Days after a gunman killed 17 people and wounded dozens more at a Florida high school, a billboard in Louisville, was vandalized, tagged with the words ‘Kill the NRA.’
The graffiti is signed by the anti-Trump group Resist 45, which has vandalized other billboards in the Louisville area. In October, a Keystone billboard encouraging beer-lovers to “Grab life by the ’Stones” was changed to “Grab life by the p—-” — a jab at President Trump’s comment in a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video, in which he bragged in obscene terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women.
The group’s threat to the NRA surprised drivers heading north on I-65 near the Fern Valley Road exit earlier this week. David Watkins, a spokesman for Outfront Media, which owns the billboard, told the Louisville Courier-News on Tuesday that the vandalism has been “immediately removed.”
But photos of the graffiti had already begun circulating on social media, and the NRA posted it to its Facebook page Monday.
“To all American gun owners, this is a wakeup call. They’re coming after us. Like and share to spread the word,” NRA officials wrote in the post.
The billboard’s message has been interpreted by some as a threat and by others as a call to action.
“I am part of the NRA along with millions of other Americans. Are you threating [sic] to kill me?” one person asked in a tweet.
“The message is simple, ‘Kill the influence that the NRA has on our politicians,’ ” tweeted Ed Krassenstein.
The NRA’s Facebook post is one of few public comments the organization has made since, police say, a 19-year-old walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday and opened fire. The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, participated in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by an NRA grant as part of a multimillion-dollar effort to support youth shooting clubs, according to the Associated Press.
The NRA’s Twitter account often keeps quiet in the days after mass shootings, and there were no tweets for nearly six full days in the wake of the Florida massacre — the longest the association has gone without tweeting since early 2015.
It’s a safe strategy for the gun lobby to employ amid anti-gun protests in the wake of the Florida shooting. As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump reported:
For those who oppose new restrictions on gun sales and ownership, it’s advantageous to call for a period during which politics aren’t discussed. Express sympathy and keep your head down until cooler heads prevail. This is why the NRA’s Twitter account has gone relatively dark after recent massacres: Why give critics something to seize on?
But by speaking out about the billboard, the NRA can perhaps remind Americans of its tried-and-true slogan: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” After all, most Americans continue to say that mass shootings are the result of problems identifying and addressing mental health issues rather than inadequate gun laws, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Resist 45’s Facebook page appears to have been deleted. The group had previously described itself on the page as “news about President Donald Trump by the Resistance. No fake news here — Honest, accurate coverage with a not-so-small tinge of rage.”