Over at The Zelman Partisans Nicki Kenyon describes, far better than I ever could, the contrast between the “new” JPFO and the genuinely new spirit and reality of TZP.
Some very cool things are being worked on behind the TZP scenes and Nicki gives a glimpse of them.
I was going to just write a line or two here about the “new” JPFO here while linking to Nicki. Because Nicki really says all that needs saying. But [roll eyes] my line or two turned into a rant or two. If you want to hear what I have to say, click the “more” link. But above all, see what Nicki has to say.
Now on to my rant about the sadly premature decline of JPFO
A few days ago I wrote about everybody being wrong when they predict the future. Count me among the everybody.
When JPFO’s board sold out to Alan Gottlieb’s Second Amendment Foundation last year, it was a foregone conclusion that Aaron Zelman’s great Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership would be nerfed beyond all recognition.
That required no psychic abilities. But I also predicted that SAF would come right out and make some gestures toward keeping and building a lively, hard-hitting JPFO. They’d fix up the ghastly website, I said. Maybe they’d announce some new project. Create a new look. Something to say, “See, we’re serious about continuing what Aaron built.” In other words, they’d make JPFO at least look attractive for a while before letting it slide into irrelevance.
I was wrong. It’s been six months now and there has been nothing but deterioration and neglect.
Prior to this month, the only thing the new JPFO managed to “accomplish” was to alienate David Codrea, one of the only two real, hardcore gun-rights writers who remained when the rest of us left.
But March has been a time of even more such “triumphs” of nerf management. Friday a week ago, JPFO presented us with a three-year-old Bloomberg anti-gun op-ed masquerading as an “alert.”
Last Wednesday, when Kurt Hofmann (the only remaining hardcore guy) would normally have an article, JPFO management bumped him for something they judged more urgent: a bland piece answering a two-month-old statement by a European rabbi. (Y.B. ben Avraham had covered that topic as far back as January, in multiple posts on TZP here, here, and here). Why two-month old “news” was suddenly so urgent it required bumping the one JPFO writer people actually look forward to reading was not explained.
Fortunately, Kurt was merely pushed back by one day. But then we were treated to one of the most poorly written fundraising letters in the history of fundraising letters. It was written by someone who obviously knows very little about gun rights, who imagines that JPFO (a 501(c)(3) educational organization) is a lobbying group, and who made elementary grammar errors that no one else bothered to catch. And look at those qualifications for being the “senior operations manager” and spokesperson for one of the (formerly) most important pro-gun groups in the land! (I mean, seriously, she may be a nice person and a good dress saleslady, but she knows nothing — and her bosses at SAF don’t appear to care that she knows nothing. This disaster of a letter is less her fault than the fault of those who put her in the position to write it.)
In any case, this chirpy person asking for your money went on about how JPFO had just buckets of attitude — which, of course, under Aaron it did, and which it was rebuilding under Doug Schuett’s management. But I wanted to ask Ms chirpy fundraising writer (who was obviously just parroting old JPFO promos), “Oh yeah? Where’s the famous ‘attitude’ been in the six months that SAF has owned the group?”
That question was answered this weekend when SAF finally managed to produce a Bill of Rights Sentinel. Now, I grant you that after Aaron died, JPFO had excruciating trouble producing BoR Sentinals, and that was sad. But SAF has funding and staff up the whazoo. Okay, not a big deal that it took them six months to finally put together a .pdf. But the best term to describe what they came up with is “harmless.”
Of all these SAF “triumphs,” the one that (oddly) bothered me the most was the inept fundraiser. Because after all, fundraising is what Gottlieb does. It’s his specialty. That he would turn a JPFO fundraising letter over to some third-stringer who can’t write and knows nothing, then not even bother to have her work proofread, is appalling. It says that he gives far less of a damn than I ever credited him for. And since I never credited him with giving more than $.02 worth of a damn about JPFO in the first place … well, it would be hard to imagine him caring less
I shouldn’t be upset. Because the quicker JPFO slides into obscurity, the greater the mercy. It would be hell watching it hang on for years, constructing the illusion of being the entity Aaron created while in reality becoming a big squishy nerfball.
But I am upset. Because discarding JPFO so quickly and casually feels dishonorable. It feels like a deliberate slap in Aaron’s face. Its a way of saying, “We care so little about you that we won’t even pretend to imitate you. We care so little about your life’s work that we’re not even going to put on a cheap, thin pretense of giving a damn about it.”
An entity called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership still exists and may exist — just exist — for years to come. But the real Jews (and friends) for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is now passionately alive and is called The Zelman Partisans.
As Nicki wrote in the post linked at the top, the Partisans have been doing a lot behind the scenes and soon TZP will be much more than a mere blog. It’ll be a “real” organization you can join, support, and get some cool gear from. But above all, TZP will be the continuation of Aaron’s legacy into the future. That legacy is about no compromise, no minced words, no BS. Just all-out support for gun rights as lifesaving civil rights.
Stay with us over there. Good things will keep coming.
UPDATE: I’ve unsubscribed from JPFO alerts to avoid seeing any more of this daily degradation. JPFO is dead. There’s no point chronicling the decay of its corpse. If something newsworthy occurs, I’m sure some helpful person will let me know. Until then, I won’t write about JPFO again.