In Sixteenth-Century Japan, there was a guy born as a peasant in a farming community; at that time, there was no caste system that prohibited his ascent, and he dreamed of becoming the most renowned and feared samurai in Japan. Because of his participation in some famous battles, and his political acumen, he did just that (the subject of Akira Kurosawa's "Samurai" trilogy). After the Tokugawa family instituted the hereditary shogunate, there was relative peace, and Miyamoto Musashi settled down and wrote "The Book of Five Rings", explaining his views regarding the management of conflict through the application of intelligent strategy. One of his key observations, I think, was the notion that it is a mistake to engage the enemy on his own battlefield. We apply the same principle when we talk about "the home court advantage" in sports. The trick is to make the enemy engage us on our battlefield. In the recent Virginia Citizens' Defense League alert regarding media coverage of 'lobby day', I found the following phrases, many used repetitively: Guns laws, the gun debate, gun-friendly bills, gun bills, gun-control, gun-control advocates and opponents, pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League, the gun-rights group, and pro-gun lawmakers. I didn't see anything in there at all on the subject of "personal defense"; the word, "defense" does not occur at all in the entire alert, except as a part of the name of the Virginia Citizens' Defense League. We are allowing ourselves to be placed on the defensive by our adoption of the characterizations made by the opponents of personal defense. It is obviously and plainly silly to have one's life governed by the worship of guns, but that's how we are portrayed. It is also silly to be focused on "the Second Amendment rights", because that is a mere abstraction, a principle. We are not being characterized as people who are interested in the practical implementation of that principle for the very good reasons for which that Amendment was added to the Constitution. Instead, we are characterized as people who worship some peculiar abstract principle, choosing one out of the entire Bill of Rights, and that we carry guns in the mistaken belief that the document says we can. What we don't seem to get is that is precisely why we are portrayed in that way - it conveys the image that we represent a threat to society. Either way, we're weird, whacked-out, wild-eyed, fringe group radical gun-rights nuts, not socially responsible, intellectually honest, and law-abiding citizens who recognize the dangers inherent in living in a world populated by humans, and who wish to have the capability of defending themselves, their homes, and their familes. Rather than being seen as the cornerstone of national defense, we are characterized as a threat to national defense, by people who support a governmental structure that has reason to fear its own citizens and wants the populace to be defenseless and dependent. When we buy into the opposition's view that it's all about guns, then there is no difference between ourselves and the violent criminals we seek the means to defend ourselves from. A man with a gun is a man with a gun, when the focus is on the gun. My suggestion: Stop talking about guns! Start talking about "personal defense". Promote your right to personal defense. It's all about personal defense, it's not about the guns. When you take out Badguy who's broken into your house at 2:00 a.m. and is threatening your children, what difference does it make whether you use a baseball bat or a shotgun, as long as it's effective? There are "gun laws", "gun restrictions" and so forth, and we can't deny that. But there is no "gun debate" - there is Lori Haas and her ilk talking to themselves about guns - we have no part in any such "debate", because we're about the present right, power, and duty of citizens to defend themselves, their homes, and their families. Instead, let's put THEM on the defensive, and ask them to join in the "personal defense debate" against the people who strive to outlaw personal defense. Stop explaining why we favor "gun rights" and demand that they explain why they are opposed to our ability to defend ourselves from violent criminals. There is a joke that resurfaces every now and then, to the effect that "gun control" consists in "using two hands". The reason that's funny is that it's not about the gun, it's about defense. That is the basic shift in the rhetoric I'm looking for. As long as we define ourselves in terms of guns, we lose. Here's an example: I've stopped talking about "global warming", and even "climate change". I'm now engaged in dialog over the topic of "weather reform". You see the shift in implication by the recharacterization of the concept. Here's the principle: possession is NOT "nine-tenths of the law": possession is one-tenth; how you CHARACTERIZE that possession is nine-tenths. PLEASE, stop talking about "gun rights" or "RKBA" or "2A Rights". Instead, illustrate your views about "personal defense" by showing how those ideas are instrumental in the real goal, which is simply the God-given (or "natural" if you like) right to defend yourself, your home, and your family against violent criminals. Show that murder-capital Prince George's County, Maryland is a "pro-crime" jurisdiction, because the citizens are legally prohibited from having the means to defend themselves, because they believe in, and have adopted, an insane theory they call "gun control". Become a "personal defense advocate", and make Lori Haas and the Brady Bunch explain why they're "personal defense opponents".