The National Rifle Association, which has claimed for years to be the preeminent champion of the Second Amendment, shut down its Facebook page following the shooting in Connecticut last week. The NRA has also stopped posting on Twitter.
Prior to the shooting, the gun rights organization boasted of having 1.7 million likes on Facebook.
As we noted last week, there was a tsunami of tweets calling for the murder of David Keene, the president of the NRA, following the murders. “Calling for more senseless violence and murder will not bring these shooting victims back to life, neither will enacting stricter gun laws that shooters obviously do not follow when they commit these terrible crimes in the first place anyway,” Melissa Melton wrote for Infowars.com.
The NRA’s social media silence is likely a calculated response to a barrage of anti-gun messages on both Facebook and Twitter. In other words, the NRA apparently believes retreat and silence are preferable to responding to the irrational hysteria of the anti-gun crowd.
“The Daily Dot noted on Friday that the Facebook page had turned into a hotbed of anti-gun sentiment in the wake of the shooting, which may be what prompted the NRA to take it down,” Will Oremus writes for Slate today.
“Some have accused the organization of cowardice for taking down the Page and ceasing to tweet,” writes Josh Constine for Techcrunch. “However, this crisis-management strategy may be succeeding. It’s prevented creating a centralized place under the NRA banner where perspectives of its independent supporters could have been taken as its own. The last thing the NRA wants is to be characterized as sharing an extremist or offensive position posted by someone who doesn’t speak for it or the rest of its fans. Other brands and organizations might follow the NRA’s lead by retreating from social media when they face times of crisis.”
Despite a “war on its wall,” the NRA’s response can only be viewed as unprincipled retreat and surrender to the anti-gun crowd.
The NRA launched a tepid response to the vitriol of Fox Sports writer Jason Whitlock, who told CNN’s Roland Martin the NRA is comparable to the Ku Klux Klan.
Instead of using Whitlock’s tirade against the Second Amendment to underscore the viciousness of the anti-gun crowd’s agenda, the NRA issued a polite response.
“In the future we hope that Whitlock and others educate themselves on the sordid history of gun control, along with the defensive use of firearms during the civil rights era, before making inflammatory comments about an organization that has worked for generations to protect the rights of all people,” the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action blogged on December 6.
The NRA has demonstrated in the past that it is willing to compromise with enemies of the Second Amendment.
In 2010, the organization came out in support of HR 5667, the Firearms, Microstamping, Evaluation and Study Act. “Gun control advocates believe microstamping technologies combined with a registration list of guns and their owners would create a rapid identification system for firearms used in crime,” Illinois Gun reported on September 27, 2010.
The NRA also threw its weight behind the unconstiutiuonal firearms background check system. In 2007, the organization teamed up with notorious gun-grabbers such as Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Sen. Charles Schumer to push through a bill to “fix” the background check system.
“We’ll work with anyone, if you protect the rights of law-abiding people under the second amendment and you target people that shouldn’t have guns,” NRA chief Wayne LaPierre told CBS News.
“The NRA habitually rubs elbows with other declared gun-grabbers, for instance Chucky Schumer and Pat Leahy,” we noted at the time.
Instead of running scared from the gun-grabbers and their irrational and emotional supporters, the NRA would do better to confront them head-on. If that response entails hiring an army of people to post principled pro-Second Amendment responses on its Facebook wall, then the NRA should expend the extra effort.
What are we expected to think when the supposed preeminent gun rights organization backs down at the very moment enemies of the Constitution exploit a national tragedy to empower their effort to ultimately rob Americans of their natural right to self-protection – not only against insane psychopaths but also a tyrannical government?