Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What the hell?

I have supported the Wounded Warrior Project with money when I could, time when I had some, and by word of mouth for a couple of years.

Today I learn that might not have been my best idea.

I am a gun person. The majority of my friends are gun people. While I may not agree with them a lot of the time, I support the NRA, GOA, LEAA and other gun-rights organisations.

Apparently this gets me cross-threaded with the Wounded Warrior Project.

The following link leads to an e-mail exchange between Tom Gresham of Gun Talk Radio and the PR Director over at WWP.

Just in case someone was playing a nasty joke on me, I popped over to the 'Additional Opportunities' page at www.woundedwarriorproject.org and looked for the quote cited in the e-mail exchange linked above.

Yep. I do quote from that page:

"WWP does not co-brand, create cause marketing campaigns or receive a percentage or a portion of proceeds from companies in which the product or message is sexual, political or religious in nature, or from alcohol or firearms companies."

Highlighting is mine.


I am a "firearms person" and I have done what I could for that charity.  I know of several "firearms companies" who have gone above and beyond for wounded veterans and the charities that support them, up to and including the Wounded Warrior Project.

This is one hell of a spit in the eye of those in the "firearms business" who have gone out of their way to support this Nation's wounded heroes.  All righty then. Doom on the Wounded Warrior Project.

Other folks have recommended Soldiers' Angels, and they haven't shown any sign -- so far -- of biting the hands that feed them, so they'll be getting my hard-earned dosh and time from here on out; and nothing but the back of my hand for the Wounded Warrior Project.

LawDog

42 comments:

Gerry N. said...

What in Shiva's name gets into people like that? Is it some kind of ego game or simple stupidity?

Occam's Razor moves me toward blaming sheer, overweening stupidity.

Gerry N.

TheMinuteman said...

Soldier's Angels has done quite the opposite of biting the hand that feeds.

They were at GBR this year and personally thanked us for our support and even spoke at the event.

Soldiers' Angels knows the worst thing in the world is to ostracize or offend a section of their supporters. Their focus is on their mission and nothing more and that is something I can seriously get behind.

Patrick said...

LD, I love your writing. It's unfortunate that the WWP felt the need to maintain such a broad policy; it seems equally unfortunate to me that Gun Talk has been, as Ken from Popehat would say, Butthurt in the First Degree. Like it or not, firearms causes and manufacturers are politically controversial in the same ways as pharmaceutical companies and environmental activism. Is it really so offensive that a charity might not want to get entangled in precisely this sort of mess?

Anonymous said...

You know, you might ask a Wounded Warrior what he thinks about all this.

Spear

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's really so offensive that a charity that's received tons of support, moral and financial, from gun companies and their customers, treats them like child molesters in public while gleefully cashing their checks. If I wanted that kind of treatment, I'd join the DNC.

WWP can hit Chuck-U Schumer up for cash next time.

Thanks for the Douche-Alert, Law Dog.

-Aesop

Patrick said...

Aesop,
They haven't said a word against gun owners, or kettle owners, or wooden spoon owners - all they've done is decline to appear on an explicitly political talk show. Nobody's being "treated like a child molester". WWP explicitly deny getting financial support from firearms manufacturers. If that's not true, it makes perfect sense to pillory them for false advertising. If it is true, and I note that no actual gun company has come forward to question this policy, then they're consistent in avoiding a wide variety of controversial sponsors. Still don't see how that's a personal insult to each and every person who's ever patronized those companies. The clientele of Hustler and Anheuser-Busch don't seem to be too deeply offended....

Patrick said...

For what it's worth, Soldier's Angels seems like an excellent charity and I've donated through them in the past. I'm not trying to run them down or divert any attention from their work - just don't understand why folks I'd consider very reasonable seem to be taking this policy so very personally.

MSgt B said...

Ha Ha.

The irony, it is strong.

http://museshank.blogspot.com/2012/09/back-to-being-clark-kent.html

Tango said...

Patrick, yes it is that important for us to recognize what they're doing. The LARGEST supporters of the military are those that are the most staunch conservatives. Those are also the gun owners. You think the Liberals are writing very many checks to WWP? I think not. It's us.

If they want to politicize their charity, who are we to argue? They don't want to do business with gun owners, so we will be more than happy to oblige. If they change their stance, then I will once again support their charity. Until then, Soldiers' Angels (who gets money EVERY year from Boomershoot) will reap the rewards.

Anonymous said...

They chose to single firearms companies out.

Not tobacco companies, multinational investment bankers, or marijuana farmers.

So tell me, when legal companies selling legal products to 2/3rds of the country are "controversial", who the hell isn't? Certainly anyone who supports them is.
And why not go after the steel companies that made the materials for the guns and bombs, the chemical companies who made the explosives, or the financiers who made all those crippling injuries possible?

And when you treat $1 from Colt, S&W, Ruger, Remington et al. EXACTLY like you would $1 from the KKK or Al Queda, you aren't "staying above the fray", you're making a very public statement that the former are every bit as disreputable as the latter - child molester status. That's WWP's free choice, but the only place it's "apolitical" is in Wonderland Behind The Looking Glass.

That Anhueser-Busch, Hustler, & Co. haven't come off the bench is attributable to a combination of disinterest and Stockholm syndrome. Can you blame them for not clawing the way to the tip jar of a group whose official policy is to ask them "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

But it's indeed heartwarming to note that not only will no funds be accepted from three of the largest advertisers in the country, but further that no funds will be accepted from the GOP, DNC, or the church, since those are only the three largest and most successful fund-raising machines worldwide in recorded history.
Me, I'd expect an organization that actually gave an actual damn about wounded vets to engage them all in the biggest bidding war of all time to see who'd fall all over themselves to give the most, but what in hell do I know?

So what we're left with is an organization that made the decision to curry favor with those who think guns are bad, by urinating on the heads of those who don't. Please don't step up on their behalf and tell me it's raining.

If the cause were their real focus, they'd take money from the devil himself to help guys crippled in the service of their country. But clearly what's most important is kowtowing to political correctness, and smooching the rectal areas of the tiny-minded hobgoblin dung beetles who thrive in such filth.

The board and PR director at WWP who came up with such a retarded policy are epic jackasses of world-class standing. Were they possessed of the slightest amount of concern for those they claim to serve, if not actual honor, they'd apologize and resign.
Going home to slit their stomachs open afterwards would be too much to hope for, but certainly not to much to ask. I'd be happy to spring for the price of the swords for that.

-Aesop

LawDog said...

"all they've done is decline to appear on an explicitly political talk show."

Negative.

The have posted on their web-site (quoted in the post above, by the way) that they will NOT -- and I quote again: "receive a percentage or a portion of proceeds from ... firearms companies."

That is their right, as a private corporation to do so.

It is also my right to decide that my firearms-related money is better donated somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Send them a nasty gram on Facebook or twitter.

We support Task Force Dagger at work and home. These sponsor vets shooters at 3 gun event

Gerry

robert martin said...

I would ask about the execs drug use myself.

This is a MILITARY HELP GROUP how exactly can you justify being anti-gun when you are helping GUN OWNERS???

I would suggest that the WWP has an office in the land of Hona Lee and worships Mother Lucy at Our Lady Of Chemistry on a daily basis.

Scott_S said...

Well thats the last WWP shirt I buy.

FFS wwp needs to have a clue handed to them. This is one of those times when saying nothing is better than saying something.

Scott_S said...

http://www.taskforcedagger.org/sponsors.html

Larue Para Ord. and MANY other gun or gun related companies are listed as sponsors.

I think I've found a new group to donate to.

LL said...

Soldiers Angels also blogs huge thanks to companies that help and donate to them.

http://soldiersangels.org/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=896&cntnt01returnid=15

This year, a customized Ruger 10/22 was auctioned off for them. SA appreciates EVERY penny donated.

http://mygunculture.com/tag/soldiers-angels/

Old NFO said...

Concur with Soldier's Angels.

Anonymous said...

Lawdog:

The have posted on their web-site (quoted in the post above, by the way) that they will NOT -- and I quote again: "receive a percentage or a portion of proceeds from ... firearms companies."

That is their right, as a private corporation to do so.

It is also my right to decide that my firearms-related money is better donated somewhere else.


You are clear that "receive a percentage or a portion of proceeds from ... firearms companies." does NOT mean that they won't accept donations from firearms companies, right?

It means that they won't accept donations that are tied to the purchase of a weapon, e.g. '10% percent of our profits from this sale go to the WWP' or 'we will donate $10 to the WWP for every purchase'.

Anonymous said...

Right. 'Cause it's hunky dory to attack the manufacture of guns, while still cashing checks from them.

That way they're double hypocrites: first about claiming guns are controversial, then by claiming to be untainted by those who engage in their trade.

Wombat said...

I had been considering donating to WWP. Thanks for the info, Lawdog. Now I will certainly not donate to such an organization and will look for other ways of giving what support I can to wounded vets.
I used to work with a vet who was nearly blown up in Iraq. He valued his firearms (probably still does) and I shudder to think what he would have to say about that policy (sergeants have such a turn of phrase).

Anonymous said...

Normally I consider a reasonable fellow. However I think you are jumping the gun on this one quite a bit. They were trying to say that they would not be on Gun Talk radio program for Veterans Day. The website response is broad however Gun Talk Radio blew the decline way out of proportion. I appreciate what WWP does, know many people who have been helped by them, and I will continue to support them. I don't need to buy another gun or listen to a radio show to my support. I just need to write that check.

Jen said...

I'm disappointed you didn't dig further. You just took one person's WWP didn't go onto Gun Talk Radio due to it's association with firearms and the hosts gets butt hurt over. To quote WWP, “Our position regarding firearms and alcohol is in response to the struggles that many injured service members face with substance abuse and suicide and the roles those items often play in those issues.”

Not that they won't accept money from the gun manufacturers, they just don't want to go on a national radio show about guns.

Suisan said...

Dawg - it's lawyerese-double-speak. Read it again, think like a Court-Critter (sideways and HUA) and you'll get another meaning from it.

Ol' Willie was right...

armedandsafe said...

http://www.examiner.com/node/55389381?CID=examiner_alerts_article

An article about WWP deciding to go on the program, after all. Just FYI

Anonymous said...

Where I come from, if you take money from said entity, and then speak out openly against said entity, you are, as they say, "lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut." In an effort to appease those who's little hearts get all atwitter at the mention of a gun, they have alienated a majority of their contributions I would bet. Too bad for the soldiers who ultimately suffer. Good thing there are other good, respectable charities out there.

Patrick said...

LD - I stand corrected, and it's absolutely your right to do anything legal you can possibly imagine with your money. I'd argue that it's also your right to do some not-currently-legal things with your money, but that conversation gets sticky fast. Regardless, the question I still haven't seen answered is how a charity not wanting to affiliate themselves with ANY corporate sponsor could evoke a personal insult to anyone other than perhaps that corporation's employees. I have a Verizon phone, but if someone were to curse their inept service or publicly declare a boycott you wouldn't find me stepping up to defend their honor. What happened to "A gun is just a tool"? I do thank you for your time - I'm not trying to troll, just surprised by the outburst. Please feel free to drop me an email if you'd rather I not continue posting...

Tango - they're not politicizing their charity, they're trying to keep from politicizing it. Corporate sponsorship is never, ever "no strings attached". WWP hasn't said a word against gun owners and I think what I don't understand is how "we don't want corporate sponsorship from this list of corporations" has provoked such rabid rage from people who patronize some of those corporations. Please help me understand - I presume some of you guys also drink alcohol. What's got you so betrayed about gun manufacturers, and where are all the people boycotting on behalf of Jim Beam?

Aesop - For starters, any gun manufacturer in the world would fall on their knees and weep for the chance to sell products to "2/3rds of Americans", and any post that manages to combine the KKK, Al Queda, Wonderland and Stockholm Syndrome is staring Godwin's law squarely in the face. No-one's head is being urinated on, and any cause that openly stated "we have no principles at all, just give us money to accomplish our ONE TRUE GOAL" would arise from a Fleming novel not reality. Even the Westboro Baptists and the Earth First folks have some standards. It seems pretty obvious from their list that WWP included the categories of companies that have offered them sponsorship in the past - not a whole lot of marijuana cartels looking to shell out for prosthetic limbs or PTSD therapy (and no wonder, their product sells itself!), where Jack Daniels has been a master of nontraditional marketing since before the term existed.

Anonymous said...

Patrick, even a dog knows the difference between being accidentally stepped on, and being kicked.

WWP made the decision that publicly associating with gun companies would be disreputable. That's entirely their decision. It's reprehensible douchebaggery, but it's certainly legal for them to kick that dog.

It also lets everyone know where their deepest sympathies lie, and that helping wounded vets comes in a distant second to those sympathies, none of which have anything to do with avoiding controversy, but rather with very publicly taking a side in one. That fact is inarguable, and indefensible. Spin is what you do when your tires are going nowhere.

At this point, if Chuck Schumer started a veteran's charity, its policies would be indistinguishable from WWP's.

To me, and a not inconsiderable number of gun owners - let alone vets, any number of whom were wounded - supporting those who group up with Chuck Schumer et al on almost anything is indefensible, and more so given a growing list of similar charities without any such reprehensible proclivities.

Despite that, and knowing how WWP thinks, if one still wants to send WWP money, either they too think that guns companies are disreputable, or else I can see where any mention of Stockholm Syndrome might have shaved a little too close to someone's roots.

It's a free country (so far), so please, do as you like. But don't be so surprised or dismayed when people or charities are known for the company they keep. And whose dog they kick.

-Aesop

Delayed Discrepancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Delayed Discrepancy said...

I guess they aren't as picky when it comes to alcohol company prohibition...

https://www.racesonline.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=public.race_detail&race_id=13831

DesertRat said...

Hey Spear! I'm a WWP Alumni, and here's what I think.

First, I've worked with the WWP and found them to be seriously concerned and dedicated to wounded and injured vets. Period. They have better outreach, and genuinely work to get wounded warriors help that they need to return, recover and adjust. That has required significant expansion over a short period of time.

I heard their rep on the radio yesterday, and I think the problem here comes from ham-handed PR and poorly phrased corporate polices about legitimately reasonable fundraising and branding issues.

The key seems to be the whole "co-branding" thing, in which manufacturers put the WWP logo on their products in return for either a licensing fee or a slice of the profits going back to WWP. The whole process is intended to raise funds for WWP, using their logo and "brand". We've all seen lots of products like this in the stores and gun shops, not all of them guns or knives.

According to the WWP statement, they have determined that the financial returns from co-branding with firearms and weapons manufacturers has been less than desired, the WWP has decided to focus their efforts elsewhere.

Now we return to the problems of a rapidly expanding organization, and having new people who really haven't grown into the organization yet. A business-oriented marketing exec says "we're not going to do that anymore". This is repeated and communicated to the new PR guy who then puts out a press release that "we're not going to do that anymore", phrasing it inartfully and just the facts.

Arises the hue and cry from the largely gun-owning veterans community, and the largely conservative community that funds the WWP. All because no one along the line took two minutes to consider how that new policy will be understood and interpreted by the folks who PAY THEIR BILLS.

For the record, I think such a policy and it's accompanying announcement is un-needed. Why announce it? Just change your focus and leave the possibility of co-branding under certain circumstances. But I don't think that WWP hates guns or gun owners, I just think that there are some folks in the WWP organization that need to apologize and possibly clean out their desks. However, I'm happy to walk away from WWP if they give even another slight hint that they are not staunchly pro-2nd Amendment.

Chuck

Anonymous said...

Interesting...
I was just looking into WWP the other day using charitynavigator.org to get an outside opinion of them and had pause.

While they have received a decent 3 out of 4 star eval, what raised a red flag to me was the amount listed for "compensation of leaders:"
~$320 for the exec director.

Additionally, peoples' submitted Reviews on another tab given them 1.7/5 (take with a large grain of salt as with most online reviews...)

See: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=12842



As for Soldiers' Angels, the eval isn't quite as good (2/4), but the submitted reviews rock at 4.8/5 and their leader compensation appears more favorable.
I haven't really dug in to see what in the financials caused their lower than expected rating, but their Accountability and Transparency score were the highest available.

Some other similar ones with good inital scores, but I have not dug into yet:
- Operation Homefront
- Special Operations Warrior Foundation
- Hope For The Warriors
- Fisher House Foundation
- The Navy SEAL Foundation


Now granted, I'm not sure how accurate that eval site is overall, but from what I've seen and heard they seem to make an honest effort.

Of course, YMMV...
Happy Donating!

LL said...

WWP is backing the truck up.

http://professionaloutdoormedia.org/node/7384

And anonymous who checked Charity Navigator, I would urge you to look over WWP's 990s. For 2010-2011, their overall compensation and benefits for upper management totaled close to $2mil.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, LL.

Here's the money quote, best as I recollect:
"Likewise, we gratefully accept donations from companies and individuals connected with the gun industry."

Well, yeah. Except for their webpage which says they don't. So were they lying then, or now, or are they just habitual liars?

I don't think they're backing the truck up so much as taking shellfire below the waterline, and shipping water over the bow.

Honesty would be owning up to what their policy really was, firing whoever dreamt it up, apologizing, and then trying v2.0.

Trying to claim everyone misunderstood that they meant exactly what their website said, and when caught at it, things didn't work out well for them from there is damage control, not an acceptance of fault.

The cover-up is always worse than the crime.
The latter says "I'm bad." The former says "And you're stupid enough to believe I'm not."

armedandsafe said...

Here's a link concerning SA:

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/soldiers-ducks.htm

LawDog said...

Armedandsafe:

And the counter-argument:
http://www.blackfive.net/main/2012/07/soldierss-angels-responds-to-mike-surplus-yon.html

From a different perspective:
http://thelibertyzone.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/soldiers-angels-vs-michael-yon/

And:
http://www.mudvillegazette.com/033746.html

Huh.

LawDog

robert martin said...

in other news you have some spilled spam on your SOPA posting back in january

Anonymous said...

I hear Fisher House does great things for wounded vets and families...

Anonymous said...

Wounded Warrior issues a statement:

http://gunnuts.net/2012/11/16/wounded-warrior-project-clarifies-their-position-on-the-2nd-amendment/

Scott_S said...

Dear Scott,

We appreciate your concern regarding this matter. First, these questions arose as a result of a miscommunicated message when declining an opportunity for WWP to appear on Gun Talk Radio. This mistake has unfortunately led some people to question our support of the 2nd Amendment.

Please know WWP wholeheartedly supports the Constitution of the United States of America, which includes the Second Amendment. We recognize these are the freedoms our Alumni fought and sacrificed to protect!

WWP has a long history of facilitating therapeutic hunting and outdoor opportunities for Wounded Warriors as well as fundraising activities that involve firearms.

Thank you for your support of Wounded Warrior Project as we continue to honor and empower wounded warriors.

Thank you,
MELISSA MCARTHUR

O: 904.405.1350
M: 904.625.6491
F: 904.296.7347

Wounded Warrior Project
4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300
Jacksonville, Florida 32256

Anonymous said...

"WWP has a long history of...fundraising activities that involve firearms."

Yeah, we knew that. It's the online published policy to eliminate any FUTURE such activities that are the point at issue. That wasn't a "misunderstood communication", but rather an exact understanding of the depth of their support for the Second Amendment (lip service at this point) that was made with laser-like precision.

They still aren't walking this back, they're just noticing the pressure of a bear trap on their tender bits. When they chew, swallow, and entirely consume this turd sandwich of a policy it will be the first sign they are truly appreciative of what they did wrong, and only afterwards can they begin to make amends.

And Gresham's reply to this blustery dissembling is that he ain't buying it either. He's offered them carte blanche to "clarify" their policy on his program ("Come to Jesus!"), which they've cleverly not made any move to do, at last look.

They're still in denial on this intervention, leaving on "Make counter-accusations" as the only remaining option on the G. Gordon Liddy Manual Of Watergate Strategy When Caught In A Wringer.

It would be *so* much simpler to say
"We Were Monumental Idiots.
We Didn't Think This Through.
We Fired The Head Idiots, And Put The Rest On Half Rations.
We're Very Sorry For What We Did.
Please Forgive Us."

They could've ended this in 4 seconds with that. Instead it'll linger and cost them million$, because the 2x4 still hasn't gained the mule's attention.

-Aesop

John the Texaner said...

When lawyers infiltrate organizations to the extent that this kind of legalese hedging happens, they tend to have outlived their useful purpose.

I'll add my support for Soldiers' Angels. They seem to be a good outfit that hasn't gotten too big for its britches.

There are plenty of other small organizations doing great work in this area. There's a group out of Paducah (Texas) called Hunting With Soldiers. They exist to secure donated hunting lease time and resources (lodging, feeders, stands/blinds, corn, ammo, rifles, etc) to provide vets (especially wounded vets) with a free-of-charge hunt. That's a cause I can believe in.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/huntingwithsoldiers/

Ms. said...

(The name is supposed to be Ms. Red.)
Another charity group, though more personal than simply giving money, is Operation Gratitude.
Mostly, soldiers act as liasons for their units, posting wishes & receiving packages.
Citizens who wish to donate 'pick up' someone's list & send the things.
http://www.operationgratitude.com/