By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “Hi David,” the email from Meaghan Murphy, Account Executive/Public Relations for global advertising giant GREY (“Famously effective since 1917”) began. “Wanted to follow up on my previous email to see if you had any interest in covering.”
“…States United to Prevent Gun Violence Action Fund, Inc. and the Newtown Action Alliance launched #GhostVote in the nation’s capital with a symbolic takeover – placing body outlines featuring a #GhostVote ballot around the city to give a voice to those silenced by gun violence,” the solicitation for free publicity explained. “The aim of this campaign is to put Common-Sense Gun Laws at the top of the agenda leading up to the elections…”
Apparently capitalizing a phrase is meant to legitimize it without defining specifically what is being proposed in terms of citizen disarmament besides the ubiquitous “Something must be done!” And when you can get specifics out of gun-grabbers, they rarely want to ‘fess up to an end game.
What they want useful idiots to do this time is virtually “adopt” a murder victim, insert their photo into a template, post it on their social feed, forward a copy to legislators, sign a (George Soros-affiliated) MoveOn.org petition, and be the victim’s “ghost vote.” I don't suppose the irony of dead people voting in “progressive” strongholds has occurred to them — then again, perhaps it inspired them. And that perfectly complements another meaningless, invented term, coined to facilitate yet another avenue of disarmament: “ghost guns.”
“In the nation’s capital, body outlines featuring a #GhostVote ballot are prominently featured around the city as a symbolic gesture to give a voice to those silenced by gun violence,” Murphy’s plea for attention continues. To help promote the effort, they have a series of “#GhostVote Takeover Photos in Washington D.C,” featuring a body outline and the project’s website address placed on sidewalks throughout the District (including the National Mall, Dupont Circle, George Washington University, NRA’s DC office and Woodley Park Metro).
OK – she wants something from me, I want something from her.
“Can I get a for-the-record-quote and some additional information for my report, please?” I asked. “Which official(s) gave permission to mark public property as required by § 22–3312.01.? Will you provide copies of relevant permissions covering all locations in your photo shoot?”
It shall be unlawful for any person or persons willfully and wantonly to … write, mark, draw, or paint, without the consent of the owner or proprietor thereof, or, in the case of public property, of the person having charge, custody, or control thereof, any word, sign, or figure upon: (1) Any property, public or private…
“Does Grey have a position concerning supporters who may emulate your clients' sidewalk campaign and who may run afoul of ordinances where they live?” I followed up. “Noting a fairly well-known liability that the promoters of this campaign knew or should have known about, is there any obligation to caution supporters to check first, to avoid unpleasant and expensive surprises?”
It seems petty, but there it is:
Over the past five years, at least 50 people in 17 American cities have run afoul of authorities for coloring things with chalk. The vast majority were arrested in connection with drawing designs or messages on public streets or sidewalks.
Perhaps a big outfit like Grey has made sure no corners were cut, but we’ve seen problems with overzealous propaganda efforts before, and from big outfits like NBC News. “Fortunately” for him, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory got a pass on possessing a 30-round magazine that his guest, NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, would have been frog-marched out of the studio and prosecuted for having.
We’ve seen failures with small efforts as well, like the independently-produced “public service announcement” stumping for new “gun laws.” The filmmaker failed to observe the existing law about bringing an unauthorized replica firearm onto public school grounds.
And we’ve seen less than candid conduct from Grey and its client co-sponsoring the #GhostVote campaign, States United to Prevent Gun Violence. They produced what they call a “PSA,” where they set up a fake gun shop in New York City, and made it seem like first-time gun buyers were talked out of making a purchase by telling them about people killed with the guns. Aside from being typically morbid, it was also typically deceptive. I had to file a Freedom of Information Law request with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media to discover the film permit scene descriptions said “Actors are interviewed on camera…”
“Famously effective” Grey is still claiming the fraudulent video was a “case study.” They’re still saying they met and overcame “the challenge” to “debunk the myth that guns make you safer” by getting “first-time gun buyers” to “think twice” about buying one.
Where I come from, we call that “lying.” And it would be helpful if they got their stories straight, since States United told PJTV the “other persons were selected from a focus group by a marketing research firm.” If that's the truth (and who knows with these characters?), how such persons were identified and selected as “suitable” is not disclosed, nor is it clear if there were any unexpected reactions that didn’t make the final cut.
Perhaps, if Grey’s representative does not respond to the question about its authorization to mark public property (or based on agency conduct, even if she does), another FOIA request for permits will be needed to verify the legality of the sidewalk marking.
In the mean time, it’s pretty obvious that the AstroTurf gun-grabbers are once more relying on slick ad agency campaigns financed by elite special interests to create ludicrous, emotional appeals to the ignorant – just like the ridiculous #GunsOut “selfie” promotion we talked about the other day. And just as that could be turned around by using that hashtag to promote open carry, the “Ghost Vote” initiative could be turned around as well.
Keeping local ordinances in mind, sidewalk body outlines could be written over with messages about how the “victim” was unarmed, how “gun control” prevents self-defense, or how the police aren’t around until it’s time to pull out the chalk. And the thing about petitions – anyone can sign them to demand more citizen disarmament. Even guys with names like “Adolf” and “Saddam.” Lastly, as long as appropriating photos of victims is considered fair game by the Totalitarian Lobby, it’s a certainty that more casualties of “gun control” could be found by several orders of magnitude.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.