Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Gun Protest in Philadelphia: Missing the Target

Christmas is fast approaching, and a Christmas tree ornament has sparked a loud protest.


In short, Urban Outfitters recently began selling a small selection of Christmas ornaments, including a skull and crossbones ornament, a hamburger ornament, a beer ornament, and a plastic gun ornament, among others.

Unfortunately, the city of Philadelphia, where Urban Outfitters is headquartered (full disclosure: writer holds shares in this stock) has been having a major problem with homicides caused by gun shootings. This is indeed a terrible trend, and the city needs all the help it can get in protecting its citizens from low-life scumbag gun slingers. But perhaps more unfortunately, Men United for a Better Philadelphia, a well-meaning and dedicated group looking to quell the violence in the city, protested the sale of these gun ornaments outside of an Urban Outfitters store yesterday.

I see their point and most definitely appreciate their outspokeness. As I said, something needs to be done about gun violence in Philly and around the world, and we need more people like them.

But perhaps this protest is a bit misdirected.

For starters, I'd prefer to see Men United or other groups protesting gun shops, if anything. This is where the killers go to pack heat. Confront them at the source and maybe divert some potential problems, such as gun straw buying. But that's not really my point here.

Instead of just protesting the company, the group could work with Urban Outfitters and include a pamphlet or notice along with the purchase of these guns to alert buyers to the unfortunate problem that real guns are causing in the city. Perhaps they could even work with Urban Outfitters to donate a portion of the ornament's sales to Men United's worthy cause. Or even ask to put a sticker on the box with a link to Men United's website.

The point being, use that positive energy to work with the major corporation to help improve lives and gain positive attention for your cause, rather than trying to bring negative publicity to the store, which has subsequently sold out of the ornament and plans to reorder because it was such a hot item. If Men United were trying to prevent the sales, their plan backfired. (Sorry, bad pun.)

Happy holidays and have fun shopping!

No comments: