A Little Research Keeps You From Being Played Like a Fiddle

Caleb Keeter’s change of heart about gun rights after the Las Vegas mass shooting has gotten a lot of press in recent days.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pro gun machine is turning on him with push-back that he was never a “real” supporter of the Second Amendment anyway. I’ve only seen one such article so far, pointed out to me in response to a FaceBook post in which I linked to Keeter’s statement, but I fully expect it to get a lot of play and re-posting. People are going to read it, accept it as true, and look no further, even people who should know better. People are going to use it to call Keeter’s bona fides into question, to misrepresent his past statements because his current message has power.

I’m not going to link to it here because I don’t want to give it any backlink promotion, but you can find the article if you wish with a simple web search on the title: Did Caleb Keeter Really Switch On Second Amendment Stance. And, oh look, there it is already appearing on eight more pro gun web sites since this morning.

The article says that Keeter has tweets back to 2012 that advocate gun control, so clearly his supposed change of heart is a lie and he is just faking it to push the “anti-gun” agenda. Comments on the article already refer frequently to “just another lying liberal”.

To make his point, the author pulled a few previous tweets from Keeter’s Twitter stream. He acknowledges that he doesn’t have the full context behind some of the tweets, but he also chose to ignore the context that was available to him. The majority of the article’s argument is based on a few selectively pulled tweets from a December 2012 exchange with @BolandDrummer, just after the Sandy Hook School massacre. Reading the tweets in the article, even out of context, I could interpret them as being basically a “Federal incompetence/State’s rights” type of argument.

But the author conveniently ignores other tweets from the same stream where it’s clear Keeter is bringing out the same old gun rights talking points about just enforcing the laws that are already on the books, and not actually making any changes to laws or regulations. Plus there are these tweets, again in the same stream:

Sounds pretty pro gun to me.

The author only points out two other past Keeter tweets as evidence of his lying liarness. One of the “damning” tweets is oddly a pro gun quote from his dad. The other is a funny quote that apparently came up during a discussion about gun control with a friend. The article suggests these wouldn’t have possibly come up in an everyday conversation, so *gasp* Keeter must have been having a conversation about gun control. Sorry, but having a conversation about it isn’t the same thing as supporting it.

Oh, and BTW, these other two tweets that imply a conversation was being had about gun control? Those were in early January 2013, a FULL 2 WEEKS after Sandy Hook. Clearly there’s no way Keeter could still be having a conversation about it a FULL 2 WEEKS after a bunch of 1st graders were gunned down. I mean, come on! How likely is that?!?!? Who does that?!?!?

Then there’s this tweet the article conveniently missed from September 2012 that got some retweets:
“They may come for my gun, but all I’m giving up is my ammo. One round at a time.” (https://twitter.com/Calebkeeter/status/244120299921088512)

These tweets aren’t difficult to find. I pulled them up quickly during my morning commute on the bus and still had time to write most of this post. Maybe most people don’t know about Twitter’s advanced search commands, but anyone who could find the tweets referenced in the article could also find the tweets I mention above. In fact, they would have found them.

The article that’s going around is inaccurate, wrong, indeed lying. The author is relying on people just reading it and accepting it at face value, passing it along so Keeter’s message loses the power it clearly has in this discussion. And he will largely be successful because it confirms the bias of those most likely to read it.

I know there are examples of this type of thing happening on both sides of most polarizing issues these days. I make efforts to mitigate attempts to mislead and manipulate me by doing some basic research about the purported “facts” in Internet articles. You should, too.

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The link to the Twitter search results so you can see it all yourself, and the search commands, are copied below.

Enter into the Twitter search box: amendment OR gun OR guns OR firearm OR firearms @calebkeeter since:2010-01-01 until:2017-09-24

or click this link:
https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=Amendment%20OR%20gun%20OR%20guns%20OR%20firearm%20OR%20firearms%20%40calebkeeter%20since%3A2010-01-01%20until%3A2017-09-24&src=typd