2012

26 December 2012: Time to take aim at the NRA

Time to take aim at the NRA

In August I wrote a two-piece series on the Aurora theater massacre.

On August 1 I asked, “The larger question for us as a society: Have we seen enough?  Or are we willing to continue to say, ‘Mass shootings are the price we pay for personal liberty?’”

On August 8 I wrote, “I am sensing the horror of that day two weeks ago is wearing off as we fall back into our daily routines denying the reality that already there are young men—18 to 24 years of age—plotting the next mass shootings.”

Four months later that horror has been revisited on the most innocent in the most sacred of our secular temples: an elementary school.

Due to the unspeakable horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, it looks as if concern about easily available assault weapons is beginning to strike a chord even in ardent proponents of gun ownership and usage.  The question is whether weak-kneed politicians will grow a pair of cojones and stand up to the NRA gun lobby whose goal is a heavily armed, Mad Max America.

Statistically true: Owning or possessing a gun does not make one safe.  Not only there is neither a correlation nor a cause-and-effect between guns and personal safety, the opposite is true.

Nancy Lanza, the mother of the mass killer Adam Lanza, owned the guns with which her son murdered her and later used to carry out his spree.  How safe does Nancy feel now?

An American Academy of Pediatrics report, based on two studies by the New England Journal for Medicine, holds that “a gun stored in the home is associated with a threefold increase in the risk of homicide and a fivefold increase in the risk of suicide.

“In fact, guns kept in the home are 43 times more likely to be used to kill someone known to the family than to be used to kill in self-defense.”

America is evolving into Tombstone on steroids, except that in 1881 Tombstone guns were not permitted.

Ordinance No.9, “To Provide against Carrying of Deadly Weapons,” stated, “It is hereby declared unlawful to carry in the hand or upon the person or otherwise any deadly weapon within the limits of said city of Tombstone, without first obtaining a permit in writing.”

The citizens of Tombstone were not paranoid about law enforcement being armed and they being not, nor were there Second Amendment specious arguments.

Unlike in the so-called Wild West, violence in America today is adored.  The ubiquitous plethora of easily available war weaponry gives permission to unstable men to carry out hideous acts in the name of constitutional rights.

The pro-gun lobby argues that the problem isn’t the number of guns, but poor methodology of keeping them out of the hands of individuals suffering from mental illness. Statistics show, however, the vast majority of sufferers are non-violent.  Besides, if gun ownership is a constitutional right, doesn’t the 14th Amendment demand an individual be accorded due process before being denied his right?

The problem isn’t restricted to specific sufferers, but of a paranoid culture fearful of “them”—the “guvment.”

On HuffPost, former U.S. Colorado senator Gary Hart states, “The National Rifle Association, which claims to speak for America’s gun owners, makes only one argument for assault weapons: if ‘they’ take away our assault weapons, then ‘they’ will come for our sporting guns.

“Never mind that the mysterious ‘they,’ purposely left vague to serve the needs of paranoia, is the government of the United States whose president and members of Congress are all elected by a majority of American citizens.”

Assault weapons outside an actual war setting, he argues, “serve no plausible purpose.”

“To justify private ownership of combat weapons, therefore, a military purpose must be imagined.  The needs of paranoia require fear, fear that embraces black helicopters, abdication of U.S. sovereignty, U.N. government, and assumption of power by the Trilateral Commission. Assault weapons are required to prevent this take over.”

It’s the leadership of the NRA fostering this paranoia that is out of touch with reality.

Hart declares individual sportsmen are “sane, thoughtful, [and] responsible” and “share the belief of the vast majority of Americans that assault weapons have no place in U.S. society.”  Thus, they should wonder why “their dues are being used to promote [those] fantasies.”

Accordingly, he calls for a “new, sober, serious, non-paranoid gun organization.”  The NRA needs to go the way of its once most charismatic spokesman: Charlton Heston.

Yes, we need to do all we can to prevent diagnosed, potentially violent individuals from accessing weaponry, but we also need to stand up to political nut cases who have made insanity normal.

It’s time to take dead aim at the NRA.

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