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Iraqveteran8888 and Censorship of the Second Amendment

Eric from Iraqveteran8888 is one the of longest lasting dogs in the social media fight. And with that, comes years of seeing how the playing field has changed for not only those who create content, but the firearms industry as a whole. Watching the landscape shift as Gun culture grapples with the internet, Eric has seen more than his fair share of censorship, and took time to talk not only about what it looks like, but how it's part of a larger battle, and one with victories for those who believe in and live by the Second Amendment.

We took the opportunity to hear what he had to say about fighting Censorship and winning with the Second Amendment.

How did you get started with your Brand?

It’s funny, when we first started, influencers weren’t a thing. We were just some guys with a camera, and we’d go out into the backyard to try out a new hand load or a new gun. We started filming ourselves so we could have it as sort of a documentation of things we were already doing. We started posting them on YouTube, and are going on almost 14 years now. Back then, YouTube wasn’t the big animal it was today. When we started, we were just documenting what we were already doing, and we found that people started subscribing and reacting, and it kinda ended up being a thing. It wasn’t ever the intention. Even to this day, we’re still flying by the seats of our pants. At the end of the day we’re still rednecks with cameras and guns.


Your channel comes across as very organic, what is your mission statement or goal?  

Look at large businesses: they start with a mission statement, with a goal that usually looks like getting from point A to point B. We’ve never really had that, as in an uber-defined mission statement, but to me, our overall goal is to spread the idea that gun owners are normal people, and gun ownership is safe and normal. We have always felt it important to be politically engaged. The mind is our most important weapon, as well as the firearms we use to protect and it’s important to keep that alive in culture and our country. On our channel, it rings true that concept of wanting people to be self-sufficient, to think for themselves, and to arm themselves figuratively with knowledge, and with the guns to protect themselves, and that overall idea is something for everyone. I don’t side with one political side of the aisle.


That message is the backbone that brings good to your followers, and we find it strange that it would be so hard to get out.

Quite frankly, we’re outnumbered, dare I say algorithmically as well. Our voices collectively are censored, in some cases algorithmically, in others, outright pulled down. Videos are pulled down because they don’t support the narrative, and it goes to show hypocrisy. In some cases, if the information could have gotten out, maybe people who have died, would have lived. We don’t want to be in an echo chamber, but with all this censorship, we end up in one.

Adapt and overcome is always a motto, and we’ve done that as best as we can. Certainly it’s been an uphill battle, in terms of the message we spread, the type of people we are, the content that we share. I mean just being in the firearms realm. In terms of society, it can be somewhat of a taboo thing, but we’re trying to change that. We are fighting collectively, not only a cultural battle, but one of censorship.


When you look at these algorithms, humanity still hasn’t come to terms with what the internet is, so when you talk about censorship, it comes with baggage.  We often don’t see the action itself, but feel the effects. Do you have any examples with Iraqveteran8888?

I can certainly show instances where a couple of years ago, if I posted a melt-down video or a top 5 guns video, it might reach 2 or 3 million views in the first 90 days. There used to be a much larger potential for videos to go viral. And that change might be a shadow ban, or in the algorithm, and although we cannot see it, we can tell it’s there by what a video can do now versus what it did a few years ago. Now, a meltdown video might only get 250,000 views, where it used to get 3 million. I believe that is because they have an algorithm that prevents these videos from showing up in the recommended section. They’re not going to outright ban you, but they’ll let you have a place at the table.


Echo chambers typically refer to a situation lacking a diversity of voices, and as something to get out of, but you referred to them as something someone might get put into. How do you see these echo chambers in society?

The best way to think of echo chambers, is to imagine being in a prison cell, and all your friends are there, talking about how to get out. The problem is, you are all innocent. Another way I think about it is, we’re being shoved into the dark underbelly of society, of the internet. They want to keep us out of the eyes of the culture, out of the public. Because if they deny you a voice in their town hall, people will believe anything they say about you and there’s no conversation.


The book on censorship has been written, but you cannot defeat it with a debate. How have you adapted to beat Censorship? Do you have any success stories?

The way that you beat them, is by being normal. So one way you can get them is by living your life. Another way: look outside, the industry is booming right now. We win by continuing what we are doing, without falter, and continuing to support one another. That is a hill I will die on. The way you beat them is by living, by not letting the negativity get you down. It is a cultural war in which we are winning many battles. Americans are a culture of gun owners. The more people we bring in, the better. Owning guns has become a custodianship, something we pass on, and that has stuck in the culture. People take what you’re saying a little more seriously when they can see how far you’ve gone into thinking about it. The battlefield of the Second Amendment is everything that we already do.


Where to Find More from Eric at Iraqveteran8888:

YouTube: Iraqveteran8888

Instagram: @Iraqveteran8888_Official

Twitter: Iraqveteran8888

Website, for Merch, Podcasts, and More:

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