Remember the Hummer?
In 2006 over 71,000 were sold, up 8% on the previous year. As the marketing literature went, owning a Hummer made a statement. Hummer owners lover the fact that their car was big, ugly and intimidating. They even loved the fact that it was a gas guzzler.
Three years later the brand was dead.
The financial crash killed the Hummer, but sales were already declining before the collapse of Lehman brothers triggered the financial meltdown. People still drive SUVs, but the Hummer has become the symbol of George W. Bush’s second gilded age.
Once ubiquitous, Hummers have become a rare sight on the roads. And that is what has to happen with the gun nut culture.
For years the gun nuts have avoided the social consequences of their diseased mentality. They succeeded in shutting down all conversation on gun control by presenting the triumph of gun-nuttery as inevitable, a wining political argument.
We have to reverse that. Whenever a gun-nut Senator appears in town, we need the demonstrations out there chanting ‘Hey Hey NRA, How many kids did you kill today?” We have to put the enablers of child killers in the same box we put child molesters. Membership in the NRA should be considered as socially unacceptable as membership in NAMBLA.
If you think that goes a bit far, take a look at today’s story in the (paywalled) New York Times. Newtown has been gun-nut central for quite a while.
It isn’t just the guns that are the problem, its the people with the guns and the gun nut culture. Newtown is home to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun-nut lobby for people who think the NRA isn’t gun-nutty enough.
The NRA isn’t afraid to play dirty. They don’t try to win the argument, instead they use agenda denial to stop discussion of gun control from the start. Politicians are proud to present their NRA credentials, we have to turn that around and burn the NRA brand by linking it to the massacres the gun-nut culture has enabled, to Aurora, to Newtown. The terms ‘cop killer bullets’ and ‘assault weapons’ were highly effective in the battle against the NRA gun-culture, we need to seize that rhetorical ground again.
In 2006, it looked as if Hummer culture was unstoppable. A few years later the Hummer brand was gone. It’s time to kill another invincible brand: Brand gun.