Dana Loesch, a controversial spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, has ruffled feathers yet again.

Loesch was panned at a Feb. 21 CNN Town Hall for misleading the public on where the NRA — one of America's most powerful gun lobbying groups — stands on gun control measures while going head-to-head with student survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after they were gunned down on Valentine's Day. The tragedy left 17 people dead.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.


The NRA, of course, was quite happy with how Loesch represented its organization on the national stage.

After CNN's Town Hall, the group tweeted a GIF of Leslie Knope — a character played by Amy Poehler on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" — telling Loesch "thank you for being the voice of over 5 million NRA members."

Poehler was not happy about it.

About two hours after the NRA shared the GIF of Knope, "Parks and Recreation" creator Michael Schur asked the organization to "please take this down." 

"I would prefer you not use a GIF from a show I worked on to promote your pro-slaughter agenda," he wrote. He also shared a message from Poehler.

"Also, Amy [Poehler] isn't on twitter," he continued. "But she texted me a message: 'Can you tweet the NRA for me and tell them I said fuck off?'"

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for CDG.

Those two weren't the only ones upset that the NRA was capitalizing on the popular TV series to promote their cause.

Actor Adam Scott, who played Ben Wyatt on the show, asked the NRA to "please stay the fuck away from Leslie Knope."

Actor Nick Offerman, who played Ron Swanson, chimed in too: "Our good-hearted show and especially our Leslie Knope represent the opposite of your pro-slaughter agenda."

Twitter beefs aside, it's worth pointing out the content of the NRA's tweet — and who the group is and isn't speaking for.

Loesch may represent the organization's members, but she doesn't speak for all gun owners; only a fraction of of them belong to the NRA. Pew Research from 2017 shows a polled figure of 20% of gun owners who also said they were NRA members while a Washington Post article in 2015 calculates the percent of gun owners who are part of the NRA at 6-7%.

The group's top priorities largely fall in line with gun sellers' bottom lines — not gun owners' views on public policy. And it shows.

Through its immense lobbying power in Washington, almost exclusively among Republicans, the NRA has fended off commonsense and widely popular gun control legislation for decades.

According to a Quinnipiac poll released in February 2018, for example, a whopping 97% of Americans want universal background checks on gun purchases — a provision the NRA has fought for years (although it would want you to believe otherwise). An overwhelming majority of Americans also want assault weapons off our streets. The NRA does not.

"Parks and Recreation" may be a work of fiction, but the stars who brought it to life have a firmer grasp on reality than the NRA when it comes to guns.

Update 2/26/2017: Information has been added about the calculated number of gun owners who are also NRA members.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash (left), Kimberly Zapata (right)

Picking a psychiatrist is a precarious situation, one I know all too well. I have bipolar disorder, depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. I have been in and out of therapy for nearly 20 years. And while I have left doctors for a wide variety of reasons—I've moved, I felt better and "been better," I've given up on pharmacology and stopped taking meds—I've only had to fire one.

The reason? She was judgemental and disrespectful. In her office, I wasn't seen, heard or understood.

To help you understand the gravity of the situation, I should give you some context. In the spring of 2017, I was doing well and feeling good, at least for the most part. My family was healthy. I was happy, and life was more or less normal, so I stopped seeing my psychiatrist. I decided I didn't need my meds.

But by the summer, my mood was shifting. I was cycling (which occurs when bipolar patients vacillate between periods of mania and depression) and when I suffered a miscarriage that fall, I plunged into a deep depressive episode—one I knew I couldn't pull myself out of.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tania / Twitter

Therapy animals have become a controversial issue of recent, even though they've helped over 500,000 people overcome psychological and physical issues that have made it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

It's because countless people have tried to pass off their pets as service animals, making it hard for legitimate, trained animals to gain acceptance in public.

So when people hear about emotional support llamas, they're met with understandable cynicism. However, studies show they are great at helping children with autism spectrum disorder, and they are routinely used to cheer up people residents in retirement homes.

Keep Reading Show less