Last month, Blake Mycoskie, the founder of the $625 million dollar business Tom’s Shoes, appeared in an Instagram Video with Charles Post to appeal to hunters to join the campaign to help stop gun violence. The post was removed fairly quickly, as the community that welcomed Charles with 100,000 instagram followers turned on him quickly for not understanding the nuance of gun debate.
I’ve since listened to a marketing podcast that Blake was a guest on to explain his position. In the podcast, he repeatedly claimed to not be anti gun. He is merely campaigning for universal background checks, which Charles helped make the case for.
I don’t believe that everyone in these United States should be able to own a gun. And there should be some level of competency required (the same could be said for voting). For example, those on the terrorist watch list should not be able to buy firearms.
But I’m also not willing to give in to a gun-control agenda that will not stop at, or even define, universal background checks. And I don’t believe the conversation can even start without a well understood line in the sand, that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” And it’s hard to trust slippery politicians, and political speak from people like Blake. He says he’s not opposed to guns. Charles says he’s a hunter. Blake is also a supporter of the Humane Society, and thinks you should shoot them with a camera. Makes you scratch your head a little bit at the inconsistency. And I don’t even know if that is it, it’s a nuanced conversation, a tricky conversation, and not one that’s easy to have via social media posts.
But without trust, it’s impossible to have an honest conversation. So if Tom’s wants to give $5 million dollars to curb gun violence in the U.S. (the magnitude of which is often over-hyped and not born out in true statistical analysis – not to discount the impact it has had on the thousands of individuals who have been impacted by it personally), and wants gun owners to be a part of the conversation, as it’s use of Charles Post clearly indicates it does… why not include amongst the recipients of the donation causes on both sides of the debate? Why not target the roots of the problem, such as mental illness and criminality.
Since Tom’s is not doing either, we decided to do what we could with our vastly inferior reach and coffers. We offer instead the “Shall Not Be Infringed” tee, which is our take on Tom’s marketing, only we’re not using the proceeds to buy a ranch in Jackson. All proceeds from the sale of these tees will be given directly to the 4-H Club, and the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, both of which have programs to teach youth the safe handling of firearms.