NRA created a new policy this weekend that no member is allowed to take photos in their membership meetings.
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No selfies that tell friends and family, “I’m actively part of a gun rights organization!”
No opportunity to share that they are part of the 5 million some number strong for the Second Amendment.
No grassroots-led effort to say, “this is us, this wonderfully diverse crowd with people age 1 to 101.”
No photo reports from the membership about great awards such as oldest and youngest life members in attendance.
All ended in favor of becoming a secret society where active participation and documentation are shunned.
Why? So that Wayne LaPierre won’t have to see anymore embarrassing videos released anymore of members who disagree with him.
I suspect this means there’s zero chance of live streamed coverage again, despite that being a staple of previous meetings to encourage more engagement among members from all walks of life who couldn’t make the trek out to member meetings. They certainly have gone without it for 2 years despite the fact that every other group I’ve ever been part of has used this time to expand what they live stream to members.
Granted, there’s also the PR angle that NRA likely doesn’t want it well documented how empty their meetings are – which wouldn’t be the case if they weren’t actively trying to restrict access. And, from a PR angle, it does also keep out photos that show just how little demographic (age, race, gender) there really is at NRA events I’ve attended, despite far more diversity in the shooting sports and the larger gun community.
But keeping out those who would be supporters and want to be visible supporters doesn’t help the cause, it doesn’t help membership, and it doesn’t help the organization.
They can’t tell people they should brand themselves, “I’m the NRA” and then turn around and tell people to keep everything a secret.
People can’t share their excitement about news released in the Board meetings anymore because they seize phones. Once upon a time, Sebastian & I were the only ones to report on attendance in any way that got attention, and we did so from phones inside the meeting. Then they said no phones. And the reports were…rather creatively done. Sometimes with the help of someone who was allowed to have a phone and frequently with one of us outside of the room while the other wrote down the numbers and wildly flapped an arm out the door to get it posted.
If anything, this type of secrecy about even the basics of being a member of an association like NRA makes me want to end mandatory NRA membership at local gun clubs. One of the biggest issues we battle on the ground with new gun owners is that the younger ones view everything as a transaction. We are now teaching in our orientation some basic concepts of civil society and how one participates in the kinds of groups – like gun clubs – that make up our community social structure.
NRA trying to sell themselves as strictly an organization average people buy a card to say, “I’m in the club,” while simultaneously trying to keep people from actually participating as individual members is not helping that education. There are plenty of other groups that gun owners can turn to for those types of transactions. If NRA doesn’t want to be different and special, then why should anyone bother? Clearly, based on their ridiculous decline in participation in the association’s business, it seems that many of their own voting members are also saying it’s not really worthwhile to truly be a member.