Most of us wouldn’t think of there being much that’s controversial about 4-H. Some of us were probably members back in the day, and while some people got their knickers in a twist over some states using Native American tribe names at their summer camps, there’s just not a lot to get that worked up over.
I mean, unless people think agriculture is controversial, anyway.
But it seems the folks over at Deadline found something to get butthurt about. In particular, the fact that 4-H doesn’t necessarily toe the anti-gun line.
The mass shooting last month in Maine — perpetrated by an Army reservist allowed to keep his guns reportedly bought days before he underwent psychiatric evaluations due to his erratic behavior that included hearing voices that were not there — briefly reopened debate about whether a standardized red-flag law could have prevent the massacre of 18, and the injury of 13 others. Each new shooting rampage seems to elicit fresh conversation about a crackdown on semi-automatic weapons and the need to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. Met with resistance from the gun lobby, those cries are stifled amid patronizing calls for it being “a time to heal” — until the next massacre re-opens the wound.
In light of the latest shooting, how does it look that every year, a federal program trains 500,000 children as young as 8 years old to shoot guns, funded by more than $1 million from the NRA and the gun manufacturing lobby?
Cue the arguments over whether gun manufacturers are indoctrinating the next generation of responsible gun owners, versus that the gunmakers and gun lobby are doing something akin to hooking kids on nicotine by teaching them to smoke while underage. What is indisputable is that while politicians fail to get serious about red flag statutes with teeth, this well-funded program is quietly ingraining a new generation into gun culture.
The federal program – the National 4-H Shooting Sports Program – is part of the 4-H youth development organization, which is administered by the nation’s 109 land-grant universities under the auspices of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. That is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is headed by the Secretary of Agriculture, who reports directly to the President of the United States and is a member of the president’s Cabinet.
The administration of 4-H is a little more complicated than that last paragraph suggests, of course, but that’s not really surprising, either.
What Deadline seems to be suggesting is that this is a completely federal program that also takes money from the evil gun lobby.
First, let’s remember that the NRA’s mandate is also to support firearm education programs just like this. That includes youth shooting programs that, among other things, teach gun safety. Just like this 4-H program does.
Of course, that’s not really the issue in and of itself.
This isn’t about the NRA offering the money but about 4-H accepting the money. You see, anything that comes from the NRA is tainted in the eyes of folks like Deadline. They can’t show that anything wrong is happening or that these programs actually lead to mass shootings or anything else negative. They just don’t like the NRA and would rather see these programs vanish than accept money from the evil pro-gun organization.
Yet these are also generally people who lament the lack of training they perceive among most gun owners. They argue that we shouldn’t be able to carry firearms without training or even buy them without it, yet here they are lashing out over a group they prefer to demonize actually granting money to 4-H groups to provide training.
Especially when some of these folks are worked up that the NRA is involved in politics and not exclusively focused on firearm education.
It’s beyond bizarre.
And let’s take a look at what more than $1 million looks like over 49 states–they note California’s 4-H already stopped accepting NRA grants–and see just how vile it is.
We’re talking just over $20,000 per state. That’s not even one full-time employee’s salary. This is what Deadline is getting worked up over.
Obviously, some states are getting more while others are getting less, so it’s not that cut and dried, but the average is a drop in the proverbial bucket, and it’s all about training, including much-needed gun safety education.