The horrific shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. – other than the obvious evil present in killer Nikolas Cruz – have been the result of a massive breakdown of government institutions – from deputies who didn’t enter the school, to the many warnings about Cruz that were ignored by authorities, to the failure of federal, state and local lawmakers to fortify their schools with armed security to protect students and faculty after too many incidents already.
Nonetheless the pressure groups of the Left and the legacy media, in the immediate days following the incident, trained their sights on the National Rifle Association, its millions of members, its finances, its influence, and its corporate partners.
Never ones to let a good crisis go to waste, countless organizations and media enterprises made it their mission to outline how much NRA money supported various Congress members. It mattered not that no new gun laws would have prevented a determined Cruz from getting his weapons of mass destruction, nor would they have overcome the incompetence and cowardice of the law enforcement involved.
No, the agenda was to attack, weaken and – if it was possible – destroy their political opponents at the NRA (while not even paying attention to smaller, but more conservative pro-2nd Amendment groups like Gun Owners of American and National Association for Gun Rights). The murder of 17 teenagers was the perfect excuse for leftists to highlight for emotional knee-jerkers how (mostly) Republicans are in the “back-pocket” of the NRA because of political contributions, and are allegedly responsive to their every pro-gun freedom whim.
“As usual, the opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain,” said NRA president Wayne LaPierre at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week. “Saul Alinsky would have been proud of the breakneck speed for gun control laws and the breathless national media eager to smear the NRA.”
It’s silly to believe that members of Congress are “owned” by the NRA when their contributions (usually no more than $10,000 in an election cycle) to individual candidates are a pittance in light of the size of their entire campaign coffers, which run into the hundreds of thousands (and many of them, millions) of dollars per election.
The evidence points to the origins of the organized anti-gun backlash – an online group called “No NRA Money” that suddenly appeared – starting with a LGBT rights advocacy organization based in the Sunshine State. According to a report by the Daily Caller News Foundation, the website and activities of Equality Florida show clear ties to the operations of No NRA Money, with images and code promoting the gun control activity showing as being hosted on EF’s site. The gay advocacy group’s executive director, Nadine Smith, also appeared on MSNBC on February 16th to promote the anti-NRA pledge drive.
Despite those indicators, Smith described No NRA Money as a national “grassroots effort that came together online, from parents in particular,” and its efforts include attempts to get vows from candidates and voters to reject any affiliations or support from the NRA.
According to the web site, “NoNRAMoney.org was created for the sole purpose of telling candidates they must reject and denounce the NRA or they don’t get our votes. The simplicity of Grover Norquist’s No New Tax pledge but used for good not evil. Time to make the NRA radioactive.”
The professional activist (not “grassroots”) forces behind the attacks have also employed the old-fashioned union tactic, the corporate campaign, to attempt to defang the NRA. The 2nd Amendment group offers its millions of members, who pay dues annually, discounts and benefits from companies that have partnered with it. The highest profile rewards are travel perks from airlines and car rental companies, which the anti-gun extremists have shamed into separating from their associations with the NRA following the Florida shootings.
Many of the corporations, predictably, have dissolved their partnerships with NRA after the rabid left turned up the heat on them.
Among automobile renters, Enterprise Holdings (parent company of Enterprise, Alamo, and National), as well as Hertz, Avis and Budget, have all bailed on the NRA.
Delta Air Lines and United Airlines parted ways with the gun rights group also, as did moving companies North American and Allied Van Lines.
And insurer MetLife, home security company SimpliSafe, and cybersecurity firm Symantec (LifeLock identity theft prevention and Norton antivirus are its products) all backed away from NRA too.
First National Bank of Omaha decided to stop offering NRA-branded credit cards.
However, the liberals have not yet succeeded in what they hope to be big prizes – convincing technology companies Amazon, Apple, YouTube and Roku to stop carrying NRATV on its streaming television services.
And other companies have publicly stated they will not cow to the pressure from the Left.
While not totally avoiding the politics of the issue, FedEx stated that as a company it “opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians,” but “strongly support the constitutional right of U.S. citizens to own firearms subject to appropriate background checks.” With regard to business partnerships, the FedEx statement said, “NRA is one of hundreds of organizations in our alliances/association Marketing program whose members receive discounted rates for FedEx shipping,” and that would not change.
A group booking company, the private HotelPlanner.com, was even more resistant to the pressure.
“If you ask us to be part of your boycott war, that’s not what we’re about,” said Tim Hentschel, HotelPlanner.com’s CEO, on CNBC. “We’re about hospitality, welcoming all guests.”
There are already indications of backlash against the companies who severed ties with the NRA. First National Bank of Omaha’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were “flooded with comments,” according to the New York Times, with many vowing to take their business elsewhere.
In Georgia, where Delta houses its largest airline hub in Atlanta, state lawmakers have threatened to remove a $50-million jet fuel sales tax exemption.
“I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA,” tweeted Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Republican who is running for governor. “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.”