In the aftermath of the atrocity perpetrated in Parkland and the very public, ahem, conversation(?) taking place on the role of assault-style firearms in American life, people of all walks of life have been, for lack of better term, weaponized.
Major American retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods went viral 28 February, when they issued a press release taking a stand and making policy changes with regard to the sale of ‘modern sporting rifles’. And, of course, the weaponized amongst us saw this as either a humanity-affirming move by a retailer to show their solidarity with the victims and the community, or an encroachment on constitutional rights.
The truth is, of course, neither. And the greater truth underscored here is that people en masse have stopped paying attention to anything anyone says beyond a general sense that whatever is being said generally conforms to existing sociopolitical prejudice.
I noticed this right away, and I’m not alone in doing so, but Dick’s proper stopped selling these types of weapons after Sandy Hook. They say so literally in middle of the press release. What they actually did was change the policy for their Field & Stream label, which only has 35 locations nationwide.
You’ve never heard of Field & Stream stores in the same way that you’ve never heard of Lion’s Choice roast beef joints in the St. Louis area. There are 26 of them. If they were to, say, stop offering coleslaw, you wouldn’t care.
In fairness, if a change in the landscape is going to happen, it ought to happen privately. If a business or community feels as though a change needs to take place, that conversation should happen there. On the one hand, this is how things should be done.
On the other, a retailer is blatantly posturing in a naked attempt to exploit public consciousness on a sensitive topic to make their doorstep more appealing for patrons to darken and spend their money. In so doing, they’ve told a pretty brazen half-truth that technically is true, but actually changes next to nothing.
That hasn’t stopped thousands of people from reacting and sharing the release as though it were a bold stand on a hot topic, which it isn’t. What it is is a shameful, cowardly and deceptive stunt to pry open more wallets in their checkout lanes. (And have you seen the prices on their crap lately? One needs to pry open a second mortgage!)
Update: Link to press release added, and they slapped highly-detailed UTM conditions on the link (which I’ve stripped from the URL for you. You’re welcome.) Not only does this demonstrate how little they care, but how badly they want to know who is sharing their release where and strategize from there. Dicks, indeed. –b.