PA Town Refuses To Turn Gun Giveaway Into Controversy

A couple of weeks ago Tom Knighton wrote about a gun raffle in central Pennsylvania that was generating some controversy. Actually, to be more accurate there was one person in Cumberland County who was trying to turn the gun raffle into a controversial subject. Daina Thompson, a parent of two students in the school district and a “mental health professional,” was outraged over the raffle and the fact that members of the Cedar Cliff High School football team were selling tickets.

“In such poor taste,” she said, the sale was announced during National Suicide Prevention Week.

“I cannot support something that is potentially putting guns in more homes of the teenagers I see, knowing the stats,” Thompson said. “They clearly didn’t consult a mental health professional in this.”

The cringe is real. Yet there’s good news to report out of Cumberland County, and on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co the Washington Examiner‘s Salena Zito joins the show to discuss what she learned when she dug into Thompson’s complaints and the community’s reaction. And how did the community at large respond to Thompson’s demand to pull the raffle? Mostly by ignoring her completely.

The school, citing its lack of jurisdiction over the matter, didn’t try to stop the event. The community didn’t storm the school with protests outside its doors. It was hard to find any evidence of outrage, even on social media.

Around here, the whining winds of outrage were still because people in this community calmly said, “Not in our town.”

David Ellis, the owner of DnJ Precision Custom Firearms and Ammo, is supplying the guns for the raffle.

“People around here have a deep respect for guns,” he said. “They own them, they use them in practice in hunting and target shooting. They teach their children at a young age the same values and the importance of gun safety.”

Now, as best as I can tell, no one’s yelled at Thompson in the grocery store or shunned her at the local Bunco game. She’s entitled to her opinion, even if she’s in the minority point of view, but that doesn’t mean that the community at large is simply going to bend to her anti-gun activism.

To date, no one has come to the shop to complain to Ellis for participating in the raffle — in fact, he said he has received the opposite reaction.

“What I have heard is overwhelming support for it,” he said. “Because around here, you have firehouses that raise money through gun raffles, other schools as well.”

Ellis credited the booster club for recognizing what would raise money so that the student-athletes have the right equipment to keep them safe on the field, saying, “A gun raffle like this is going to sell more tickets than somebody wanting to buy fancy gift-wrap paper or popcorn.”

Ellis isn’t the only one to receive positive feedback from the community, the booster club’s Facebook page has been flooded with well-wishers — not just from the two counties that make up the district, but across the state and country as well from people who want to buy the raffle tickets.

In an era when it is all too common for communities to bend over backward for the angriest person in the room, this community refused to buckle. The school district didn’t give in to threats, and the booster club reacted calmly to the demand to have the guns removed from the raffle.

The voice of one malcontent person failed to cancel out the good of many.

I love a story with a happy ending.

Daina Thompson is certainly entitled to her opinion, but honestly, one person’s opinion does not a news story make. Part of the problem we face with outrage culture is that the media loves to cover it. They’ve got no problem highlighting the hollering of a single person in the hopes that their coverage will bring on a chorus of voices joining in to complain, which in turn allows them to continue to report on the controversy they’ve helped to manufacture. It’s a vicious cycle, but the folks in Cumberland County figured out a way to short-circuit the system; they simply and politely ignored what Thompson had to say.

Now, this strategy can”t be replicated in every situation involving anti-gun activists and homegrown hoplophobes, but the Cedar Cliffs football booster club’s gun raffle is a very enlightening case study in how to cause the flames of outrage sputter out by depriving them oxygen as well as another indication that the gun control lobby simply doesn’t have a lot of power and influence outside of deep blue Democrat-controlled cities. Daina Thompson may have hoped to launch a loud barrage of complaints over the gun raffle, but as it turns out her anti-gun campaign quietly faded away because the vast majority of her neighbors simply believe she’s wrong.

Oct 24, 2021 2:30 PM ET