So, the NRA asked America for its feedback. America provided some.
Actually, MSNBC Host, Chris Hayes described the NRA as an "organization of paranoid white grievance," according to a NRA News tweet. The NRA then posted a video — featuring one of its most prominent black members, target-group spokesmen and NRA-sponsored show hosts, Colion Nior — explaining why the group responded last week in a notably (and, some might say, uncharacteristically) limited way to a Minnesota police officer. And the NRA asked the portion of America that does not agree with Hayes's assessment of the organization for its thoughts via Twitter.
And, well — Twitter interpreted that invitation more broadly.
Nior's video explains that the organization is awaiting critical facts before saying more — an approach he describes as a wise one. His video also includes a technically accurate but selective review of gun laws and political efforts aimed at restricting black gun ownership. Nior then saved some of his time to critique "mainstream" media's controversy and conflict-centered coverage of race. What's needed, he says, is a greater emphasis on facts, on laws and, by implication, structures. Another fair —and, as demonstrated in the last 10 days, often accurate — assessment. But that's all his video contained. Twitter noticed.
As more than one person also noted, Nior took on the one argument — that the NRA generally supports gun rights — that he wanted to address and left unattended the details of Hayes's comments or those leveled by others who have noted the NRA's near silence about the shooting in Minnesota. Specifically, there was no NRA effort or aspect of Nior's response video that addressed allegations that the NRA has used the combustive combination of fear of crime and stereotypes about who commits it to encourage gun ownership, NRA membership and support of the organization's political aims. A measured, fact-based response sounds great — but to many, does not comport with the NRA's by now well-documented rapid response to other national incidents involving guns and death. (The short version of that response: people opposed to gun rights, not the legal possession and use of guns, are the problem.) None of this was lost on Twitter.
The NRA asked. People responded.