March 23, 2013

A former colleague who works as a lobbyist urged me to cash in and join a lobbying firm after I worked on the Philly mayoral campaign. But, as I told her at the time, no matter how much I was hurting for money, I just don't have the stomach for it. How soul-sucking would it be to work on a bottom-feeding PR campaign like this? (Also, check out the heartrending front page of the Huffington Post today.)

WASHINGTON -- The National Rifle Association came under fire late Thursday from members of a gun-control advocacy group in Newtown, Conn., after reports surfaced of Newtown residents receiving robocalls and pro-gun postcards from the NRA.

The advocacy group, the Newtown Action Alliance, posted a Facebook messageThursday about the calls, prompting responses from people who said they'd received communications from the NRA and were upset by them."I received one of these," Newtown resident Christopher Wenis wrote on Facebook Thursday afternoon. "I was insulted and offended." Wenis told The Huffington Post in an interview Friday night that in the 36 hours since he first posted his response, he received two more robocalls from the NRA, one later on Thursday night and one Friday evening.

"I've got a 5-year-old son who went to preschool on the Sandy Hook Elementary School campus," Wenis explained. "And this was a really hard week for me on a lot of levels. These calls were the very last thing I needed."

Wenis said that he called the NRA twice to request that his name be placed on a "Do Not Call List" -- first on Tuesday and again Thursday. He said an NRA phone operator assured him he would be removed from NRA call lists. But the calls kept coming. By Friday night, Wenis said, he was desperate to be left in peace.

Another woman, Lisa Abrams, wrote on Facebook that she had "received a call and a postcard asking me to call my congressmen and tell them 'NO ASSUALT WEAPONS BAN' [sic] ... I was not happy and needless to say did just the opposite!"

Tom Maurath, a 40-year resident of Newtown, said he was having dinner with his family on Tuesday when the phone rang at 6:37 p.m. "Our caller ID announces who is calling, and when I heard 'National Rifle Association,' I jumped to answer the phone so my 6-year-old son wouldn't get there first," he told The Huffington Post in an interview. "Our son loves to answer the phone because it might be Grandma."

Maurath said he listened to a prerecorded message about Connecticut state gun legislation for about 30 seconds -- a call that he was stunned to realize took no account of who might pick up the phone."The idea that this message could have been delivered to a sibling of one of the families who lost children at [Sandy Hook Elementary School] is just appalling," he said.

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