By Dina Honour
From Business Day:
A big name greeting card company today announced a launch date for its highly anticipated new range of greeting cards. The Second to None cards were designed in response to the increase of gun-related casualties, and specifically targets consumers looking for a way to reach out to friends or relatives affected by gun-violence.
The range differentiates itself from normal sympathy cards, the company said, by addressing the tragic unavoidability of gun-violence rather than focusing on grief or loss.
“We noticed the words ‘tragic’ and ‘unavoidable’ had reached a saturation point in the media, particularly among politicians and media outlets,” said the company’s spokesperson S. Wesson. “Our thinking was there was enough of a gap in the market to warrant some research into how such a range would go over.”
“Our research showed that a large percentage of Americans view gun violence as an unavoidable fact of life in the United States. We wanted to give the public a way to express their feelings about gun-violence in a non-confrontational, non-denominational, non-threatening way,” Wesson continued.
A limited test run of a card featuring a tasteful black and white copy of Second Amendment text, with the message “Our thoughts and prayers go out to you,” proved to be successful enough that the company expanded the concept into a full-blown collection, including a number of original designs.
“It’s a uniquely American problem which deserves a uniquely American solution,” Wesson said.
The company is quick to point out its goal was not to make a statement about gun-violence, but merely to offer an alternative.
“We don’t hesitate to send a birthday card as a way to acknowledge an important day. This is no different really. With victims of gun violence on the rise,” Wesson added, “it’s important for our customers to feel like they have a way of reaching out.”
Wesson is most proud of the company’s More Guns is the Answer line. The creators worked closely with designers to develop a collection of high quality cards, each featuring red, white and blue drawings of eagles and American flags. The cards open to reveal messages such as “May you find peace in knowing that, had your loved one been armed, he would surely have saved lives.”
Other sentiments, rendered in Comic Sans font, include “Guns don’t kill people, Planned Parenthood does” and “This wouldn’t have happened in a concealed carry zone” and “I hope your loved one’s death isn’t politicized. It’s too soon,” a personal favorite of Wesson’s.
The company is exploring plans for a lighter assortment of cards with such lines as the Right To Bear Arms, which features a heavily armed grizzly defending his front porch against a government militia and Stuff Happens, featuring cartoon drawings.
“Those cards,” Wesson said, “are obviously aimed at consumers who have had a more light-hearted experience or accident with guns. Think destruction of property rather than death or disfigurement.”
The most controversial of the company’s planned range includes what Wesson refers to as Victim Blaming cards. “The market research we’ve done has shown us there is a significant portion of our customer base who find it difficult to blame guns under any circumstance. For many, death by shooting has become an acceptable consequence for actions we used to take for granted. Talking or texting too loudly. Driving. Going to the movies. We’re simply giving our customers a way to express those feelings.”
The company has critics who have raised concerns that the card collection is capitalizing on the misfortune of others.
“America is a capitalist country,” Wesson responded. “For over 200 years we have rewarded those who have profited on the backs of others. This is no different. We are proud to be an American owned corporation.”
Wesson added, “A greeting card has always been a safe and acceptable way to express your feelings to another human being. Right now posting or delivering a greeting card doesn’t often result in getting shot. Though as recent events show, we can’t rule that eventuality out. If and when that time comes, we’ll revisit the products.”
The company is partnering with big-box retailers who have open carry policies in place. Cards will cost from .99 to 3.95 and will be available as of October 1 in time for the holidays.
Dina Honour is an American writer living in Copenhagen, Denmark. She writes about feminism, politics, relationships, and life abroad. Her work has appeared in Bust, Paste, Hippocampus, among others, and on popular parenting and expat sites. You can find her serious author persona at DinaHonour.com and her more profane blogger persona at Wine and Cheese (Doodles). Or if you prefer morsels, follow along in statuses and characters on Facebook or Twitter.
Image credit: Donkey Hotey via a Creative Commons license.