I don't know what holiday dinners are like at Michael Bloomberg's house, but I suspect there's an awful lot of picking at food while the windbag at the head of the table lectures the assembled guests about why he's right and they're all idiots. That's the message I get from his pet Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization, which wants its loyal minions, if there are any, to sit down to their Thanksgiving feasts and immediately start fights with relatives they haven't seen in a year about gun control. All you need is a handy list of tendentious talking points—and a shitload of patience from Cousin Bob, who rebuilds old pistols for fun and just wrapped himself around half a bottle of Jack Daniels.
On the Mayors Against Illegal Guns' "Demand Action" site, the tone for a holiday frolic is set by the Talking Turkey About Guns page:
Everyone has friends and relatives with strong opinions and shaky facts. You can help set the table straight -- all you need is this simple guide to Talking Turkey about guns!
The page adds:
This Thanksgiving, when talk around the table turns to politics and current events, you can help set the record straight on some of the most common myths about guns.
Cuz what everybody needs in the midst of what's likely to be family chatter, or maybe a heated argument about Obamacare for those who delve into politics over the good china, is a chipper grad student spouting five non sequitur factoids about firearms, with no larger knowledge about the subject, or even links to other information.
Seriously? You're going to ask people to plunge into a fraught topic, about which gun rights advocates tend to be extremely well-informed, with acontextual tidbits like:
FACT: We know that gun background checks work. Since it was created in 1998, the system has blocked more than 2 million sales to criminals and other dangerous people.
What happens when one of the gun owners at the table takes time from the real conversation to point out that those blocked sales almost never result in prosecutions because, according to the Justice Department itself, "the prohibiting factors are often minor or based on incidents that occurred many years in the past"?
Background checks catch people busted for pot or a bar fight decades ago. Real criminals don't go to gun stores. But you won't know that from a blurb on the Internet.
Tuccille family gatherings are incomplete without howling discussions about topics of great import, such as health care and the time septuagenarian Uncle Tony beat the crap out of three would-be muggers. While he was drunk. We like our arguments, a lot. But, unlike at the Bloomberg residence, and like at a lot of other homes, I suspect, nobody gets to lecture—it's give and take, and you need to come prepared. If all you have is a short list of talking points, there're gonna be two turkeys carved at the table.