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Why Internet “Activism” Against the NRA Will be Counterproductive: 1

March 4, 2018 15 comments

Just over a week ago, I wrote a post about why frequent mass shootings are almost unique to the USA- at least among allegedly “developed” nations. The very short version of that post is that the USA is, and always has been, a third-world country.. albeit an affluent one. The way things work in USA, especially as it concerns how people view each other and the institutions around them, is similar to what one might see in Mexico or Brazil rather than Japan, France or Canada. People in USA, therefore, behave and react in a manner similar to those in the former group of countries than the latter.

But what does any of this have to do with the recent wave of manufactured internet “activism” targeting the NRA and gun owners? Why do I think that this wave of internet “activism” and worthless corporate displays of virtue are manufactured? And what makes me think that it will backfire in a spectacular manner, perhaps destroying the chance for the democratic party to win either the house or senate in the 2018 election? Also, why now and not after the Oct 31, 2017 Vegas shooting? Let us start by talking about supporters and enablers of this alleged wave of internet “activism”.

So.. what makes this incident different from that one which occurred about four months ago and resulted in the deaths of three times more people (59 vs 17) and many more injuries (422 vs 14)? Isn’t it odd that the corporate media and certain internet companies did not promote the views of those killed and injured in the Oct 31, 2017 Vegas shooting to even a tiny fraction of what they did for this one? What accounts for the manufactured fascination and promotion of certain students in that school by the corporate media? The short answer to that question is the corporate media will only provide free promotion to those who will support whatever agenda they want to push.

That is why the corporate media does not like to talk about the ongoing genocide perpetrated by Saudi Arabia in Yemen but is totally willing to give tons of airtime and publicity to a 7-year old girl in Syria who allegedly tweets in perfect English though she can barely comprehend that language. Long story short, the first example casts a negative light on the policies of their masters while the later is a desperate attempt to legitimize western (mostly american) military intervention in the ongoing Syrian conflict. But what does this have to do with the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting?

I cannot be the only one who noticed that certain students from that high school who supported gun control were intensively promoted by the corporate media within less than 24 hours of the shooting? I mean.. how come something like this never happened after the Oct 31, 2017 Vegas shooting? Also, how do you account for the almost simultaneous publication of articles by corporate media which push the exact same narrative (example 1, example 2, example 3) about these “activist” students? And isn’t it peculiar that their small protests and meetings with state politicians were unusually well covered by the corporate media (example 4, example 5, example 6).

Why was so little attention given to the fact that the Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, was responsible for the botched response to that shooting in addition to inadequate followup of all those previous tips and complaints against Nikolas Cruz. You might remember that he was busy talking to everyone in the media, in the first few days after that shooting, about how ‘police should be given more power’ and how ‘he supported sensible gun control’. You might also remember how they initially cheered him on and then dropped him like a hot potato after the level of his incompetence and corruption was accidentally exposed.

But it gets worse.. or more darkly hilarious. Many of you might have heard or read about all those noises made by the corporate media about how big corporations are “cutting their links to the NRA”. First of all, the vast majority of such virtue signalling by corporations is meaningless bullshit. For example, one airline which stopped a program to give small meaningless discounts to NRA members had to acknowledge that only 13 people had used that particular discount in the previous calendar year. In other words, most of the manufactured news about how “corporations are cutting their ties with the NRA” is hogwash.

Secondly, all those breathless “news reports” about how certain large box stores deciding to stop selling ‘scary assault rifles’ or put new illegal age-limits on selling guns and ammunition are also meaningless because of the sheer number of small and medium size private business who will continue to do what they have been always doing. Also expect the big box retailers to quietly walk back from their current position within a few months or get sued and lose in court. Did I mention that this type of empty “moral” posturing by corporations has occurred many times in the past- especially in the aftermath of mass shootings.

Then there is the issue of banks and financial institutions trying to enforce gun control by de-platforming gun sales. Once again, there is the pesky issue of legal challenges to such actions. However, the far bigger problem for such actions is that many elected officials would lose their seats and political careers if they did not vigorously oppose such actions. Also, guns and ammo are far cheaper than cars and houses and therefore cash transactions would simply replace those through neoliberal financial institutions. And this brings us to the major problem with fallout of such pathetic attempts to use internet “activism” against the NRA.

Attempting to enact gun control in 2018 or 2020 is political suicide for democrats as well as “moderate” republicans. As many of you know, democrats are hoping that Trump’s failure to follow up on his populist election promises and generally ineffectual governance will result in a windfall during the 2018 cycle. That belief is however too optimistic, because they still have not come up with a better message than “Trump is a bad, bad man”. Given that control of the house depends on winning a number of very close electoral races, pissing off a fairly large body of single-issue voters who will come out in large numbers and vote against you seems like a really bad idea.

In the next part of this short series, I will talk about why every historic attempt at “targeting the NRA” has made it and the pro-gun lobby stronger and how these attempts have paradoxically led to the loosening of regulations on guns.

What do you think? Comments?