Commentary

Does Your Business Support Guns?

In October 2017,  I found myself facing the news that there was an "active shooter" in Las Vegas.

The next morning the sheer scale of the devastation was known. Stephen Paddock had opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Harvest music festival on the Strip in Las Vegas. He killed 58 people and wounded 851.

I asked myself then: What have I done to allow this uniquely American carnage to go unchecked?

That day, I wrote a very personal piece that I published on Media Insider. "Did I Sell Ammunition To The Vegas Shooter?” was the question I had to answer. Here’s a slightly revised version of what I wrote then: "My sense of dread came from a day four years earlier when I was leading sales at our video curation startup. At our weekly sales meeting, we circulated the list of new customers. One name stood out: Ammoland. ‘It’s a site for sports hunters,’ the sales rep explained when I questioned the sale. We moved on. Ammoland paid us modest fees -- a few hundred dollars a month -- to give it the tools to find, embed, and upload video to its site.”

So I had to wonder: Did our providing technology to Ammoland make us complicit?

Within a day of the piece's publication, Ammoland’s John Crump posted an attack on me, digging into my social media, my editorial work, and trying to impugn my honestly and integrity.

It was an abrupt reminder of why so many people stay silent when the issue of how to engage with gun violence comes up: because to speak out is to make yourself a target of hateful, poisonous rage. AmmoLand claimed that I had reported incorrectly that it sells ammunition. So, in writing this post, I returned to recheck those facts. I think the images from its site (seen above) answer the question clearly.

So, what can you do to stem the tide of violence?

YouTube is taking  a good step, removing gun channels from its Partner Program. And it recently updated its policies on content featuring firearms. According to the updated restrictions, the site no longer allows content that “intends to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales...or links to sites that sell these items.”

AmmoLand's one of the YouTube channels that has been demonetized. Crump blasted YouTube in a post on Ammoland, claiming as he did in his attacks on me that he doesn’t sell anything.

And YouTube is not alone. Facebook tightened its policies on gun-related advertising as well. Facebook has banned the sale of firearms and ammunition on the platform since 2014, but moved last summer to broaden that limitation. "Unlike posts from friends or Pages, ads receive paid distribution. This means we have an even higher standard for what is allowed and why we have chosen to limit weapons accessories to an adults only audience," Facebook said in a blog post.

And late Sunday night internet infrastructure company Cloudflare pulled the plug on 8chan, the site used by murderers in El Paso, Christchurch, and the synagogue shooting in Poway, California. Voting with their technology.

So what can you do to support sensible gun control? Everytown.org and the Brady Campaign can use your support. But also look at your actions, your portfolio, the subtle ways you facilitate the amplification of hateful rhetoric.. At the grassroots, we can all stand up for change and make Walmarts, music festivals, movie theaters, and schools safe for our families and our children.

7 comments about "Does Your Business Support Guns?".
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  1. Ken Kurtz from creative license, August 5, 2019 at 5:08 p.m.

    And still. Alcohol kills far more Americans every year than people firing guns do. We passed the 18th Amendment to make the manufacture, distribution, sale, and ingestion of the toxic, deadly drug alcohol entirely illegal... and deaths from alcohol DOUBLED over the next 14 years. Embrace the paradox. There are ways to make public places safer, but none of them have anything to do with woeful, and half-hearted attempts to decrease the manufacture, distribution, sale, and usage of guns. That has only proven throughout history to make matters worse, and get the criminal black market fully involved, and hyper focused on the money to be made (the really wild, wild west). "Sensible gun control" would not have stopped a single one of these tragedies. There are things that could have stopped some of them, or at least minimized many of them, but too many people are blind to the paradoxical truth about this issue, and others like it. Capitalism guarantees that where holes are temporarily punched in supply, an inevitably heightened demand will assure that criminals will step in to fill that heightened demand with an even more dangerous, and deadly supply.

  2. Steve Rosenbaum from MagnifyMedia replied, August 5, 2019 at 5:19 p.m.

    Ken, the NRA talking points are getting old.

    As a society, we make laws. We try to balance individual rights with community standards. There are always tradeoffs.  Some examples:

    - Cigarettes. We tax them, put warnings on them. Reduce cancer deaths
    - Seat Belts. They are required to save traffic fatalities. 
    - Bike and Motorcycle helmets. Save brain damage and deaths.
    - Traffic lights. Require drivers to wait, and not drive into others.

    Lot's more that limit what we eat, what we build, how we behave in public. 

    So yes, alcohol - tried prohibition. Other ideas, let's hear them. Guns. Make an argument for why anyone other than law enforcement and the military needs an AR-15.

    I'm all ears - but be aware, the easy access to these weapons is either to protect sportsmans rights or to keep the citizenry from being ruled by an out-of-control government. If you opt for reason #2, I think you may find the Secret Service comes and knocks on your door. 




  3. Ken Kurtz from creative license, August 5, 2019 at 10:46 p.m.

    NRA talking points. Wouldn't know them, as I've never paid attention to the organization. I've never owned a gun either. I'm just mindful of the facts. And they are that any and all efforts to decrease access to things for which there exists great demand for in this country will be met with equal and opposite force by black market criminals guaranteeing resumption of that access for the inherent profit attached to that resumption. The black market product is inevitably far more dangerous, and deadly.

    Again, I will be sixty in a few weeks, and have never owned a gun, or fired somebody else's gun. I agree wholeheartedly with the relative "need" for AR-15's. I've never felt the need to own a pistol, never mind an automatic rifle. But then, this isn't about need. It's about want, and desire in the USA. And only a fool believes that outlawing AR-15's will mean "no more AR-15's." Just like outlawing alcohol in 1920 DID NOT mean "no more alcohol." Outlawing alcohol resulted in more alcohol, and double the deaths because black market criminals were mixing poison with the already toxic drug.

    You call access to these weapons easy? Try prohibiting them. Like heroin, which was part of Tricky Dick's declaration of War On Drugs in 1970. It's been prohibited for decades, with particulary harsh penalties for the past five decades. Yet, more heroin, and now much more dangerous heroin (in the form of fentanyl) continues to flood the US market, making "access" EASIER and DEADLER THAN EVER. 

  4. Kevin McCollum from None, August 6, 2019 at 11:31 a.m.

    Does your company support weed?
    It is all the rage now, and the pot agenda seems to have sufficient steam to roll into full decriminalization across the country in the not too distant future...

    However my brother (a doctor) reports that DUI week fatalities have dramatically increased in his home state of Colorado, and pot in schools are at epidemic levels...and this is not only ok, but totally ignored in the effort to allow anyone and everyone to have and do as they please?

    I've also never owned a gun, but I agree with Ken's points.
    On the flip side, I think the NRA would do well to back off on opposing every single effort to register/restrict/regulate.
    Equally, the left would do well to offer support  (constitutional amendment?) enshrining the right to own "reasonable" firearms...   

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 6, 2019 at 2:21 p.m.

    Cars don't kill people. People driving cars do. Cars are registered. Cars are regulated heavily. You want to be a soldier and carry heavy guns ? Then join. Otherwise, keep your musket handy and your powder dry because that is what you are entitled to have and when we go to war - oh wait - we are in wars - then the government can call you up at any time and send you anywhere with your guns. Go Militia !

  6. Ken Kurtz from creative license replied, August 7, 2019 at 6:51 a.m.

    Finally. Paula's making sense. 

    It was around 2005. I was visiting my brother in Newtown, CT. He asked me to pick up my niece at Sandy Hook Elementary for early release for a doctor's appointment as he had a conference call to attend to. I recall thinking, as I made my way up the sidewalk leading to that school's single point of entry, "Is anybody here to sort out who this strange man is walking up to the front door of this school?"

    Seven years later, another strange "little" man, loaded for bear with his dead mom's legally procured firearms, took that same walk up that lonely path, shot his way through that same single point of entry to Sandy Hook that I had entered unecumbered seven years earlier, and proceeded to massacre 26 innocent people, including 20 precious 6-7 year old children.

    Just one ex-militia man, or woman, being paid minimum wage to guard that door, could have put a single bullet into that sick, 20 year old's head as he trudged up that long walk from the parking lot to the school's front door, with his rifles and hand guns evident for all to see. A single shot between the eyes to Lanza, and those twenty precious children would now be teenagers, and their families would have been spared that holiday horror in 2012.

    But NOOOOOOOOO cried the left! More guns is not the answer to such tragedies. GUNS ARE BAD, so we need gun control (which history has clearly demonstrated, regardless of what level of control is attempted, is only capable of assuring more dangerous guns find their way to our streets via BLACK MARKET profiteering).

    And the calls for something that not only cannot work in this country, but will actually make matters worse, illogically continue.

    Does your company support guns? If it calls for gun control, it most certainly does! A sad, paradoxical truth that the left is blind to, but history proves out over, and over again. 

  7. Ken Kurtz from creative license, August 7, 2019 at 7:04 a.m.

    And as for this, Steve...

    So yes, alcohol - tried prohibition. Other ideas, let's hear them. Guns. Make an argument for why anyone other than law enforcement and the military needs an AR-15.

    You're asking for the wrong argument to be made, because of your failure of imagination. I agree that no single civilian needs an AR-15. But many want one, and that genie ain't going back in the bottle. Don't undersatnd it personally, but I don't need to.

    Whay is easily understandable is that "banning" AR-15's will result in more AR-15's finding their way to our streets. They'll be cheaper, too. And availbale to anybody with the money to pay the black market criminals now contolling the trade due to the ban.

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