It appears the National Rifle Association has been reviewing DJ Khaled’s “Major Keys of Success” as seen through its recruiting ad warning the American public about—and encouraging them to take up arms against—the dangerous and ominous “they.” The NRA, however, is not worried about the “they” that does not want you to drink water, issuing a warning to have more success like our beloved Khaled. The NRA is worried about the “they” that protest “ racism and sexism and xenophobia” Ironically, the NRA is bold enough to fight back against the “violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth,” but not bold enough to call out the groups it targets by name.
The NRA chose the quasi-ambiguous pronoun, “they,” to identify their villain so when the violence they are inciting breaks out, it can evade responsibility and avoid having to make rational arguments in defense of its unfounded rally cry.
The intellectually lazy tactic of dog whistling practiced by their president is mimicked in the ad. At an amateur level, members identify what they see as the transgressions of “they,” going as far as saying “their ex-president” instead of saying President Obama, and “they use their media to assassinate real news” instead of saying they think CNN is fake news because President Trump said so.
Like something straight from an elementary school argument, the NRA hides behind fake ambiguity as a technical scapegoat with coded language similar to “I didn’t call you dumb, I just said you weren’t smart. So, you can’t tell on me.”
No one is surprised the NRA thinks racism, homophobia and sexism are silly reasons to be upset, but if you are going to call for violence against protesters, then just do exactly that.
The NRA already proved it is a lobbying group thoroughly loyal to its donor corporation’s dollars and does not actually care about protecting second amendment rights, as it would have you believe. Its brash confidence was nowhere to be found when Philando Castile, a black man, was killed by a police officer despite his right to bear arms.
But beyond the faux courage exhibited by the NRA with this ad, the bigger issue is it is an irresponsible use of platform to galvanize and give permission to already radicalized members of both the left and the right to double down on violence.
The aggressive tone of the ad is represented through the imagery used from riots that have taken place around the country. It would be difficult to condemn the NRA for putting out aggressive ads and excusing rioters for setting buildings ablaze, but that is not the most dangerous issue. Wrongfully associating rioters with peaceful organizations such as Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March is an even bigger issue.
Though these peaceful protests were met with violence before, the reckless handling of the imagery in the NRA ad continues to conflate the actions of peaceful and violent protests and essentially justifies open season on nonviolent protesters.
The NRA was prompted to remove the ad for these very reasons, however it chose to double down, further illustrating the complete disinterest the organization has toward morality and true integrity.
The NRA encouraging a civil war with no intention to take responsibility for the blood on its hands is an act of a truly sinister conscience and adds to the revelation of the devious nature of the lobbyist group. The only thing that remains up for debate about the NRA is whether or not members wear their white hoods when they are at home.
-Carrington Tatum is an electronic media sophomore.