Monday March 30, 2015

'I Find the NRA to be Hard Work'

Earlier this year, Patricia and I watched the Frontline special, “Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA.” Here’s the trailer:

Actually, P only watched half of it. She didn’t need the rest. Neither did I, really. But it’s like when you’re on the losing team and you force yourself to watch the winning team celebrate on the field. To remind yourself.

The doc focuses on three shootings—Columbine in April 1999, Gabby Giffords in January 2011, Sandy Hook in December 2012—and how each renewed calls for gun control, and how after each the NRA emerged stronger. We all know how it goes by now: 1) People are killed by guns; 2) a majority of people say we need to do something about guns; 3) a minority of people buy more guns and strengthen their support for the NRA; 4) nothing happens. World without end.

It helps that the NRA has the entire history of Hollywood movies on its side. That’s why Wayne LaPierre’s line works. He says, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” and we think of Bruce Willis or Clint Eastwood or John Wayne or Tom Mix or William S. Hart. Cowboys without end.

Here are the NRA’s three basic arguments:

  1. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
  2. Gun control regulations only stop good guys from getting guns; bad guys will get them any way they can.
  3. Second Amendment, yo.

That third argument? Yeah. Except an individual right to gun ownership is a relatively new concept. For more than 200 years, the U.S. Supreme Court read the Second Amendment as a collective right to gun ownership. Maybe someday we’ll go back to that. But we need to shut down the first two arguments first.

How? Public safety won’t do it. If Sandy Hook didn’t change things, nothing will. We’ve stopped caring. Or we only care about other people’s kids in bits and pieces, while gun lovers care about their guns 24/7. Plus they reframe the debate. They make it about personal freedom. And they co-opt the safety argument. (See #2, above.)

So what's left? One option is to unman them.

What are high-powered magazine clips but weapons for people who can’t shoot straight? Just how many rounds do you need to hit your target? And how many weapons do you have to strap on to make yourself feel like a man? At all times, Open Carry movement? How sad is that? How sad is your need for strap-ons. What is the NRA but a lobbying organization. Who is Wayne LaPierre but a lobbyist with a French name. You don't think FOX News couldn't grind him to dust if he were on the other side? 

Or we can all just watch this Aussie comedian take them down. (Thanks for the link, Erika.) Love his matter-of-fact line, “I find the NRA to be hard work.”

Posted at 07:29 AM on Monday March 30, 2015 in category Politics  
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