A lot of our collective anger about the Newtown massacre has been aimed at the NRA, and for good reason. The NRA is widely agreed to be the most powerful lobby in Washington, with campaign contributions of more than $1 million, lobbying expenditures in excess of $2.2 million; and more than $17 million in outside spending during the 2012 election cycle alone.
The group was begun by Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate when, who were dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church.
The NRA did not really become a political organization until it endorsed Ronald Reagan for president in 1980. Since then it has evolved into the one of the nation’s leading fearmongers and America’s most zealous protector of gun rights.
But I have to give them credit for one thing: They know when to keep their mouth shut. The PR community has been commenting all day about the NRA’s social media shutdown–its Twitter account seems to be canceled; the Facebook page with a reported 1.7 million fans appears to be shuttered. The news has now gone mainstream, with ABC and others pointing to the NRA’s silence. And many of their minions in Congress are now rejecting the absolutism demanded by the group, if not the group itself.
As a communications professional I think the NRA is doing the right thing. Because, really, what would they say? What could they possibly say?