For which small blessing, many thanks. The NRA has stretched Poe’s Law so badly out of shape, I wasn’t actually sure until Snopes.com weighed in. Here’s the Buzzfeed story from last night:
The National Rifle Association on Wednesday said an elaborate online campaign under its name to give away guns in “at-risk neighborhoods” to “increase the safety” is a hoax.
Complete with a website, press releases, a social media presence, and even spokesman to take media calls, the campaign fooled many online. But the website appears to be an elaborate hoax that copied the fonts and layout of the NRA’s website for the ruse…
The campaign encourages people to purchase a handgun online, then pick a high-crime neighborhood to which another gun will be delivered to “make an underprivileged American safer, while treating yourself to that Smith & Wesson you’ve always dreamt of.”…
Whoever it is appeared to have gone to great lengths, and time, to make the campaign look legitimate.
Twitter and Facebook accounts connected to the campaign appeared to have been active for weeks, posting and retweeting gun rights content…
Bettina Chang, at Chicago Magazine:
… So, who put all this time into the fake campaign? A cursory search shows that the owner of the ShareTheSafety.org domain name used a privacy blocker to hide their identity. The same goes for NRApress.org, the dummy site where the press release was first posted. (Official NRA websites are registered directly to the National Rifle Association HQ.) Most of the links on the site direct back to real NRA websites, and all the contact email addresses on the site are linked to the ShareTheSafety.org domain.
I called the phone number listed on the press release, and oddly enough, a real human person answered the phone claiming to be “Hensley Cocker,” the self-proclaimed Program Director (“capital P, capital D”) of Share Your Safety and supposed NRA member. In the ensuing 11-minute call, he 100 percent adhered to the conceit of the hoax, claiming the program started two years ago, and detailing how they were inspired by the “activism regarding shootings of unarmed African Americans,” as well as Sandy Hook, TOMS Shoes, and Warby Parker.
When I informed him of the NRA’s vehement denials that his program was affiliated with the national organization, “Cocker” said it was disappointing and confusing. He claimed it was because of a schism in the NRA that had been bubbling up between those who supported Colt or Smith & Wesson. He even quoted Wayne LaPierre’s famous line about law enforcement being “jack-booted thugs.” Finally he claimed a protester was disturbing his launch event at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and excused himself from the call.
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker denied everything he said. “This is just a complete hoax,” she said. “There is absolutely no affiliation with the NRA.” She outright laughed at the claim of a schism within the NRA between the two gun brands, and she said the name “Hensley Cocker” didn’t ring any bells and that he had no affiliation with the group…
This may leave you with a question: Is it legal to give away a gun for free? Yes. Yes, it is.
I gotta admit, whatever his goals, ‘Hensley Cocker’ nicely jigsawed a very convincing mixture of all-American self-righteousness, well-meant-but-ill-thought-out generosity, and dogwhistled racism.
This is actually in line with any number of previous programs. There was one in Tuscon after Giffords was shot to hand out shotguns to poor residents. Another in Houston. Look up “Armed Citizens Project”.
I hope someone is writing a paper about this.
Villago Delenda Est
The terrorist organization that is the NRA has only itself to blame. They’ve been selling fear and terror on behalf of their merchant of death overlords for the last 20 years.
Major Major Major Major
@? Martin: ugh. Really?
Of course it is. They are doing this to make money.
@Major Major Major Major: Yep. This is part of the same rationale that sends conservatives into black neighborhoods with anti-abortion messages focused on ‘black genocide’. This group may not be formally affiliated with the NRA, but there’s a bunch of these kinds of programs – mostly small. But it’s no different than the legislators that give away AR-15s.
This is religion, and religion can’t be wrong.
Oh wow the European stock market is going down the drain. This is going to be a global economic crisis isn’t it?
Major Major Major Major
David Cameron just resigned
From Both Sides of the Pond
@Major Major Major Major: Oh, won’t that just help stabilize the markets oh so much…
@Marcolin: Well, it’s definitely a global shock. Whether it has lasting effects is hard to say. Right now money will flow out of UK and countries exposed to UK (Australia, etc.) and out of EU out of fears that this is only the first shoe to drop. A lot will depend on how the UK government reacts and how the EU reacts. If the UK looks like its about to break up (which it does at first light) and if the EU looks like it will be critically damaged by this then yeah, it’ll be a global crisis.
@From Both Sides of the Pond: Well, that’s what everyone expected, so that won’t hurt things. What comes next is what matters. If Boris is in, well, fuck us all.
Spain opened down 12%. Austria down 10%. Nobody is being spared. Bad sign.
@? Martin: Boris looks like the heir apparent. I can’t imagine the Queen’s face when she receives her new PM. She might just abdicate.
From Both Sides of the Pond
@Origuy: Or refuse to accept the new government. Brave new worlds, people!
OMG, that is fucking genius. And they started setting this up before the Pulse shooting, let it dovetails perfectly to show those NRA assholes just what their attitudes hath wrought. That this fooled many people is just a testament to the house the NRA built WRT gun laws, or the lack thereof in our fair land.
@Major Major Major Major:
Holy shit, I thought you were kidding.
@? Martin: I have to get up at 6:30am to find out how bad it is for me. I should be ok in the long run, but I have a morbid curiosity about how much it falls tomorrow.
Villago Delenda Est
@Major Major Major Major: He indicated that he’d resign if Brexit won a majority.
Looks like he’s good for his word on this.
And Boris is the hair apparent.
@Arclite: Could you translate all of that into something I might be able to understand? I’m a little slow at this hour.
@Villago Delenda Est: Oh Jesus. Boris?
I am having a terrible moment of doubt, afraid that this economic meltdown might be or might lead to a big enough catastrophe to shove Trump into the White House.
Please talk me down, anyone?
May you live in interesting times.
Glad this is going down in June, and not late October. (Although if the nominee is the Trumpster, I don’t see him inspiring confidence. Confidence fairy done took down a lot of elites in recent months.)
@opiejeanne: Talking you down. We can outwork the GOP, and their MSM lapdogs longing for a close race.
Do you think the MSM understands economics, or non-elites, or even history? I do not. We are going to see some Kristol-caliber idiocy emanating over the coming weeks.
Good to have President Obama at the helm. Wish we could keep him a third term.
@Elizabelle: I know all of this, intellectually. I know we can outwork them.
I never imagined that the Brits would elect their own Trump who is every bit as much of a weasel as ours. I listened to a clip of him backing off of his platform issue of how they would spend all of that lovely money they aren’t going to be sending to the EU claiming, in the same manner as Trump always does, that he never said that or doesn’t remember saying it, and IT WAS THE FUCKING CENTERPIECE OF HIS CAMPAIGN! And I look at our gullible idiot voters and hope they see what happens in the UK and come to their senses.
My money in stocks and bonds is an inheritance and not our pension which is with CALPERS, so this would be more than an annoyance if I lost most of it, a bit heartbreaking but not a catastrophe. (It shocks me to realize that, because it’s what I consider not a small sum now, thanks Obama).
To tell you the truth, I’m very worried about a handful of friends who live in Britain right now, and that this may turn into a total catastrophe for any or all of them.
@opiejeanne: Be interesting to be a fly on the wall at many
BritishUK tables this morning.
@opiejeanne: people of color dont care about the EU or the UK. We see it as part & parcel of the explosion of racism over the past few years. We understand this and have been taking it more seriously than people who thought Trump was going to flop out. So calm your jets.
@Elizabelle: “Glad this is going down in June, and not late October. ”
Cameron is sticking around until a successor is chosen, and he said he expects that to happen by October at the latest.
This sounds very Yes Men ish.
And, oh wow, Britain – you gives me a sad.
“I never imagined that the Brits would elect their own Trump who is every bit as much of a weasel as ours.”
He’s the heir apparent but it isn’t official yet. Could be a few months.
Johnson is Trump with a Classical education.
Is it legal to give away a gun for free? Yes. Yes, it is.
Generally the giveaway is run through a local gun shop which does whatever background checks are required. So, while it’s gross in every way, they aren’t tossing them out of the back of a van.
I’d like to think he was trying to make the point that the NRA doesn’t think the “more guns = more safety” principle applies to — you know, THOSE people.
Sadly, that would require someone to ask “Well, why DON’T you have a program like this if you think more guns = more safety?” and I highly doubt that will happen.
@ruemara: Thanks. maybe I’m blinded by my own whiteness (highly likely).
There is reason why I think everyone should be at least interested: On Thursday the stock market “trading curb” which happens automatically when there is a fall of 5%, to prevent a catastrophic cascade of falling prices overnight. Of course, once the market opens they can plunge downward and lots of money lost, but this keeps it from all going away while you sleep, or while the brokers sleep. If you have a pension or any other type of investment that is managed, prices falling dramatically could affect you. This is in reaction to the money markets in Europe being destabilized by the UK pulling out of the EU, and this is the part that made me shudder and have that crisis of faith.
I encountered some of this vicious nationalism/racism/fascism when we visited France and Italy 2 years ago. It was a shock to hear them and see how they behaved, and when we asked about the protesters in Milan and in Venice the locals were embarrassed and didn’t want to explain what was going on. It was very much the same reaction as racists here had when Obama was elected. In Italy it was the whole, “The election didn’t go the way I wanted it to, so I want my city to remove itself from the country of Italy, and while we’re at it I want all of those African refugees to go away”. In France it was the election of Marie LePen and the expressed admiration for Bill O’Reilly (I wish I were kidding), and other bits of ugliness more subtle than the Italians but it was there and just as ugly, and it took my breath away coming from people who had been so nice just a moment before. I took that experience as a portent of things to come, and here it is, no longer a rumbling and just getting started.
@Jon H: Boris is vile, but the other guy, Nigel Farage is right up there too.
Iowa Old Lady
@opiejeanne: The US demographics are strongly against Trump. His percentages among women, AAs, and Hispanics are lower than Romney’s. That’s electoral doom here.
white folk just want a home they can go support themselves. somewhere we can taunt-tease them about going back to.
Canadians are too impassionate about racism, and too cold for the snowbirds, and too Canadian nice to the native populations, so Canada is out
The US was never lilly white, no matter how close they got and how hard they tried for that
Europe is too mixed now for the real white priders, especially with Rome and the Catholics having all those brown country catholic followers and tourists now, and the insufferable youths throughout the continent. Germany was defeated and therefore the shame of all those racist olds won’t let them embrace it, especially considering that Germany is now awesome, much to their chagrin.
The UK is really their only chance left, an island, so once you kick out a lot of euros, easier to defend. but… it’s too little, too late. What they are forgetting is that the Scots and Irish weren’t white for real until recent history. they aren’t just gonna go along with the rest of England easily into old white retiree land sunset just because. the UK won’t survive doing this.
What they really think they want, what they really are trying to do, is make a Russia… that doesn’t speak Russian, and just isn’t Russian. they stuck torn, from Russia being the enemy for so long, for the hooligans and street fighting and cirrhosis there, its just too cold and too Russian for them.
not to mention, and I don’t know how to put this, but, Russia is actually TOO white for the real racists, they don’t really want a white only place to call their own, but, they really want it like 20s Americana, where there ARE some minorities, and they aren’t called slaves or anything so uncivilized, but where they are servants and workers of a very low civilized slave class, like they think is our place. make sense?
there’s no pure white country where the dream of being superior to darker people because of your born skin exists like the boomer generation of racist whites longs for, and after Obama here, they think the UK is their only last chance at seeing one made.
argue with me about economics, sovereignty, terrorism, crime, tourism, taxes, and all the other BS reasons racist whites around the world over a certain age are freaking out worldwide right now, the ones in prime wealth-holding age, watching in horror as their children don’t care or notice anything different or wrong about them letting THEIR kids play with the help’s kids on their interweb computer phones, and do everything possible to follow brave men like trump all across Europe into these messes
@opiejeanne: This is the week my mom’s mutual fund is being liquidated to disperse to us (or early next week), so this is a looming catastrophe for me.
I’m being advised to just mail in the keys to my tree-enhanced house (yep, it’s still on there and now the ceiling is cracking, collapse is possible) and look for somewhere else to live. That money was going to be a larger than average down payment so that my credit history would be less of a barrier.
I really had enough on my plate without shit going on in Britain affecting me.
Iowa Old Lady
@satby: Ouch. I’m so sorry.
The “Share” in the name should have been dead giveaway: the NRA, like most of the Reichwing, is driven by IGMFY and NIMBY. Expanding gun ownership – especially to Those People – isn’t the goal so much as arming Gud Xtian Hetero Caucasian Male Patriotic Real ‘Muricans against the Black/Brown/Female/Queer/Soshulist horde.
Adam L Silverman
@? Martin: @Major Major Major Major: @? Martin: Its interesting that the Chicago Magazine report shows the stock photo was taken from TTAG – the largest Firearms’ blog. I am pretty sure I’ve seen at least one comment there recommending the NRA do just that expanding off of the smaller programs Martin referenced. And by comment I mean comment, not front page post.
Full disclosure: I actually did a guest post for them last Fall pertaining to the fact that the US Holocaust Museum does not ignore Jewish Armed Resistance to the NAZIs and why German firearms laws made no real difference in the outcome of the Holocaust on Germany’s Jews.
Adam L Silverman
@? Martin: A lot of it was that the markets wound up cross positioned on Stirling expecting a think remain majority win. So we saw a lot of selling to correct. Despite a couple of hyperbolic snarky comments from me last night, including one about being mauled by the Invisible Hand, today’s the last trading day of the week, all the exchanges have circuit breakers built in, and we’re going in to the weekend. All of which will serve as stabilizing functions. Though it is going to be ugly for the British for a while. Hopefully a strong dose of economic reality will prod Parliament to recognize that direct democracy isn’t such a smart move and they decide that “advisory referendum” means just that.
@Elizabelle: Indeed. “British” may be on its way to obsolescence – especially if Scotland and No. Ireland rethink their membership the UK. One wonders how many Brexiters were opposed to Scotland’s vote re: UK membership.
MAN, you nailed it.
I have 8th graders in my tech class that could whip up something like this in about an hour.
@opiejeanne: We’re in the middle of liquidating a municipal bond oriented income portfolio for more growth investments. Depending on how fast it’s reinvested, may be (accidentally) very good timing.
Shame the kids in England are getting shafted. Expect the Scots to independantly be in Europe in three or four years. Weird times we live in.
@satby: I am so sorry. That’s just terrible on so many fronts.
I only lost 1% in all of this market turmoil today. Maybe people will stop panicking over the weekend and everything settles down by Monday.