Tag Archives: gun control

Why can’t the NRA be like Johnson & Johnson?

NRA is using a lot of fire power to thwart the Sensible Gun Laws now before Congress.

It frosts me this lobbying group, one of the country’s strongest marketing firms, hides behind the Second Amendment to help sell big guns.

Gabrielle Giffords, speaks at Wednesday's Senate hearings on gun control. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Gabrielle Giffords, speaks at Wednesday’s Senate hearings on gun control. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

I found a fascinating article posted Thursday on Rolling Stone Politics. I’ve tried to excerpt some salient points but it’s loaded with information about the NRA’s commitment to selling military-style weapons and why, and with details about the gun manufacturers on its board.

It’s frightening really.

Please read the article; “The NRA vs. America.”

Here are a two things in particular that rocked me:

1.  “Billing itself as the nation’s “oldest civil rights organization,” the NRA still claims to represent the interests of marksmen, hunters and responsible gun owners. But over the past decade and a half, the NRA has morphed into a front group for the firearms industry, whose profits are increasingly dependent on the sale of military-bred weapons like the assault rifles used in the massacres at Newtown and Aurora, Colorado. 

2. “The NRA’s board is stocked with industry brass. Pete Brownell, president of Brownells – an Internet arms superstore that features “ultrahigh-capacity magazines” … Another board seat belongs to Ronnie Barrett, CEO of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, whose company produces .50-caliber sniper rifles capable of piercing armor from nearly a mile away. Barrett’s firm also sells scope-mounted ballistics computers that enable clueless civilians to hit targets like they were special-forces snipers. The ammunitions side of the industry finds a voice in board member Stephen Hornady, whose company peddles armor-piercing bullets and trades on the slogan “Accurate. Deadly. Dependable.” 

Also from the article, “The NRA insists in its publications that it is “not a trade organization” and that it is “not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition. That is a lie. NRA’s corporate patrons include 22 firearms manufacturers, 12 of which are makers of assault weapons with household names like Beretta and Ruger, according to a 2011 analysis by the Violence Policy Center. The report, drawn from the NRA’s own disclosures, also identified gifts from dozens of firms that profit from high-capacity magazines, including Browning and Remington.”

When I think of those killed by these “products,” if you will, I am reminded about the 1982 Tylenol scare.

Seven people were killed in September and October after an employee laced capsules with cyanide. While the culprit has never been caught, the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has been credited with its immediate action, i.e., warnings on prime time news from the CEO, 31 million bottles recalled representing more than $100 million in sales.

Says Wikipedia,

“The company also advertised in the national media for individuals not to consume any products that contained acetaminophen. When it was determined that only capsules were tampered with, they offered to exchange all Tylenol capsules already purchased by the public with solid tablets.”

How can we, the American public, allow the NRA to avoid liability? Oh, the Bush Administration helped the NRA with that little detail, according to the Rolling Stones article.

As a marketer, I think of the companies that have had to change their corporate directions at best or simply alter their marketing strategies after the media or consumer groups pointed out the errors of their ways.

Even when people didn’t die!

When Johnson & Johnson’s product killed people, the company launched an immediate national campaign to prevent more deaths. When Audi brakes caused accidents and even deaths in the late 80s, the company responded by retooling. McDonald’s added salads and now a Happy Meal includes a book rather than a toy. Even big old Coca Cola is getting the message that too much sugar isn’t good for its customers.

Is the NRA greater than the cigarette lobby? I guess so. That’s scary.

And we are weak.

We want sugar, Big Macs, big guns. It’s America. We can buy whatever we want. And hurt ourselves with cigarettes, fat, sugar, gas guzzling vehicles …

… but I learned a long time ago that your freedom ends where mine begins. And I don’t want violence in our schools, my community, my country. No I am not a Pollyanna. I am a peaceful soul wishing for a peaceful world. I wish it everyday.

Talking about it will do nothing.

Contact your congress person and tell them you support the President’s plan to reduce gun violence. It doesn’t mean an individual will have to give up his or her guns. Here it is from the Obama-Biden email:

THE PRESIDENT’S PLAN INCLUDES:

  1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands
  2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and taking other common sense steps
  3. Making schools safer
  4. Increasing access to mental health services

Forever there have been people who feel a need to wield power over others. Sadly, I don’t believe human nature will change enough for us to be a peaceful people. But we can work for peace in our own corners of the world. Please support the President’s plan.

Mayans were right, at least for Newtown

Hooray! It’s not the end of the world. We’ve thought the Mayans were wrong and we were right. Woohoo. But with Sandy Hill Elementary School as a backdrop, the end of the world did come last Friday for 26 individuals and, in a painfully lasting way, their families.

I’ve been struggling to make sense of our country’s guns laws and the Second Amendment. Our founding fathers, 221 years ago, gave us the right to bear arms, the right to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government. Pundits on both sides say we should arm everyone, or we should only have guns for hunting, for sport.

“Two-hundred fifty million guns wouldn’t do much good against tanks, drones, bombers … ,”  one said.  “Shouldn’t we vote them out of office rather than shoot them out?”another said.

Huh, I thought. Vote them out of office. Wait a minute.

We’re fighting too many battles in Africa and the Middle East to give people the right to vote. We want to “give them” democracy so they can vote into office leaders who will lead, presumably, as ours do – with what? Dignity? Humanity? A penchant toward collaboration? Have you seen what’s been going on in Washington? Of course you have. And we’re a role model for the world? Makes me sad.

I was in a store run by an Asian couple last week when the Newtown massacre came blaring over the big-screen tv hanging in the corner. We all watched in horror as the story unfolded. “Only in America,” said the Asian man. “I’m not so sure,” I said. “Was it Norway that suffered a tremendous national blow last year when a guy shot up a school?” “It was a camp,” said another patron.

I heard this week that Norway had its gun policy revised in a week.

It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around this. We want to help other countries find democracy. We want them to vote for leaders who will embrace democracy. We’re using guns but also reasoning (and sanctions) to help them see the errors of their ways. What about us? The leader of the free world and we’ve got outdated gun laws (oh and capital punishment but that’s another story.)

I understand that giving people have freedom to do as they choose. But I learned many years ago my freedom ends where yours begins. I don’t want to have to carry a gun to protect myself from people who can’t control themselves. Trayvon Martin was shot by a man who said he was only trying to protect himself.

What’s the right thing to do? I don’t have an answer but discussion about gun law reform seems to be in order. The Second Amendment is more than 200 years old when the country was concerned about tyranny. Today our country is the world’s watchdog for democratic leadership not tyranny. I am naive about many things but I don’t believe the rest of the world would allow a tyrannical government to form anywhere again. Isn’t that we’ve joined forces against modern-day tyrannists?

A few weeks ago, I thought today’s WordScarab post would be about the Solstice – the end of darkness, a return to longer days. I hope somehow the family and friends of those who lost loved ones in Newtown find light in these dark days. We’ve got to trust that something important, something lasting, something positive is going to come from this.

Keep a cool head. Peace out.

Keep a cool head. Peace out.