David Yi Oxford Academy 11th Grade
As the 2018 year comes to a start in melodramatic fashion, it seems that one of the most significant social issues has re-risen to leave a bitter taste in American homes across the country. Domestic school violence has been an issue that has left American politicians drowning in a pile of petitions and demanding requests to tighten gun laws. The National Rifle Association, which is known as the country’s most powerful gun lobby group, seems to be in the middle of this situation that is only getting worse. It’s not just grown adults entering public education institutions fully-armed with lethal weapons anymore; teenagers have been the recent topic when it comes to perpetrators. In a desperate attempt to receive answers from absolutely anyone, families of victims have thrown entire corporations into the heated debates on school shootings.
Thankfully, there have been some responses. After a mass shooting from a Florida high school last week, companies were found to be dropping partnerships with the National Rifle Association (NRA), which boasts over five million members. Avis, MetLife, Best Western, and United Airlines are only a few of a long list of multi-million dollar companies that have broken their contracts with the NRA in the wake of recent events.
Many people have been appraising the vocalization of such corporations for speaking out on social issues on sites such as Twitter and Instagram. However, the split-up with the NRA could prove to be much more harmful than these big-buck corporations realize. “There is always a financial risk of alienating part of your audience, but that’s a short-term risk,” said Deb Gabor, CEO of Sol Marketing. The NRA composes of an extremely large audience for corporations that could all potentially be lost at the swipe of a pen-stroke. Unloading contracts with the NRA could also open up a major legal dilemma for companies, since none of these long-term contracts were even close to their expiration dates. The NRA could easily find a way to file lawsuits on money damages and hit these corporations when they least expect it. It’s a risky move, especially on the financial portfolio of some of the most respected CEOs in the country. But the courage and good-hearted values it took for some of these corporations to take a stand on social justice is commendable without a doubt.
This isn’t the first time that companies have been pressured for retaining close partnerships with the NRA. In 2016, a group of gay-rights and gun-control activists attacked FedEx on their massive discounts towards NRA members. Although FedEx chose to simply ignore the policies, there’s no doubt that they took a big hit due to the public exposure that the movement took on national television. Corporations need to be careful about the cards they are playing in what we can call an extremely “case-sensitive” era for America. Just one blunt move from a working employee or executive can get fingers pointing in the wrong direction, and companies definitely don’t want that. For now, the best solution for corporations would be to lay low and let the heated situations cool down.
<David Yi Oxford Academy 11th Grade