I bought it because it looked cool,” explains Amanda Gailey, a professor at the University of Nebraska, about the Magpul Industries iPhone case she purchased from Amazon in June. “It looked pleasantly utilitarian. It never occurred to me that a company that makes a phone case could be involved in the gun industry.”
Gailey is a vocal advocate for tougher gun laws. She avoids shopping at some local retailers that allow customers to openly carry weapons in their stores. So she was mortified when her husband pointed out that her new iPhone case was manufactured by a company that also makes components for high-capacity semiautomatic rifles.
Gailey didn’t want to support the weapons industry, even accidentally. So she packed up the iPhone case and mailed it back to Amazon. She left a strongly worded review, advising potential buyers to be aware that this product is made by the same company that produced some of the ammunition magazines used in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, and that, when Colorado legislators were considering magazine capacity restrictions in the wake of the Aurora theater massacre, Magpul threatened to close its Colorado factory and move production (and jobs) elsewhere. Gailey titled her review “Magpul feeds on death.”
Gailey knew that she was weighing in on a controversial issue. “I anticipated some negative comments and down votes,” she says. But she never expected her brief product review to trigger the massive online harassment campaign that followed. “I got concerned when I saw comments about beating my head in with a sledgehammer.”