The conversation around guns in America has become so polarized, exaggerated and shocking that it seems like reasonable gun reforms may never be put into place. The National Rifle Association is leading the charge with more nonsense and doublethink.
The NRA has descended into farce, into a cynical and insensitive masquerade of performed conservatism. If someone out there in the wide web can show me the difference between Wayne LaPierre and Alex Jones I’d be very grateful. As it stands, I can’t wrap my head around how these goons are allowed to influence policy, broker candidates and move around the quantity of money that they do.
In a speech at CPAC, head of the NRA Wayne LaPierre said, “As usual, the opportunists waited not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain. They hate the NRA. They hate the second amendment. They hate individual freedom.” He went on to rail against the FBI for not pre-empting the attack Florida on the 14th, said that schools and other “gun-free zones” are natural targets and should be more heavily armed and protected.
He said all this with a straight face. I don’t understand how he thinks this kind of broken rhetoric is appealing to anymore.
Does he sincerely believe that people do not see the connection between the availability of firearms and incidence of mass violence? That they will swallow the narrative of an incompetent FBI and insufficiently armed teachers? Perhaps, in Wayne LaPierre’s mind, the reason Canada has not had a mass school shooting since 1989 is because of the crack work being done by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the glock on the desk of every teacher.
To make matters worse, he was only echoing the president’s sentiment. Trump, in a meeting where he was supposed to be listening to survivors of the attack, floated the idea of training and arming teachers to deal with school shooters. I guess that’s the kind of misdirection $11.4 million in campaign contributions buys you.
According to the president, it makes more sense to arm teachers and prepare them for the foregone conclusion of a school shooting than to try to eliminate the causes that contribute to school shootings in the first place.
I can see the reasoning. What about secretly armed teachers won’t make everyone in the building feel safer? Why wouldn’t a teacher want to put their life on the line and engage in a shootout with a deranged psychopath? Plus there’s the added bonus of the kids behaving themselves a little bit better just in case Mrs. Douglas is packing.
Oh, wait - that’s dogshit. And it is pretty clear in the video that none of the kids are buying it either.
The real rationale behind arming teachers is that gun manufacturers and their lobby groups have a lot of heft in America because American’s sincerely love owning and operating firearms. There is a huge vested interest in these gun manufacturers being able to retail to as many people as possible and keep the good times rolling. Teachers are a market they haven’t even scratched the surface of.
Gun manufacturers are also not legally required to track the sale of firearms, so all we can do is guess based on sales figures from retailers and background checks. Based on the more than 200,000 background checks requested on Black Friday last year (bear in mind background checks are not required of all gun purchasers or at gun shows), I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet business is booming.
So when Wayne LaPierre went on to criticize “elites” and “European style socialists” for wanting to implement stricter gun policies, it came as no surprise. As long as his organization and the candidates it supports can continue to build this fantasia where gun availability is in no way related to gun violence, they can continue to reap the rewards. They can continue to buy beach houses with the blood of innocent children.
Please do not mistake the above for hyperbole. It is the very real cost of doing such booming business in firearms. It is the cost of the imaginary “freedom” that the President and Mr. LaPierre tout in their speeches. It is the price paid by citizens for the blind enforcement of a second amendment written about muskets.
In his critique of the so-called ‘elites’ and ‘socialists,’ LaPierre closed with the following, “They don't care if their laws work or not,” he said. "They just want to get more laws to get more control over people. But the NRA, the NRA does care."
And they show that care through bought politicians, campaigns to loosen gun restrictions, fighting background checks, and blaming the FBI for not finding every 17-year-old with an emotional disorder before he has the opportunity to easily procure a gun and kill his classmates.
If the NRA and Republicans think they are going to win this argument, or that these are the tools for holding power, they need to take a long and sobering look at themselves and right this ship. Because there is a compromise and a consensus to be reached on gun control – but this is not how we get there.