Imitation, so they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.
But heaping condemnation on something you later steal and then try to portray as your own? Well, that’s just downright weird.
And if there’s any truth to a recent blog post appearing in the New York Times, that’s what Shannon Watts – head of the Bloomberg-backed gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – has done in promoting a safety course that looks suspiciously like NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program.
The blog post in general discusses ways for parents to broach the subject of firearms in the homes of their children’s playmates. Predictably (considering the source) it cites the executive director of the American Public Health Association as opining, “When it comes to guns, the safest situation is not having firearms in the home at all.”
But one surprise to come out of the blog post is a paragraph discussing the supposed gun safety training efforts of the would-be matriarch of gun control herself. The article states:
Even if you do not own a gun, it's important to have a conversation with your children about what to do if they ever see a gun, said Shannon Watts, a gun safety advocate and founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. That group co-founded a gun safety program that works with PTAs around the country. Children should be taught to leave the area immediately, not touch the firearm, tell an adult right away and call a parent, Ms. Watts said.
In other words, Mrs. Watts was giving her own spin on NRA’s trademarked Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program. Since 1988, this effort has had a simple but very important mission: “teach children four simple, easy to remember steps so they know what to do if they ever come across a gun.” Those steps are: “STOP! Don’t touch. Run away. Tell a grown-up.”
It is a mantra that some 26,000 school teachers and law enforcement officers have taught to over 28 million children. In 2001, the Journal of Emergency Nursing Online found Eddie Eagle GunSafe® to be the best of 80 gun accident prevention programs evaluated. It has also been lauded by groups such as the National Sheriffs’ Association, the U.S. Department of Justice (through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention), and the Association of American Educators. Meanwhile, over half the states have endorsed the use of the program in their schools.
Even gun control activist Mark Kelly once tweeted, “I don’t agree w/ the NRA on some big issues, but they deserve a lot of credit for teaching kids about gun safety [via] Eddie Eagle.”
Indeed, Eddie Eagle has never been about politics or promoting any particular view of guns. NRA does not derive any revenues from the program. It’s simply one way to help prevent accidents and protect kids.
And even as the number of firearms in American homes have grown exponentially, fatal firearms accidents in the Eddie Eagle age group have been reduced by more than 80 percent since the program’s national launch.
Nevertheless, less than a year ago, the deputy director of Moms Demand Action was publicly bashing the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program in response to its use at a kindergarten in rural Pennsylvania, where guns are as common as pickup trucks and hunting dogs. “It’s atrocious to put the onus of gun safety onto children — this is an adult problem,” she huffed to Yahoo News. “Every gun that’s gotten into the hands of a child has first been under the control of an adult. A program that tries to dodge that is disingenuous.”
What’s really disingenuous, though is for Watts’s gun control group to pose as a “gun safety” organization, when their real mission is to lobby on behalf of Michael Bloomberg for restrictive gun control laws and to promote the idea that the Second Amendment endangers the life of children.
And what’s amazingly disingenuous is for Watts to claim Eddie Eagle’s advice as her own, while senior officials of her organization criticize its use under the NRA banner. To be clear, Eddie Eagle was spreading his life-saving message decades before Michael Bloomberg disingenuously rebranded public relations professional as the “everymom” who finally put her foot down against America’s “epidemic” of “gun violence.”
Watts and her group have a lot of catching up to do in this area, because when it comes to teaching Americans about safe and responsible gun ownership, NRA has been the leading voice since 1871.