The NRA Shoots Itself in the Foot

The National Rifle Association finally weighed in on the gun debate today, in a news conference (albeit one in which they took no questions) setting out their feelings at this critical moment. And they gave the movement for greater restrictions on guns the biggest favor it could have hoped for. While the organization was once devoted to marksmanship and gun safety, in recent years it has increasingly become a shill for the gun manufacturers that fund it and the home of unhinged conspiracy theorists. As it showed today, the worst thing it can do for its cause is to step into the light.

You can read Wayne LaPierre's entire statement here, but here's a choice excerpt:

We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers.

Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it. That must change now!

The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody believe that the next Adam Lanza isn't planning his attack on a school he's already identified at this very moment?

The italics and exclamation points are in the original. LaPierre went on to say, "There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people." Gun manufacturers? Nope. Hollywood! He went on to blame the news media, and even added a little doomsday prepper rhetoric ("Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you've got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization"). And then came the proposal: What we need to do, LaPierre said, is immediately place armed police officers in every school in America.

So the NRA's plan is this: Make sure that as many people as possible buy as many guns as possible and are allowed to take them into as many places as possible. And then, as this army of "monsters and predators" descends upon our schools, have someone there to return fire. Sounds reasonable.

If the NRA had just kept its head low like it did after every other mass shooting we've had in recent years, it would have done itself a favor. But I think that in years to come we may look back on this press conference as one of the key moments in a change in how people and legislators think of the NRA. It was a big public reminder, to people who may not have been aware of it, that these people are crazy. Even many gun owners, and many of the NRA's own members, think the positions the organization takes are too extreme. When it's this public about its dream vision of the society it would like to see, where every public place, from streets to supermarkets to parks to restaurants to schools, is nothing more than a gun battle waiting to happen, people are going to recoil in disgust. And to repeat, that includes lots of people who own guns.

Comments

How to eliminate the power of the NRA:

An organized movement that warns every member of Congress that any one of them who accepts any campaign contributions or lobbyist perks from the NRA will be confronted with serious cash donations to his or her opponent.

# sighs Really? I have just read several of your blogs after reading your ringmaster blog on the CNN page. To be perfectly honest I don't know who you are never heard of you but who do you think you are? on the NRA they had no choice but to speak out after being demonized by people like you who would like nothing better than to confiscate all the guns in America. Here is the thing and one to REALLY think about... You can't hunting a bell the cat is out of the bag guns are here and not going anywhere. you could never take them away, if you were to try the government's body count would go way up starting with me because no way I would give up my guns. So I can't have a ar 15... I do own a 45/70 that should be fraternity more than any asalt rifle and who resides what guns we can have we have a constitutional right to own firearms it does not limit what kind. Just as it gives you the right to say whatever you want to say and a free press to report the news if we take away the right to keep weapons then what rights do we take away next because " it is better for the American people" and who makes that decision congress? yeah we all see how good of a job they are doing and have done.

chip -- Really? You really think people are trying to confiscate your guns? Based on what? Only in NRA paranoid fund raising is that notion taken seriously. The NRA's increasingly extreme position (the answer to out-of-control gun violence is: more guns!) is leading to new room for sensible limits on weapons of war and on guns going to unbalanced people. That's what the debate is about: limiting war zone artillery from our streets, not going after hunting rifles or routine collectables. And this time, ordinary Americans are going to beat the gun merchants and their radical agents.

Just one question for Mr. LaPierre:

Why doesn't Canada have this pressing need for armed police at all its schools?

And a follow-up: Why don't Canadian citizens feel the need to arm themselves like Americans do?

LaPierre probably thinks that the US is full of homicidal maniacs, and Canada isn't. In LaPIerre's defense, he does see a homicidal maniac every time he looks in a mirror, so he may know one when he sees one. Unfortunately, being a homicidal maniac, he does not see the obvious solution than would occur to a sane, non-maniacal person - don't let the maniacs have guns.

Although the mall shooting outside of Portland, OR was widely reported, most of the media ignored the fact that a concealed weapons owner had drawn his pistol and was aiming at the shooter. When the shooter saw that he was about to be targeted, he immediately killed himself. How many were saved because there was a good guy with a gun at the scene?

In state after state, EVERY TIME concealed weapons are allowed to be carried, the crime rate goes down because the bad guys don't know who is armed and who isn't.

Guns are here. There is no getting rid of them. There are just too many. You can decry the fact of them, but they're here, and it is a constitutional right that we can have them.

The current focus is on "assault rifles" which is a meaningless term. Although the military style weapons look "bad," the semi-automatic civilian versions are no more deadly than my 30-06 semi-automatic deer rifle, and, in close quarters, not nearly as deadly as a semi-automatic or pump 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot.

As a gun owner and concealed carry permit holder, I have no particular desire to own a military-style semi-automatic rifle. They don't appeal to me because of their looks nor performance. I'm perfectly happy with my deer rifle, shotgun, and pistol. These three guns take care of all of my needs without needing something that looks "bad."

These mall, theater and school shooters are attracted to the "assault rifle" because of something in their makeup. They been led to believe that these weapons are more deadly, possibly from the influence of video games. However, other than the fact that they don't have larger capacity magazines, shotguns are much more deadly in a confined area like a classroom.

It has become almost impossible to commit someone to a mental facility because of concern for their rights. In many of these shooters' cases, the signs were there that they were capable of violence, but it was ignored. Anti-gun people are quick to point out that other countries don't have many mass shootings because of their gun laws, but how much of it might be that they do a better job of taking insane people off the streets?

Something to consider.

Bill Clinton endorses LaPierre approach post-Columbine (article excerpt):

"Clinton also unveiled the $60-million fifth round of funding for "COPS in School," a Justice Department program that helps pay the costs of placing police officers in schools to help make them safer for students and teachers. The money will be used to provide 452 officers in schools in more than 220 communities.

"Already, it has placed 2,200 officers in more than 1,000 communities across our nation, where they are heightening school safety as well as coaching sports and acting as mentors and mediators for kids in need," Clinton said."

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