, and I want you to keep your guns and buy more of them. Buy as many as you want. Keep them locked up. Safe from the [mentally ill] and from the kids. Keep them ready in case we really do one day have to organize a militia to fight against an extremist government that knows everything about its enemies and employs drones to kill us remotely. At least we’ll be able to shoot a few of those fuckers out of the sky before we run out of bullets.

In the meantime let’s teach our kids to hit a target at 1000 yards in a gale force wind with their hearts racing at 100 beats per minute. Teach them to respect these weapons, these tools of food security, these protectors of our freedom. Make sure they know never to point them at any person unless they intend to pull the trigger—and that they understand the inevitable consequences of such a decision. Bring them hunting and show them the proper reverence when the spark leaves the eye of the animal we take to sustain our own through the winter.

However, I implore you to look into your heart and consider that it is only flesh and that it beats for your loved ones. Who are themselves flesh and blood that can never be put back together once torn apart by bullets. Think of them when you begin to change the conversation we are having as a country, when you become the voice of reason that leads us away from this chaos. No one else has the credibility or the common sense that you have. Nor does anyone else shoulder the same responsibility.

Rights do come with responsibilities; at least they do in a world that makes sense. So, as a rightful owner of as much firepower as you can buy, it is your responsibility to speak out and take real action against this mayhem and senseless violence that can strike any of us at any time. This is a deadly serious issue and at the moment not only is the violence insane, but so is the conversation about it.

The vast majority of people just want to go about our business without fearing for our lives. When we hear that new laws are not the answer because we do not enforce the ones we have, or that its because we have poor mental health services we say, “ok, lets fix all of these problems.” When we hear that a person intent on killing another person will find a way with or without a gun, we say, “ok, lets make it as hard as possible for them to do that.”

When we hear that the only answer to the problem of gun violence is more guns, we are incredulous. This is the same absurd logic that created the nuclear arms race. Must we all endure escalating shootouts started by the heavily armed people everywhere in our midst who eventually draw at the slightest crooked glance? Is that when we can decide that this default strategy is not working?

Seriously, think through the scenario of the “good guys with guns” argument. It is not like the bad guys are all wearing black and white-striped jumpsuits or something. If everyone has guns out, who knows whose got a good heart then? Just imagining the situation in the comfort of your heavily armed home should give you pause. Within the chaos, will you really know who to shoot at? Are you sure the other guys packing heat would know not to shoot you? The rest of us caught in the crossfire don’t want any part of it, thanks.

End the insanity. Stand up for your rights. But for fuck’s sake, for our kids’ sake, take care of your responsibilities. Come to the table and be a part of the solution.

Sincerely,
A non gun owner who does not hate guns but hates gun violence.