A Letter to LifeLock Over its Bias Against the NRA

This is a letter that I wrote to LifeLock after they cancelled their affiliate program with the NRA:

To Whom it May Concern:

I have been a LifeLock member for many years. It is a great service that I have recommended to countless people. However, I find your politically biased discontinuation of the discount I receive as an NRA member unconscionable. As a member of the NRA and an NRA certified instructor, I help hundreds of law-abiding citizens each year to safely and legally keep and bear firearms. The vast majority of my students are people that wish to feel secure in their own homes. In Baltimore, MD, where I live, that is a big deal because it is one of the most dangerous cities in the nation. Many of my students are single moms that simply want to protect their children. One of the classes that I teach for the NRA is Refuse To Be A Victim (see https://rtbav.nra.org). That class has nothing to do with firearms. It is about personal security and it includes a section on cyber-security. I used to recommend your service when teaching that section. I will do so no longer.

Your organization exists to safeguard people and so does mine. We find the actions of all violators of the law, especially those who use firearms in those violations of the law, to be reprehensible. We do not now, nor have we ever, promoted or encouraged any sort of law breaking. The NRA was founded in 1871 and is the nation’s longest standing civil rights organization (yes, the Second Amendment is a civil right). Our existence worked against white segregationists who sought impose unconstitutional gun laws to prevent newly freed African slaves from exercising their right to keep and bear arms as written in our Constitution. They needed those rights so they could protect themselves from the lynch mobs in the racist south. To this date, over a third of my firearms students are of African heritage, far more than the representation they have in the population.

Even now, many gun laws in my state of Maryland discriminate based on race, income, and sex. In the gun store I instruct for, we see a far higher number of applications to buy firearms made by African-Americans rejected than we do for Caucasians. Our city of Baltimore is predominantly African-American and suffers from diminished opportunities and lower income due to social engineering and generations of concentration and real estate redlining. Maryland’s oppressive gun laws force people to pay $200 just to exercise their right to legally keep and bear firearms, something that hits income-deprived people significantly harder. The residents of the city cannot even legally practice with firearms as the city prohibits gun ranges. In our state, women that have been temporarily hospitalized for postpartum depression are prohibited from owning handguns for life. People are stripped of their Second Amendment rights without having been indicted or found guilty of a crime. The NRA fights against such injustice, yet you fight against the NRA.

Having said this, I recognize that LifeLock is a private organization that has every right to choose how to conduct its business, including who it chooses to have as affiliates. However, your company’s actions are profoundly hypocritical in that you have affiliates that sell alcohol such as CostCo. Alcohol causes more deaths, ruins more people’s health (including children born with fetal alcohol syndrome), and destroys more families than firearms in the US ever will. Yet, you have no problem with a purveyor of alcohol being an affiliate.

What exactly has the NRA done that made a single one of these horrible crimes happen? The reality is that you are simply virtue-signaling to try and make your organization, one whose deception in the past led to a $12 million FTC settlement in 2010 and a $100 million FTC settlement in 2015, look socially acceptable. Your company should go the end of pack of virtue signalers. LifeLock is virtue-challenged.

I will find another company that provides comparable services and switch. Furthermore, I will make sure that everyone I know understands the depth of your bias.


Andrew G. Knaster, Ed.S., MIS, MABS
NRA Certified Instructor and Life Member


A Second Open Letter to Sen. Tom Harkin

On September 24, 2012, I posted the following letter to Senator Tom Harkin’s Senate Web page.


Senator Harkin:

As a veteran and taxpayer, I appreciate your desire to have the money used to educate our veterans be used effectively and efficiently. However, the presentation that you authored has issues. I’m trained in statistics and because of that, I could make a laundry list of issues. You are a very busy man so instead of going item for item, please allow me to point out one blatantly wrong slide. You have a slide entitled “For-Profit Colleges Employ Many Recruiters But Few Placement Staff.” From a subjective perspective, to have a slide with a title that indicates an issue with For-Profit Colleges as a group but then indicts a single one is disingenuous and ineffective because your case is that many schools have this problem, yet you showcase only one. It also smacks of a lack of objectivity and personal bias. Even if your chart is accurate, it does not make the point that this is a systemic problem.

Objectively, the slide in incorrect. University of Phoenix, the largest school under the Apollo Group umbrella, has an extremely robust Career Services site that covers the gamut of services from resume writing to career research to interview preparation. The site also lists major employers that Phoenix partners with to help find jobs for its graduates.

Your data was gathered from 2007 to 2010. I started at Phoenix in 2010 and I don’t know what its career placement services were like then. It could be that in 2010, your statement was accurate. However, it is nearly 2013 and it definitely is not accurate.

If I had the 20-30 hours free to write it, I would write a report that shows slide for slide, just how bad this report is. I don’t have the time to write it and anyone as busy as you doesn’t have the time to read it. Please consider making this “update” to your report as a show of good will. I’ll be the first person to thank you for that by making a post to that effect on my blog, andyknaster.com.

Since your Senate Web site has a link to that report on its home page, it appears that this is a report you are proud of and feel the people need to read. Don’t you owe it to your constituents and all of America to be accurate and up-to-date?

This is my second letter to you. I requested a response to the first one and I have not received it. I posted to your Facebook page and got no response. Please respond to this message. This is a very non-partisan issue. In this highly contentious and partisan time, taking action on a non-partisan issue is something I think would resonate well with many Americans.

Respectfully yours,
Andrew Knaster, BA, MA, MCP
University of Phoenix Master of Information Systems student, class of 2013