I just finished watching the National Rifle Association (NRA) “Press Event”. The “watch Wayne read” NRA dog and pony show was in response to what was arguably the most horrific single mass murder in modern history.
Here, in pretty much chronological order is a thumbnail of what Executive Vice-President, Wayne LaPierre had to say. He was introduced to a room full of media by NRA President David Keene, an old guy who seems to have no say in the organization. It’s all LaPierre.
LaPierre starting talking about 20 minutes after the announced starting time. The media was informed that any Q & A would have to wait until Monday at the earliest. Here’s an often-paraphrased, compressed version of what was said. The NRA joined the nation in the horror, outrage, grief and earnest prayer for the fatalities in Newtown. LaPierre said that “Some have tried to exploit the tragedy for political gain.” That’s an apparent reference to those who have introduced responsible gun control legislation.
“How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way we know that works?” That statement is fraught with self-serving and ignorant assumptions that I’ll address momentarily. Before spelling out his ‘way’, LaPierre launched into a finger-pointing orgy of blame starting with politicians. He singled out Democratic legislators who pass laws for gun-free school zones. To the NRA that means that every demented monster would know that schools would be obvious places to fire away.
Apparently only the mentally ill commit murder. That was the recurring LaPierre theme; mentally ill monsters. He’s right on one level. Those with mental health issues are most likely to be the mass murderers. Those folks are in the single digits. I guess the remaining gun-toting killers get a pass. Between 20 and 30 percent of homicides are related to domestic disputes. Of course, that involves guns in homes and God forbid that there should be the tiniest utterance about that fact lest it impact on gun sales. I wouldn’t worry if I were Wayne. As usual gun sales have soared to new heights since the latest massacre, as have new NRA memberships.
LaPierre continued. “We’re told that the President is protected by an armed Secret Service, Congress people by Capital Police Officers but our children are left utterly defenseless.” About this time a young man made his way through the media crowd yelling to LaPierre that the NRA is killing our children, “Stop killing our children. We’ve got to stop the violence.” He was quickly escorted out. LaPierre, who I’m sure is accustomed to such inconveniences, went back to reading his script. He continued his attack on the mentally ill repeating, “Our society is populated by an unknown number of insane monsters.” He’s sure somebody is already planning the next school attack. He claimed that our nation refuses to create a national database of the mentally ill. He then said something quite odd and very damning of the right. He was quite correct in his statement that federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40% over a decade. What he failed to mention was that gun laws have been so eviscerated that it’s well nigh impossible to get a conviction. Ask the prosecutors in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day and in the case of LaPierre he actually said something I couldn’t agree with more. He blamed many of our violence problems on what he called “another dirty little truth” about those corporate interests who would sell violence to their own people. He rattled off a few truly disgusting video game titles including “Kindergarten Killers.” He also talked about films and thousands of music videos. Again, right on point. What he didn’t talk about was, given the 16,000 murders the average child would see growing up why would you want to make millions of guns available to that population entering adulthood? He used the term silent enablers for the entertainment industry, but failed to include his own fine organization in their numbers.
Enter another protester. This time a woman. I didn’t get much of a look at her, but I could hear her loud and clear. “The NRA has blood on its hands; ban assault weapons now.” She was carrying a rather large anti-NRA sign that she waved as she was hustled out of the room. Way to go! A reporter yelled to LaPierre, “What is your reaction?” Not a word. The same guy then mumbled something about following a script. Way to go!
And LaPierre did, indeed, follow his script. In fact he never drifted from it once as he looked down at its contents about every other sentence. It was probably a coincidence, but the media was the next NRA target largely for “not knowing what you’re talking about.” He used machine guns as an example. I guess he’s referring to the fact that reporters may have thought machine guns were included in the assault weapons ban on semi-automatic weapons. New Machine gun sales have been separately banned for civilians for over a quarter of a century and remain so and have been very tough to get since 1934. Frankly, I’ve not heard or read any erroneous reporting on that subject. He also says no new laws will protect us where 20,000 laws have failed to do so. If those numbers are true, that’s the fault of the lawmakers who fashion such weak laws at the urging of NRA lobbyists as to be irrelevant. Even Connecticut’s so-called ‘strict’ gun laws didn’t stop Nancy Lanza from legally owning the .223 Bushmaster and 9mm Glock and Sig Sauer.
But the NRA is riding in with the Cavalry. LaPierre has the answer to gun violence. Load up our schools with people with guns. EVERY school. The NRA has a program called the national school shield safety programme (fancy spelling is the NRA’s). It’s going to call upon all those aging retired police and security officers and military types to get those faded uniforms out of the attic and head for their nearest school. When the sure to be insane ‘Monster’ shows up BAM!!! End of story. Bob Jones grad and reliable right-winger Asa Hutchinson will head the show and our problems will be over. The less than 1% school homicides will plummet, though the ‘suicide by cop’ crowd is more likely, not less likely, to head for the nearest center of learning. And there’s always outside the school where in many instances long bus lines are the norm.
No word about the other 99 plus percent or what should be done for the ‘monsters’ or why states slashed law enforcement budgets to the bone. I’ll have more on this subject after Christmas.