The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which was launched to bring attention to the kidnapping of hundreds of girls in Nigeria by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, has inspired plenty of discussion, on Twitter and elsewhere. On Friday, the National Rifle Association felt compelled to weigh in. The organization joined the chorus of conservatives bashing First Lady Michelle Obama for participating in the hashtag campaign and found a way to turn the discussion to guns.
“[T]his month, in response to terrorists kidnapping 300 girls in Nigeria, First Lady Michelle Obama locked and loaded for battle with her own ‘selfie,’ with the unconditional surrender demand #BringBackOurGirls,” the NRA’s lobbying arm wrote in an editorial on its website. “Tyrants and terrorists, like murderers, rapists and robbers, understand only one thing: force. They laugh at, and are emboldened by, weakness. That is why it is important to preserve and promote the right to keep and bear arms. An armed citizenry deters violence.”
Similarly, the NRA criticized State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki for recently posing for a photograph while holding a sign reading “#UnitedForUkraine.”
“Ms. Psaki’s and Mrs. Obama’s naiveté–thinking that Vladimir Putin or Boko Haram terrorists will change their ways because of tweets–would provide ample fodder for their ridicule, were we so inclined,” the NRA said. “But while we appreciate the value of maintaining a sense of humor in the face of things that are disagreeable, we do so only within reasonable limits. There is nothing funny in this instance.”
The NRA said it would not “stake our personal safety on ‘#PleaseDontHurtMe’ tweets.”
“Instead, we will exercise our right to arms, by acquiring the best arms for defensive purposes and becoming proficient in their use,” the NRA said. “And we will do everything possible in 2016 to help elect a president who understands the importance of maintaining strength, whether dealing with common criminals here at home, or with international criminals on the world stage.”