How Not To Gain Friends and Influence People (MSI Edition)

Writing for Red Maryland for going on 10 years, I thought I had seen it all.  I have written posts about inside Republican politics that got people riled up, took on cyclists, GMO opponents, potheads and others who took great umbrage with me and what I have written.  I was accused of being in the pocket of the feds, big Pharma and once was told that “Big Ag” was “funding my campaign” even though I wasn’t running for anything.

So, needless to say, you get used to criticism, attacks and even bizarre accusations.

But this week was a new one. A routine, and frankly throw away, story in a local newspaper that we shared brought out an organized push back that I have never seen before. Strangely, it was by people with whom we at Red Maryland have always agreed and whose ultimate goals we support.

Here we go.  Last week, I did a segment on Conservative Refuge Radio in which I related this story from the Hagerstown Herald-Mail titled “More Marylanders Can Get Wear-And-Carry Gun Permits.” I read the story and mentioned the Governor’s effort to appoint Richard Jurgena to the Handgun Permit Review Board as well as the pending Kolbe gun case and said this was some good news for Maryland gun owners.

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A good news segment for supporters of Second Amendment rights.

The podcast posted on Wednesday and there was no negative reaction to it. On Sunday, as I often try to do, I wrote a blog post on a couple of the topics of the week’s podcast.  I try to do this routinely because I know that there are folks who read the blog who may not listen to the show. They should listen but they don’t.

The piece block quoted the Hagerstown Herald Mail piece and mentioned the Jurgena and Kolbe items.  Each, as is usually the case in my posts, were hyperlinked to the source material or to cites supporting the facts being stated.

Post went up at about 11:39 am on Sunday. No immediate response.

Later that day (about 5:39 pm), Red Maryland shared the story on our Facebook page.

Pretty routine. Then something interesting happened. At 7:13 pm, the FB group “2A in MD” shared Red Maryland’s FB link to the article.

That post might as well have been marching orders to the Concealed Carry Cult. Here was a blog piece quoting a newspaper article giving Governor Hogan some small credit for improving gun rights and it was met with what amounted to a declaration of war.

Now, the CCW cult insisted that no actual regulations had been changed. Instead, as you will see, only that an internal memo from the MSOP may have changed the interpretations of some regulations.  But their issue isn’t that the facts were incorrect, as you can see clearly, the real issue was that Governor Hogan might get credit.

And why would this piece put anyone in a position to “defend the status quo”?

Immediately after the “2A in MD” FB post the comments on Red Maryland’s FB page began.

At 7:19 pm:

At 8:23 pm a second share and a frontal attack on Red Maryland

Actually, we did pass along the information on the Sunday event to our news director. A fact Mr. Montoya knew when he made that comment. Of course, the post he complains of was written before the event even took place.

Behind the scenes, Red Maryland was messaged by multiple leaders of the CCW cult who alternatively demanded that we retract the story or change it. Now we won’t reproduce private messages here because we respect their privacy but we have them. The editors listened to the concerns raised and responded to each in lengthy colloquies with multiple individuals.  The editors changed the story and noted the changes were to clarify the facts presented.  We also published every comment from CCW cult.

But it wasn’t enough.  I stand by the statements in the piece namely that,

The bottom line is this.  The Hogan administration, despite a hostile legislature and confining gun control laws still on the books in this state, is taking actions to expand access to concealed carry permits to gun owners.  While many in the 2A community want more and, in some cases, have unreasonable expectations of what Hogan can or should do, the facts are that the Hogan administration is moving the ball forward on expanding gun rights and needs the help of more pro-second amendment legislators in the General Assembly.

The appointment of Richard Jurgena alone proves that point.

But see, that is the rub. The CCW cult isn’t angry at Red Maryland because we shared facts reported in a newspaper piece they dispute. Don’t believe me? Look at the original piece on the Herald-Mail’s website. Two comments as of this posting.


And only one from Tim Montoya disputing the facts in the Herald Mail article.

Now compare that to the comments on Red Maryland’s FB page including these gems:

Note Mr. Blasberg never shared a similar comment with the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

You get the idea.  None of these folks got worked up enough to comment on the Hagerstown Herald Mail piece itself but unloaded on Red Maryland because they are angry that Larry Hogan has not done what they wanted and resent anyone giving him even the slightest credit for supporting gun rights. That is why the need to circle the wagons and assail Red Maryland for its post.

Now, look, we welcome the criticism. Readers can look at what we cited and wrote as well as the comments and make up their own minds.

We would hasten to point out, though, that all of us here at Red Maryland support second amendment rights and “shall issue” concealed carry laws.  In fact, when I ran for the House of Delegates ten years ago, MSI endorsed me.

So “Why the anger?” we asked ourselves.

It is the blind rage at Larry Hogan that comes through in these comments that is startling. It is illuminating just how much the CCW cult is myopically focused on what the Governor hasn’t done for them that they can’t let anyone even say something nice about him on the gun issue without a challenge.

This bridge burning approach by MSI and the CCW cult seems endemic.  We have heard reports that some of these same folks have barged into administration offices and demanded to be heard.  In our conversations, it became clear to me that these folks are angry because Hogan won’t meet with them.  This aggressiveness and bitterness, we are told, has alienated them from other pro-gun groups and folks in the administration who should be their friends.

The cause of the second amendment isn’t served by this kind of conduct. Being angry at Larry Hogan or withholding support from him will not advance the cause it will only undermine it.

I doubt it is a lesson the CCW cult will want to learn or take to heart.




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