There is no denying the immense horror and tragedy of Sandy Hook. However, there is also no denying the gun control crowd has chosen to use the sorrow surrounding the deaths of innocent children and their teachers as a platform to further their agenda. Sometimes the issue becomes clouded when groups posing as supporters of furthering gun education or diminishing gun violence in topically neutral ways take a stand, presenting a face to the general public that makes monsters of those who would dare come against them. Such is a group known as the Sandy Hook Promise, and now they have a big-name backer whose actions are stirring up more than a little frustration and anger in the gun industry.
News tends to spread like wildfire in general, and news involving a public figure taking a stand that instantaneously alienates the bulk of their fan base spreads even faster. So when Tim McGraw recently announced an upcoming concert fundraiser for Sandy Hook Promise, the response was swift.
Tim McGraw has been a headliner in the country music world since the early 1990s; in 1994 his album “Not a Moment Too Soon” was released, and his popularity was secured once and for all. Along the way he’s won three Grammy Awards, fourteen Academy of Country Music Awards, eleven Country Music Association awards, and ten American Music Awards, among others. He’s acted in movies, played for the troops on more than one occasion, and spent a decent chunk of his personal time and money on several charitable causes. He’s no stranger to charitable work and fundraisers, but this just might be the first time he’s come to find out it is, indeed, possible to lose a massive portion of your fans based on one poor decision.
Yes, country music is often considered the purview of good old boys, beer-drinking, truck-driving, gun-toting guys always up for a good fight, but reality is substantially broader. Country music lovers are both men and women, span a rather large range of ages, are frequently college-educated professionals, and may prefer wine or whiskey over beer. Just for a start. But there is one piece of the country music stereotype that rings true, and that’s the part about guns. No, not every person who has ever sung along to “Bubba Shot the Jukebox” actually owns a gun, but a large number does. In fact, it seems quite safe to say the gun-owning members of the country music fan base are numerous enough they more than make up the majority. Not only the majority, but such an overwhelming number as to turn those fans without guns into a bit of a rarity. And those are the people Tim McGraw has turned his back on.
Sandy Hook Promise paints themselves as a semi-harmless gun control group, if there ever is such a thing. Their web site currently features a header including the tag line “preventing gun violence without just talking about the gun” which is a somewhat innocuous-appearing phrase for such a group. Their topics direct site visitors to “know the signs” of mental illness – listed signs are incredibly broad and vague – and instructs you to “say something” at the slightest sign of potential harm. Seems logical, right? Maybe even a good idea?
Next in their suggesting reading is “keep it safe” where readers are instructed how to prevent those with mental illness from harming themselves or others. While there are a few logical though basic instructions on this page about putting guns in a safe and teaching children how to react to loose guns, borrowing words eerily similar to those spoken in the NRA’s Eddie Eagle videos for kids. On the same page there are inaccurate statistics about guns; the entire thing has clearly been penned by someone unfamiliar with firearms, collecting information from the internet. Still, it’s harmless, right? Wrong.
While it’s absolutely true Sandy Hook Promise has a few good programs running such as their desire to stop bullying, for no child to be forced to eat lunch alone or be otherwise isolated, and there are certainly important mental health issues to consider, their actions do not line up with the public face of their website. Members of the foundation working on its behalf spend time actively lobbying for restrictions on firearms purchases, ownership, and modes of carry, and they make their elation clear when efforts pay off. They’ve enjoyed recent gun control victories restricting gun owners in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, to name a few, and they openly admit they’re all for the criminalization of private firearms transfers of any kind as well as advocating for a national firearms registry. And then there’s the company they keep.
We are all known by the company we keep, and in the case of Sandy Hook Promise that company is of the gun control extreme variety. The group is closely and openly associated with groups such as Moms Demand Action, which recently staged a false photo to try to make it look like far more people showed up to protest the recent NRA Meeting than actually did, Everytown for Gun Safety, and, of course, the Brady Campaign, which was also recently in the headlines for playing fast and loose with laws. On the surface Sandy Hook Promise looks like a good idea, but once you remove the shiny veneer, reality oozes through.
McGraw’s original advertisement for the fundraising concert included singers Billy Currington and Chase Bryant, with promises of more to come. Once the you-know-what began to hit the fan, Currington backed out, whether out of actual horror at the idea of being involved in a gun control event or from the realization he cannot afford to lose fans, who knows – although we can easily guess. McGraw himself has had a far different reaction.
Thousands – probably tens of thousands – of disgruntled fans did what they do best when the news hit by taking to the internet. Social media is certainly a popular way to vent frustrations, and McGraw’s fans headed for his Facebook page. The feedback was overwhelmingly negative; some fans were disappointed and hoped McGraw didn’t actually understand what he was doing, but most know McGraw is a grown man and expressed their displeasure bluntly. McGraw handled it by deleting the negative remarks, leaving his page now giving the appearance of support. Just how many rights does he plan to trample before he’s done? (For the record, at last check Billy Currington had not deleted negative comments but apparently took them to heart by removing himself from the concert.)
In an interview with Fox News McGraw said he, himself, is a gun owner – and he may be, but he would not be the first celebrity firearms owner to play both sides – saying “As a gun owner, I support gun ownership. I also believe that with gun ownership comes the responsibility of education and safety – most certainly when it relates to what we value most, our children. I can’t imagine anyone who disagrees with that.” In the space of a few sentences he’s painted those who disagree with his fundraising concert as heartless anti-child bumpkins who fail to grasp the solemnity of gun safety. There’s just one problem there, Tim: there’s a difference between gun safety and gun control.
Gun safety is when a gun owner has trained with his firearm, exercises responsible use and storage, and does everything in his or her power to be the sheepdog watching over the flock. Gun control is when someone attempts to wrest control of firearms from the aforementioned responsible gun owners, because they “know better” than the gun owners themselves. This is typical of government oversight, patting the citizens collectively on their heads, reassuring them they know what’s best and if the population will just surrender their rights, all will be well. Gun safety is all about the four golden rules of gun ownership. Gun control is all about systematically wiping out the ability to own guns or ammunition, often under the guise of stopping gun violence.
Gun violence is not going to be stopped by restricting responsible owner’s access to firearms. Those in the community and industry know this, but there is simply no reasoning with the average gun control advocate. Groups such as Sandy Hook Promise appear harmless on the surface, but they have not-terribly-well-hidden depths. Depths reaching deep into the heart of the gun control movement.
So what can you do? It’s entirely up to you. Simply perusing the site of the foundation only gives visitors a vague idea of seemingly noble causes; it takes more digging to figure out what bills and laws they’ve been pushing and who they like to hang out with. There’s an online store on their site where I, personally, was also disappointed to see OPI nail polish has supplied them with a green polish meant to pull even more funds in for their purposes. As someone whose idea of fun involves dirt, camo, and my favorite rifle, my one nod to being remotely girly just happens to be nail polish. Guess which brand has been my favorite since college? Now guess how I intend to deal with this transgression.
Sometimes it seems as though the small actions of a single person cannot possibly make a difference. My ceasing to purchase OPI after having bought literally hundreds, possibly into the thousands, of bottles probably seems futile. My stepping away from Tim McGraw is less of a sacrifice; he’s never been one of my favorite country singers, and I’m a diehard country music lover. When the small actions of a single person are replicated over and over, and multiplied countless times, yes, a difference is made. The difference may seem tiny at first, and may not seem to be a difference at all, but it’s a bit like tossing a rock into still waters. A single rock creates ripples, which reach ever-farther out into the water. Just imagine what thousands of rocks can do.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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