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Time to Play the Blame Game

The failure of the Second Amendment March is all NRA’s fault! Funny, I seem to recall seeing a reminder in NRA’s Grassroots Alerts for several weeks approaching the march. The problem is, our folks aren’t much for protesting. That’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the nature of the beast. I seem to recall back in February of last year saying as much:

The main that will likely go wrong is you get, if you’re really lucky, a thousand or so to show up.  Even in this lousy economy, most gun owners have a job, and have families, which means they have better things to do than to attend protests.

PA gun rights groups organize a rally every spring in Harrisburg, and if it get enough people to fill the Capitol Rotunda, it’s a good turn out.

I would say that the D.C. rally got some decent press coverage. It wasn’t really a failure. They tried to do something positive, and trying is more than most people who are in this issue ever do. There’s been no harm done. I don’t think there’s any reason to throw blame around. Get back on the horse and try something else.

23 Responses to “Time to Play the Blame Game”

  1. WPZ says:

    It’s been mentioned here before, but in benighted Illinois, we got 7000 this past March to take a day off and go upstate or downstate to state capitol Springfield to gather up, march to the Capitol Building, and swarm the place all afternoon.
    That was up from 5000 last year.
    The problems with the economy were probably significant. I’m a contractor and there was no hope of going there for the March.
    I’m afraid that the low numbers are a downer, though. I could easily look at this from the opposition’s side and make fun of the turnout. It could be used to deride the NRA’s stance that it represents such a large number of voters.
    Personally, I expected a disappointment, but the actual turnout was a fraction of even that.
    But we’ll have 10000 in Springfield next March. See you there!

    • Bitter says:

      And I don’t think that can be underscored enough, this isn’t at the top of most people’s minds right now. They started planning this presumably thinking that Obama and Pelosi would be a nightmare for gun owners. But that hasn’t happened at this point. So far, they’ve done good work for gun rights. Average people don’t feel threatened that their guns are being targeted, specifically by the feds. Something that benefits Illinois is the fact that the one major battle we do have is connected to Chicago. Add into that the behavior of Daley, and it creates an atmosphere much more friendly to a rally/protest.

      I also just look at planning missteps by the organizers that would not have been helped by more involvement by any one organization. It’s just plain entrepreneurial spirit and time for research. For example, they had a money bomb, but they didn’t tell any pro-gun bloggers as far as I could see. Granted, it wouldn’t have made much money for them, but it at least would have spread the word. They started off with big announcements that Ted Nugent would play, and only later found out that Ted has a fee that would burn a hole in most budgets. (Pick up the financial disclosure forms available at any NRA meeting and you’ll find out that it’s around $40K.) At first they billed it as being able to attract a million gun owners, then it was scaled back. Buses were ordered by supporting organizations with no clue as to the demand. (I got an email asking if we would like to drive all the way to Pittsburgh to hop on a bus to ride down to DC. Oh, and could we tell any of our contacts in the area about the opportunity to drive more than 5 hours to hop on a bus that would take another 4 hours to arrive in DC for a drive that is only 3 hours direct on 95 for us. The buses weren’t anywhere near full, so they were begging for anyone to join them.) Cues like that told me that many who were involved weren’t likely prepared for the realities of a rally that would inspire most people to want to travel to DC on a work day.

  2. Sebastian says:

    You guys really have your shit together in Illinois. I also think the camaraderie created by being persecuted by the Daley machine does much for your sense of purpose. It fires people up. Pennsylvania can turn out big numbers too when we have threats, but in times of peace, so to speak, it’s tough to get people to turn out.

  3. Miguel says:

    I think there is a lot of people that approach the NRA as a government department. We are “entitled” to have the NRA provide for us anything we want with just $30 a year… Bullcrap.

    As noble as the March was, there was no immediate compelling reason to have it.

  4. WPZ says:

    Truth be told, I hadn’t been thinking we Prairie Staters were anything exceptional on the dedication meter.
    I’ve always been impressed by the Virginia lads in terms of activism.
    One needs to realize that if a referendum was taken in Cook County to ban the possession of firearms by citizens, twenty years ago it probably would have passed.
    Ten years ago, it would have had a good chance.
    Now, it’d at least be close.
    Still, since Cook constitutes a little over one-fifth of the state’s population all by itself, that’s a big hunk to get past.
    Given the dispersion of Chicagoans throughout the six-county metro area (one-half of the state’s population), it’s still not a fertile area for gun rights.
    And local boys The Joyce Foundation is still pouring money into the fight, albeit a bit less than in years past.
    So, no, I can’t really explain what looks like such high activism.
    But the Illinois State Rifle Association seems to have gotten ahead of the rights/hunting divergence sooner than most- not hard with radical gun bans getting within a vote or two of passing with regularity. Plus, IllinoisCarry has superb, smart leadership (www.illinoiscarry.org).
    Our NRA guy is a pitbull without mercy or manners.
    Maybe we just deserved it in a karma sort of way.

  5. WPZ says:

    While I was laboring over my typically long-winded reply, Bitter’s comment came in.
    What Illinois’ IGOLD has all over this DC march is experience. ISRA and IllinoisCarry do this year after year. This year’s was the fourth or fifth in this format.
    In other words, they know how to do it and things run practically like clockwork.
    Experience tells, it would seem in this case.

  6. Melancton Smith says:

    The other advantage Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day (IGOLD) has is that it isn’t all on one group. True ISRA bears the brunt of the financial burden, but planning and coordination is a team effort of multiple organizations across the state: IllinoisCarry.com, ISRA, GunsSaveLife.com (GSL aka Champaign County Rifle Assn), and Sangamon County Rifle Assn (county that holds the capitol). There are dozens of buses which need captains and the capitol requires a fair number of onsite coordinators. Thankfully we don’t have to pay for speakers.

  7. Justin Buist says:

    “There’s been no harm done. “

    I’m not so sure. I saw a lot of people confused about the 2A rallies associating them with the TEA Party movement which quickly ran away from the original Libertarian-ish Republican bent to full on Republican love fest pretty early.

    And then half the public is convinced that TEA parties are just lightweight KKK meetings.

    Add in that the only thing we’ve seen on Obama and guns with regards to actual laws is an expansion of carry rights and, well, people look at the rallies and think it’s a bunch of racist teabagger Republicans butthurt over Obama for no good reason.

    It was really unfortunate timing, I’m afraid. Not that I blame anybody for going.

    Oh, and whoever stuck with April 19 for the OKC rally needs their head checked. I doubt an OKC local made that call.

  8. WPZ says:

    April 19th is Patriots’ Day, the anniversary of the first battle of the American Revolutionary War.
    That by itself would seem to be appropriate.
    Latter-day events detract from that as media-driven narratives overwhelm historical events.

  9. Justin Buist says:

    You, the readers of this blog, myself, and most folks in New England know it’s Patriots’ Day but to folks in OKC it’s the anniversary of McVeigh’s bombing. That didn’t play well with the public.

    It’s sad, but we have to dance around the public’s ignorance of that day’s special meaning.

    • Bitter says:

      I’m more than just a reader of this blog, and I lived in New England. But, first and foremost, April 19 is the day to remember the victims of Oklahoma City. I don’t care how it is justified, modern events win out for many folks. I think the media’s focus on a McVeigh connection is a bit sleazy. But even if you take the media out of the picture, I – and many others – will still think Oklahoma City before Patriot’s Day.

  10. Guav says:

    What Sebastian, Miguel and Bitter said—why would people take off work and travel for a protest/march to uh … apparently just reaffirm a right that is not immediately threatened?

  11. Anon says:

    In addition to people on the side of freedom having jobs to secure some measure of same… You probably shouldn’t discount the idea that people in the dc area that WOULD take a day off to attend this sort of event avoided it because they have active billets or clearances and a protest related arrest would jeopardize their livelihood. Then, of course, you look at the administration and the people in it (cough Eric Holder cough) and how they react to free men with guns (cough Body Count cough) and then they look at organizers of said ralley and their history of tweaking the ATFU and … What do you know… They just went to work that day.

  12. Justin Buist says:

    “I’m more than just a reader of this blog, and I lived in New England. But, first and foremost, April 19 is the day to remember the victims of Oklahoma City. “

    Bitter, I sincerely apologize for posting a comment that reads as though we should remember the start of the American Revolution before OKC. I didn’t intend to make it read that way but it did.

    My point was that for a guy like me, or woman like yourself, we don’t have to reach over to a history book to reaffirm that April 19 was when the shooting started in the American Revolution.

    For folks that weren’t able to retain things like dates and such from their 4th grade history lessons they look at April 19 as McVeigh’s Day and consider a pro-gun rally as being in support of him. They’ll consider the fact that it was the start of the American Revolution as a wink-and-nod thing to make the date seem legit. And, yes, we have to deal with that.

    It’s a PR battle against people that wouldn’t have a chance on “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?”

    How depressing is that?

    • Bitter says:

      Justin, don’t apologize. I was seconding your point. I only wanted to point out that it’s outside the borders of Oklahoma City. Though, I would point out that it’s not just about reading history books. For most people, Oklahoma City was in their lifetime. They watched it on tv. All we have to reflect upon the longer-term history of the date are a few paintings, if we’re lucky enough to see them in our history books.

  13. Melancton Smith says:

    I do want to say that the OKC bombing is trivial in magnitude compared with the significance in American history of the start of the American Revolution. Significant even to all of the free world who’s freedoms grew out of our experiment.

  14. NukemJim says:

    “I do want to say that the OKC bombing is trivial in magnitude compared with the significance in American history of the start of the American Revolution. ”

    Yes, that is correct. Unfortunetly, it is also irrelevant in this particular context. We frequently forget that this is not a situation where logic, the US Constitution and facts need apply this is a battle of emotions and public perception.

    Using this April 19 as a date was NOT a good idea from a PR perspective. Their hearts were in the right place, I’m glad they did it, but they should change the date next time ( I hope there will be a next time) and hopefully make it on a weekend.

    NukemJim
    PS It’s nice to hear that IGOLDs message is getting out to the rest of the country, in Cook County (Chicago’s county) it was a non-event on the news. Please to remember that the 1st IGOLD was quite different than this year’s IGOLD. I’ve been to all of them. Give these organizers a chance to practice. NJ

  15. Jujube says:

    ” But, first and foremost, April 19 is the day to remember the victims of Oklahoma City. I don’t care how it is justified, modern events win out for many folks. I think the media’s focus on a McVeigh connection is a bit sleazy.”

    Huh? McVeigh was responsible for Oklahoma City. Without him, there would be no “Oklahoma City.” A hundred years from now, people might only think of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing — but McVeigh falls into the ranks of Sirhan Sirhan and a bunch of other people who have created memorable dates in the last century.

    What were you expecting? Did you think the media could talk about Oklahoma City without mentioning Timothy McVeigh?

    • Bitter says:

      Why are you selectively quoting and purposely taking things out of context? The context of this thread is how the media has smeared gun owners with that association just because of the day.

  16. Guav says:

    Yeah Anon, and if that was their reasoning it’s wise that they stayed away, considering the mass arrests and internment in AKKKORN “re-education” camps that occurred after Obama’s Kenyaslamic Shock Troops stormed the protest.

    Jeez.

  17. Guav says:

    I just think it’s awesome that for once I am not Bitter’s target :D

  18. Don Gwinn says:

    The other big difference in Illinois is that IGOLD has been going on for five years now (there were only a few hundred people at the first official “Illinois Gun Owner Lobbying Day”) and even before that, there were the ISRA lobbying days which were small, but developed a group of ISRA supporters who were ready to turn it into something big when the right opportunities came along.

    The first year of any big event like this almost inevitably seems to fall flat if there’s a lot of hype. It will be interesting to see whether the people behind the concept decide to stick with it.

  19. Anon says:

    I’m man enough to admit I was wrong: before the event I would have bet a weeks pay that this [perfectly lawful] protest would have been raided by the ATF. I hereby apologize.

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