Don’t Blame the NRA

25 02 2018

I saw that several companies have recently cut ties with the NRA. I was particularly disappointed to see Delta and Hertz among them, as I have availed myself of their services on many occasions, and nearly exclusively in my frequent travels over the past 30 years. I am a two-million miler with Delta and a President’s Circle member at Hertz.

 

Don’t Blame the NRA

These and other companies have chosen to boycott the NRA in the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida; but, I feel the decision is not based on doing what is right but, instead, is based on greed. The decision-makers at Delta, Hertz and others are smart enough to know the NRA had nothing, whatsoever, to do with that or any other shooting. The NRA is no more complicit in school shootings than Delta Airlines was in the underwear bomber, who tried to bring down a Delta plane on its approach into Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009. Or, you could look at it another way. It’s like blaming the National Association of Airline Passengers for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The National Association of Airline Passengers is a non-profit organization, as is the NRA, which advocates for the rights of citizens, as does the NRA. So, does that mean that if a plane crashes into a school, we should boycott them? Of course not. That would be ridiculous.

 

The NRA, whose mission statement includes defending the United States Constitution, advocates for safe and responsible gun ownership. What’s wrong with defending the Constitution? The NRA didn’t put the gun in the hands of the shooter any more than Delta or Fruit of the Loom put explosive material inside the drawers of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

 

A Decision of Greed

Delta and these other companies initiated this misinformed boycott for business reasons only. They did it to protect their image from what they perceived was an indictment of the NRA on the part of the majority of Americans. That is greed and for that, I resent their actions. Rather than attack an organization who is not complicit in violent acts, our efforts would be better spent if we work together to identify the problems and search for answers. If you were able to get rid of every gun in the world, then those who want to hurt school kids could simply walk into schools wearing underwear stuffed with explosives.

 

In the case of the Parkland shooting, there is plenty of blame to go around, but none involves the NRA. How about all the tips about this kid which had been reported to law enforcement including the Broward and Palm Beach Sheriff’s offices and the FBI? These included numerous tips from neighbors, child protective services, classmates and teachers. How about the four deputies who cowardly sat outside the school for four minutes while the six-minute shooting took place? School officials had been warned numerous times about Cruz. The NRA didn’t tell any of these entities to ignore this young man.

 

Given his mental state, which had become well-known, this kid should never have had a gun. Yes, we need to get a better handle on who can own a gun, but over-reacting by blaming the NRA is counter-productive.

 

Stand Up for What is Right

Back to the subject at hand-I am fiercely loyal, so I won’t be flying American Airlines or renting from Dollar anytime in the foreseeable future. Heck, by the time I get this posted, they may well have joined the boycott, as well. Both Delta and Hertz have been good to me over the years and I’m not going to boycott their boycott, in spite of their cowardice. I believe their actions will backfire and, when that happens, I hope they will be as quick to renounce their decision as they were to join the boycott. But regardless, I now plan to join the NRA…not in spite of any boycott, but because I support their mission to defend the Constitution and advocate for gun safety. Rather than condemning the NRA, we should call on them to use their resources to further promote gun safety since it wouldn’t be reasonable to think taking guns away from gun owners will stop gun violence. Join me, Delta, Hertz and others, and stand up for what is right.

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Maybe He’s Smarter Than You Think

21 05 2016

I had to go to Minneapolis this week to speak at a managers’ conference for a large food manufacturer. As many of you are already aware, I fly Delta almost exclusively, unless I’m going abroad and Delta just doesn’t go where I need to be. On this trip, I had a non-stop flight straight to Minneapolis.

When Delta boards an aircraft, they begin with the folks who need a little extra time getting down the jet bridge…those doing the Tim Conway shuffle. I shouldn’t say that because that’ll be me one day. They are followed by those having children under the age of two. As I watched the young parents line up to begin boarding, I thought, oh my goodness! There must be a Parents with Children Under the Age of Two convention in Minneapolis this week. It looked like they just emptied the nursery at Duke Medical Center and all the new parents decided to go, at the same time, to see grandma in Minneapolis; and, on the same flight…MY flight.

Well, kudos to Delta. They had the foresight to seat all of these families with their cherubs, together, near the back of the plane. A pox on your house, Delta! You had the audacity to put me right in front of them! Actually, when I entered the plane and saw that I was sitting directly in front of this group, I took it in stride. I really don’t mind sitting near babies, even crying babies. In fact, I feel sympathy for parents traveling with small children. If you are a follower of this blog, you know from past posts this isn’t my first encounter with flying tots. See Coffee, Tea or Screaming Baby. (https://billtaylorcsp.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/coffee-tea-or-screaming-baby/ ) The Lord gave me the gift of being able to tune out crying babies, nagging wives (not mine, of course) and other annoying sounds. Little did I know that one of these ankle biters was about to put me to the test.

Now, this was a Regional Jet, so it wasn’t a very large plane. And, when you put a…well, what DO you call a group of infants and toddlers? If it’s a gaggle of geese, a brood of chicks, a kindle of kittens…must be a bellowing of babies.

I wasn't through telling you about my husband!

I wasn’t through telling you about my husband!

Well, I took my seat beside some lady who appeared to be about my age. Before the air could even escape from my seat cushion, she was talking to me. She was telling me that her husband was supposed to be in my seat, but he did something really stupid. They were on their way to Bozeman, Montana and he had made his own reservations; but, they didn’t discover until the night before, that he had made his reservations on the wrong flight. He was actually on his way to Bozeman via Salt Lake City at that moment. And she didn’t stop there. She went on and on like a square dance caller. Well, as I listened to her non-stop monologue, two thoughts came to my mind. First…she only THINKS her husband made a mistake and accidentally wound up on the wrong plane. He was probably halfway to Salt Lake City thinking about the poor schmuck who got stuck beside his wife. Secondly…where are the cries from all these babies when I need them?

It was about that time the child directly behind me began to wail. And wail. And wail. That gave me the opportunity to put my Bose headphones on and read my book without being too obvious to the lady that I felt we had engaged long enough.

Now, it has been my experience with small babies, that when they cry, eventually, they will begin to tire and go to sleep. Not this child. This six-month old had the endurance of a Kenyan distance runner. Three hours later, as we entered our approach into the Minneapolis airport, this child was still going strong. Her ears were probably hurting-poor baby. But then, a third thought came to mind. In 64 years she will probably be sitting beside a stranger in a plane explaining how her husband accidentally booked himself on the wrong flight. The poor schmuck!