The Internet is like driving. Everyone who drives faster than you is a psycho. Everyone who drives slower than you is a jackass. Everyone with an extreme opinion in either direction is a psycho. Everyone with a lesser opinion, as it were, is a jackass.
Gun laws / control has been popping up on my news feed a lot recently. I’ve already made my views on gun ownership clear. I saw a post referring to the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms, for my non-US readers) with the caption “27 words that have caused untold preventable deaths”. My knee jerk reaction was “jackass”. Then I had an epiphany
Just because it’s a knee jerk reaction doesn’t mean it has to come out of my mouth or be put down in writing. This person put his opinion out for public consumption. However, I don’t have to respond. I don’t have to rattle off a list of other things that fall under the “preventable death” umbrella. He may very well live outside the US where the culture surrounding civilian gun ownership is completely different. Starting a fight on Facebook won’t change his opinion. It’s the old cliche about mud wrestling with pigs. You’ll only get dirty and pig will enjoy it. I chose to leave it alone. I still disagree with him, but it’s not up to me to try and change his mind. In my own experience, I’ll only get more defensive and stubborn when my thoughts are called into question. It’s not because I’m questioning my own beliefs, but 9 times out 10, the approach is emotional rather than logical. That’s the very definition of a knee jerk reaction.
I’m guilty of this across the board. My mouth frequently starts going before my brain can get involved. I’ll pop off and say something I regret before the sentence can finish leaving my mouth. Stop, take a breath, and consider if this is something really worth fighting over. My parents frequently tell me to pick my battles. That moment was a prime example. My brain kicked in and I was able to back off. There are only 2 or 3 things I’m really willing to fight over. Gun laws are not on the list.
It’s so easy to get sucked into pointless disagreements online. The Internet has tons and tons of positive things to offer. It’s up to me to let the petty bullshit go. It’s not worth my time or energy.