The NRA Should Have Never Messed With the Parkland Kids
I guess the NRA thought the Parkland school shooting would follow the script of every other massacre:
- Americans would call for our politicians to finally do something
- The NRA would then fundraise off the tragedy, and donate to their politicians to keep them in line
- The NRA politicians would then offer thoughts and prayers to the victims
- Rightwing pundits would then viciously attack the victims who dared to demand that more be done….and then attack them again… and again
- Americans would then decide, once again, that it's just best to throw up their hands and move on. Politicians would follow and give up any renewed effort to pass gun safety laws.
- Repeat steps 1-5 for the next big massacre the following week
After the Parkland killings, the NRA seemed to be humming along on schedule. They broke a record in fundraising right after the shooting, and Trump and Florida's politicians offered their thoughts and prayers. When the high school students started speaking out for politicians to do more, the NRA attacked them on cue.
They ran attack ads, called the survivors “civil terrorists,” and even peddled an outrageous conspiracy theory to Alex Jones that the Parkland students might have been actors. That should have done it.
But it was step #5 where things went off the rails. The students refused to go along with the script.
The students targeted the NRA, and those who kowtowed to them.
Emma Gonzalez literally called BS on inactive politicians. Her followers on Twitter grew larger than the NRA’s in just under a month. She demanded and got several companies to sever ties with the NRA. Dozens of companies, including United, Delta, Enterprise, Wyndham, First National Bank, and Alamo cut ties and left. Eventually, even FedEx had finally had enough of the backlash.
Cameron Kasky humiliated Marco Rubio on national TV by asking him to commit to not taking any more NRA money. (He wouldn’t). Kasky attended the State of the Union and the House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence.
Sarah Chadwick directly went after Dana Loesch and her despicable victim shaming.
Tyah-Amoy Roberts called for publicizing her photo if she dies from gun violence, and used her platform to bring attention to black communities being disproportionately affected by gun violence.
David Hogg continues to speak out against gun violence to any venue that will have him, despite violent threats against both his and his mother’s life. Ingraham tried to carry the NRA’s water by taunting him, and it backfired spectacularly.
Jaclyn Corin, who said “keep screaming at your Congressman,” made YouTube videos with millions of views attacking the NRA, and successfully fought off the gun lobby’s plan to put armed officers in Chatham schools.
These are just some of the amazing children from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The kids organized March for Our Lives. The NRA actually tried to stop it by going after the teen organizers, ironically saying that it was being led by “violent radicals.” They failed, as it became one of the largest protests in US history with 2 million participants. It didn’t stop there. The protest launched a movement, marchforourlives.com, which has local chapters that are dedicated to taking on the NRA.
The kids were relentless and often faced off with NRA spokespeople or politicians in national forums. They shamed Rick Scott into quietly canceling his appearance at the NRA’s annual conference. (Others withdrew soon afterward.) Rightwing Florida politicians actually discussed supporting a ban on assault rifles. Change was coming.
Then something happened. Gun control.
After years of signing ridiculous laws that made it easier and easier for mentally unbalanced people to obtain firearms and go on shooting sprees; Rick Scott, who wanted to be Florida’s new senator, was forced into signing into law our first significant gun restrictions in decades. The minimum age to buy an assault rifle in Florida is now 21, and there is a mandatory three-day waiting period. The law also banned bump stocks, which are devices that enable semiautomatic rifles to operate like they are fully automatic. Finally, the law created a system so that high risk, unstable individuals could be barred from owning a firearm.
Even Donald Trump, fearing the growing support for a law banning bump stocks, instituted a federal regulation banning those devices.
The kids weren’t finished.
They worked tirelessly in registering students across the nation for the 2018 midterm elections. They launched a “Road to Change” voter registration tour last summer. Their work delivered young voters to the polls in record numbers, which helped elect 64 freshman Democrats and forced over 30-backed NRA politicians out of office.
They can’t say they weren’t warned:
Florida school shooting survivor: “To Congress… you have the power to change this and if you don’t, then we will change you. We may be too young to vote, but soon we will be able to vote and we will vote you out.” https://t.co/3HR3rc1S7x pic.twitter.com/NdKNuRfbUF
— CNN (@CNN) February 21, 2018
For the first time, an Associated Press survey showed that eight percent of midterm voters named guns the nation’s top issue, with those voters overwhelmingly breaking for Democrats 4 to 1. In the past, politicians wouldn’t touch gun control, but eighty percent of the new freshman Democrats actually ran on a gun control platform. Not only that, the NRA was actually outspent by gun control groups for the first time in an election. Welcome to the new normal.
The NRA is unaccustomed to not being feared, and it’s truly amazing what just a little pressure has done to them.
The NRA leadership has turned on each other in an ugly civil war and is bleeding money. In 2016, the NRA was able to spend around 70 million mobilizing voters and buying online ads, but now, that’s roughly what they are losing annually. The group’s free fall has exposed extreme financial mismanagement. Excessive salaries, backroom deals, sexual-harassment charges (of course), ridiculous clothing allowances, expensive travel, and a secretive PR firm that refuses to say where its 40 million dollars annual budget goes.
The NRA brand is toxic, revenues are dropping, recruitment is way down, and the cherry on top—they are finally being investigated.
There is no way they will be able to support Donald Trump at anywhere close to the level they did back in 2016, which is why he’s screaming at them to “get their act together.” The NRA won’t be able to count on Russian money bailing them out this time.
As always, the kids are the ones leading the change. They showed the gun lobby was never anything to have feared and should have been taken on years ago.
I suppose since the kids have to risk facing a maniac with an assault rifle every day, the creepy old gun lobbyist doesn’t quite instill the same amount of terror.
To these amazing kids and this new generation:
I’m sorry our own politicians didn’t do their jobs and stand up for you. I’m sorry we had to rely on our own damn children to fight for legislation instead of allowing you to do things kids should be doing.
And yet, you are making it happen. You stepped up when no one else would.
Somebody had to.