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'Tis the season to picket the Blockheads

From the Boycott Block Committee

January 23, 2002

I just saw my first TV ads for H&R Block this weekend. It's their ramp-up season. And now the time is ripe for a little delayed justice. 

You may recall last year when H&R Block initiated an "affiliate program" offering to make a donation to the NRA for every NRA member who came in to have his taxes prepared. It's a standard arrangement they offer to any interested membership association. 

H&R Block was immediately attacked and threatened by the gun-ban lobby with a March 16th picket. In a craven surrender, Block reneged on their program (and promptly ended up in the middle of a lawsuit from the program organizer). 

The banners hailed H&R's cowardice as a "victory," a "stand against gun violence," "a stunning defeat for the gun lobby," and "evidence of the growing power of our movement." The Brady Bunch went to far as to claim that "H&R Block now understands that, by agreeing to this royalty scheme, it was furthering the reckless political agenda of the NRA's leadership." 

This is just one of the many messages that H&R Block received last year as a result: 

> Now, here's the other shoe. If you think you've avoided pain by caving
> in to a couple hundred loudmouth political bullies with no depth in
> actual public support -- well then, you're about to learn what pain
> can really be. 
> The National Rifle Association currently has over four million members.
> Does this sound like a lot to you? ... 
> You just made the mistake of insulting a very large and very
> politically active group of Americans. When gun owners get upset at
> you, they stay upset. When gun owners stage a boycott, you stay
> boycotted. 
> Think it's an empty threat? Ask Citibank or Dell Computer -- companies
> that acknowledged that lesson and corrected their offenses. Ask
> Smith & Wesson or K-Mart -- companies that never did, and paid the
> price. 
> I ask you to understand that none of those boycotts were called by the
> NRA, either officially or unofficially. They were the product of
> grass-roots gun-owner cooperation, organized via the Internet --
> through the very same newsgroups and mailing lists being copied on
> this message. 
> Ms. McDougall, as of this week, H&R Block has just joined that select
> group of corporate offenders. Don't expect to see many gun owners
> inside your offices from now on. 
> Now, outside is another story entirely. We won't be there on March
> 16th. But we WILL be there. And not at just 50 offices, either. 

For American gun owners to make our point with H&R Block and similar appeasers, we need to put together enough support from the national internet gun community to show these corporate jellyfish that the promise in that message wasn't a bluff. 

We want to arrange for pickets to be placed outside AT LEAST 200 H&R Block offices nationwide on selected dates. We don't need multiple people at each office -- all we need is ONE person at each entrance holding ONE big sign ("H&R BLOCK BREAKS ITS PROMISES") and handing out leaflets to incoming customers explaining the situation ("Here's what H&R Block promised us, and here's how quickly they broke that promise. Now H&R Block promises that if the government questions your tax return, they will come with you to your audit to defend their work. What makes you think they will keep THAT promise either, when the real pressure hits?" 

The real power of the picket line is that the target never knows how long you are prepared to be there to ruin his business (a little tip I picked up from "Send This Jerk The Bedbug Letter," a book by an expert in how to complain or protest effectively). By the second day we have people outside Block offices, we'd make the national news, and we'd be making their corporate weasels sweat buckets. 

We need to be effectively in their faces during the first three weeks of February. That's the peak season for their walk-in business, so our pickets can interact with as many potential customers as possible. 

Yes, that's a short deadline. But this is the sort of effective action that we on the internet have proven we can pull off while the corporate NRA sits back on its ass and does nothing. 

So how about it? Is there enough interest in this project to make it a credible, coordinated nationwide protest? 

I'm asking for one volunteer coordinator to step up per state. The coordinator's job will be to select at least four popular H&R Block outlets in his state and make sure he has volunteers to picket them during that time period. (We also are willing to hear from individuals who may not want to organize, but are willing to volunteer to picket.) 

Don't worry about signs and handouts -- masters for those items will be provided for you and your volunteers. 

If you're interested in taking on responsibility for a little non-armchair activism in your state next month -- whether as a coordinator or as an individual picket volunteer -- visit  RIGHT NOW. 

Freedom is not free, and the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. 

Help us show the spineless appeasers that GUN OWNERS DON'T BLUFF!


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The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. JUSTICE LOUIS BRANDEIS (1928)

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