The NRA comes out, guns blazing
VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA – “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Never mind the fractured syntax; it’s the tortured logic of Wayne Lapierre, Executive Director of the NRA, which is terrifying. In the NRA’s first public statement since 27 people including 20 1st grade children and six staff members of an elementary school were slaughtered by a gunman using a legally acquired assault rifle and several legal semi-automatic handguns, the tone was combative and defiant. The general message was that it was the media’s fault for demonising guns and that if only the teachers – and presumably the children – had been armed with their own weapons, lives would have been saved. Not ensuring that teachers carry weapons, it seems, is irresponsible, and gun control advocates can shoulder the blame for the deaths of the children. And of course, gun control advocates are further to blame for “politicising” the question of gun control legislation, according to the anti-gun control legislation lobbyist.
It wasn’t really a press conference – Lapierre read a prepared statement and took no questions – it was more of a commercial advertisement for the gun lobbyist’s clients, the weapons manufacturers. After suggesting that teachers ought to carry weapons to class, Lapierre dwelt on his frankly bizarre argument that since we see fit to protect the president with the Secret Service and our money in banks with armed security, we ought to ensure that there is armed security in every school. He went on to call on the government (this small government arch-conservative gun lobbyist) to place at least one heavily armed security guard in every school in the country; the clear implication was that the government was to blame for the death of those children. It wasn’t mentioned that there was an armed guard at Columbine whose effectiveness was nil. Nevertheless it wasn’t lost on many that to implement his plan would result in a spike in weapons sales in the United States. Presumably creating a business opportunity for his clients out of the unthinkable tragedy is less cynical than seeking legislation to prevent it from happening again.
Continuing the cynical tone of the advertisement, Lapierre blamed gun violence on everything he could think of except, hardly surprisingly, guns. He blamed video games, he blamed movies, he blamed rap music, and he blamed mental illness. It never came up (as I mentioned, there were no questions permitted) that games, movies, music, and nutjobs are available everywhere in the world, but this level of gun violence is still a uniquely American phenomenon. Somehow the fact that, largely because of his organisation, the United States, with five percent of the world’s population, has fifty percent of the world’s guns just didn’t get a mention. Moreover, the fact that eighty four percent of gun homocides in the entire world are American didn’t get any play. And the NRA sees the solution as arming more Americans.
While the world shakes its head in dismay and the people of the United States
bury more bullet riddled children, and wonder why they are being told that more guns will solve the problem, the NRA has leapt upon this latest marketing opportunity. The NRA sells death and pimps its product by peddling fear.
The NRA has blood on its hands, but it isn’t satisfied yet; it wants more. It’s time to shut that organisation down.