A woman recently saw an Open Carry Texas (OCT) protest and called the local police non-emergency number to report the armed group.
She seemed offended that those involved were armed with “assault weapons” (her exact words) and that protesters were—and I quote—”very threatening.” It’s important to note that while she clearly didn’t agree with the protest, she never claimed that the firearms were being brandished or shaken or pointed at anyone. This was not a SWATing call to 911 designed to make the police overreact, but a call to the local police non-emergency line.
Last month, Brett Sanders posted the audio of the call over video of what appears to be video from the protest, and in what can only be considered a tone-deaf jerk move, he not only failed to sanitize the caller’s phone number and name, he went out of his way to call attention to both her name and her phone number.
Without any evidence at all to support his contention, Sanders then claimed that the caller was part of the citizen control cult, Moms Demand Action.
— Brett Sanders (@brettsanders) April 12, 2014
This was incredibly stupid.
Sanders had zero evidence to support his assertion that the caller was a member of a gun control group, and as a practical matter, odds are very much against that being the truth. There simply aren’t that many people who care enough about gun control, which is why their membership meetings are generally held around a single table at a local restaurant, if they have enough people for a local meeting at all. This lack of numbers is also why Moms Demand could only draw 156 sad souls from around the nation to their “counter-protest” in Indianapolis, even when Michael Bloomberg was picking up the tab.
Sanders’s decision to intentionally highlight this woman’s name and phone number, and his unsupported claim, were quickly picked up by an anti-gun Texas journalist. His behavior was used to hammer gun owners yet again as evidence of gun owners being nothing more armed bullies that pick on disarmed women.
Thanks for lending credibility to the Moms Demand group’s argument, Brett. Sadly, it’s part of a pattern of behavior by a group that simply does not understand how to fight and win a public relations battle. OCT is really good at rallying like-minded supporters, but they are the Lee Paige of gun rights groups when it comes to appealing to John Q. Public.
Publishing the name of someone who doesn’t agree with you in hopes that your supporters will harass and bully them into silence is a brain-dead move. Period. It puts your own side on the defensive, gives ammunition to the opposition, and most importantly, it repels those important moderates in the middle that help win elections.
I said it over the weekend, and I’ll say it again: Open Carry Texas desperately needs some professional public relations help.