Saturday, September 5, 2020

Memes are not EZ.



A recent Facebook-posted meme gave me pause. It posed the question: Why does BLM have to answer for looters, but the NRA doesn't have to answer for school shooters. 

My first impression was that the root intent of that meme, rather than to call out any organization's failures, is to further drive a stake into the heart of our society's ailing and fragile unity. Further thought yielded the following: 

I am not an NRA member. I do not, in any way, support or defend the current 'leadership' of the NRA as I believe they are a corrupt and self-serving group of individuals who have cheated their membership and seriously need to be brought before the bar of justice. I also recognize that the NRA has morphed over the years into a very powerful lobbying entity. A separate issue to me, as I believe paid lobbying should be outlawed along with private money in federal politics in general. That's a long story--if interested, you could see my blog at for my opinion on money in politics.


The NRA was founded in 1871 by a lawyer and an NYT reporter. It was, in their words, to be an organization that promoted marksmanship, personal responsibility, and safety. The NRA firearm training is currently used to train over 1 million people a year to be safe, ethical, responsible shooters, and instructors. The current membership of the NRA consists of 40% women and 40% minorities with an average member age of 42. I am unable to find a single instance where an accredited NRA member (let alone an NRA leader) publicly called for violence or mass shootings or perpetrated such actions. There is nothing I can find in NRA literature that supports violence or unlawful behavior against persons or property.

So far as I can ascertain, there has NEVER been a mass-shooting done by an NRA member. National statistics show that legal gun owners are MUCH less likely to commit a felony than people who are either not gun-owners at all or hold guns unlawfully. In at least two cases near my former home in San Antonio, NRA members have been the 'good guys with guns' who stopped mass shootings from being much worse. First, in Austin at UTA in 1966 when Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother then calmly went and shot and killed 14 other innocents from the Bell Tower. That rampage was put to an end when an armed civilian and--NRA member--led two Austin police officers to the top of the tower where they could stop Whitman's rampage. More recently, in 2017, NRA-certified firearms instructor Stephen Williford interrupted, shot, and chased the man who killed 26 members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Has the NRA, as an organization, honorably fulfilled their duty to speak out against violence? Not in my opinion. They could and should do more.

On the other hand, instances of BLM supporters (and those called leaders within the decentralized organization) calling for violence and murder are legion. It has become so common since founding of the movement in 2012-2013 that it's hard to catalog them all. I find it interesting and amazing that BLM has received hundreds of millions of dollars of support (well over $200 million of it well-documented from oil heiress Leah Hunt-Hendrix, Thousand Currents [Susan Rosenberg's organization--you may recall that she is a convicted felon for bombing civilian buildings in the Northeast and D.C.], and the Ford Foundation) and has banking accounts but no official 'leaders.' Somebody has to sign a signature card for those bank accounts, and apparently, a great deal of the legal and financial work of BLM falls under the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. Somebody runs that organization, I'd wager.

As far back as early 2017, Yusra Khogali, a self-proclaimed BLM leader, called for the violent murder of all white people--lacking that, she supports genetically eliminating whites.

Patrice Cullors defines herself publicly as a 'trained Marxist' and says that her cofounders, Alicia Garza (winner of the Humanitarian Award for the Commission on Hispanic Affairs in my home state of Idaho) and Opel Tometi are also. She and her cohorts have the right to their beliefs and to speak on them. Two points: (1) I hope she understands that it is our liberal Constitution as interpreted through our courts after much sacrifice and hard work by those working for universal equal rights (a work that isn't completed yet) that guarantees her those rights*, and (2) I wonder who trained her? We do know that she is a protege of Eric Mann of the Weather Underground, an organization famous for espousing and committing violence. Ms. Cullors praises the Black Panthers, Young Lords, and the Brown Beret organizations, all with checkered histories of violence.

Having said this, I think you can see why I find it somewhat misinformed or disingenuous to compare BLM and NRA. It would have been much more correct, in my opinion, to compare BLM and the awful Proud Boys organization.

I wish to note that I support some, but not all, of the BLM movement's goals. In some cases my support has caveats. In particular, I support:

  • Ending mass incarceration for non-violent offenses
  • Reforming police structures and strategy and using enforcement funding in ways that support communities and mental health
  • Changes in policing culture to reduce/eliminate excessive use of force
  • Holding police officers and their leadership responsible for the unlawful treatment of citizens
  • Investment in public education (while ensuring the funds go to classrooms, teachers, and students and not just to administration and unions)
  • Decriminalizing sex work (without decriminalizing non-consensual sex trafficking)
  • Abolishing cash bail
  • Eliminating redlining in housing and business finances
  • Recognizing that no lives matter if black lives do not

While I support what I define as worthy goals, I will not speak in support of nor materially support any organization that promotes violence or mutely allows others to promote violence in their name. I have recently canceled my subscription to the Ford Foundation specifically because of the BLMs failure to condemn violence. I also do not support the NRA financially. 

* Added 9/6/2020: I believe the 'Founding Fathers' gave us a very valuable document in the Constitution as a starting point--they knew times would change and that much of it as accepted then was a compromise--thus they provided a process for improving and modifying the Constitution as needed over time. Perhaps the most precious part of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, is a product of that process for modification. 

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