“With the weak-kneed acquiescence of our politicians, the National Rifle Association has turned the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a cruel and deadly hoax”. - Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, “The NRA Has America Living Under the Gun”
I don’t know how many people are caught up in the emotion of our recent mass-shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Many I suppose genuinely are and many more make obligatory comments that reflect the sorrow and anger of such a tragedy. Bill Maher commented on his FaceBook page yesterday that “I haven’t had time to stop hating the last triggerhappy asshole in the news before the new one came along.” Such mass killings do seem to be the norm in America of late.
I for one no longer feel a need to speak out on such things as I have in the past. Not that such insane actions and waste of innocent human life doesn’t anger me to the core but because no matter what I say or feel, the factors that have resulted in this continuing American nightmare will remain in place. It’s just a matter of time before another seemingly “normal” person will become unstrung and kill many more children, parents, close friends and relatives.
The weapons of choice for these mass killings are assault-style weapons found in gangs and military units, often with extended magazines for increased fire power. They were banned at one time in this country but when the ban expired in 2004, enough gutless men and women in the U.S. Congress caved to the paranoid shrill of Wayne LaPierre and the National Rifle Association and failed to extend it. Why? Because LaPierre, something of a mentally twisted figure himself, has convinced enough people that by limiting such weapons only to those entities that have a more legal need for them like police forces and the military, is some kind of “slippery slope” that will deprive Americans of their 2nd amendment rights.
So, following yet another mass murder that was extremely deadly as a result of the NRA leadership’s decision to oppose the ban, the NRA’s fiery CEO, Wayne Lapierre – if he were anything other than an ideologue dipped in the intoxication of gunpowder – should reconsider his views on a ban that restricts the use of such weapons to any but law enforcement and the military.
Such deadly weapons and their hardware go beyond the perception of the 2nd amendment to secure individuals in their home against intruders where the standard handgun or rifle meets this basic need.
In light of this recent national tragedy at Aurora, Colorado, where deadly firearms have once again played a part, LaPierre ought to tell the membership that he is willing to stand unopposed to such a ban if proposed in Congress while encouraging the people’s representatives to vote their conscience and heart rather than worrying whether generous campaign contributions from the NRA will dry up should they support such legislation. In doing so, we could then see whether this guy is more human than he is merely a lackey for the gun industry.
In an article I wrote on this topic shortly after Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords was shot by Jerald Loughner, I pointed out that the 2nd amendment has a range of personal views on what the intention of the founding fathers was, “from the more progressive view that we need an armed militia to protect us against outside threats to the other extreme that wants to arm every individual man, woman and child to serve as a deterrent to some perceived tyrannical forces within our borders.” The belief that the 2nd amendment was intended to allow anyone to own any kind of firearm is so entrenched with some that a rational argument about limiting some forms of gun ownership to prevent the kind of violence that only this country experiences in peace time is viewed hysterically and with contempt.
… this tragedy in Aurora makes clear that all the yapping by NRA propagandists that individuals carrying guns can/will stop madmen from killing lots of people (something we heard from these people after [Seung-Hui] Cho shot up VA Tech, only to have the VA legislature fall all over itself genuflecting to the most ridiculous and obscene requests from the NRA), does not cut it. Holmes could not be stopped by all these junior Zimmermans and fantasists training so hard to protect “us” from whomever they thought were threatening us. No way. SOURCE
Until we get past this illogical perception and find men and women of courage to stand up to the extremists elements within the NRA, the future will see more of these kinds of atrocities. We can make all the motions we want about more security and back ground checks but in reality, people who engage in the manufacture and sell of firearms are more concerned about their own self-interests and will always cut corners on regulations to insure their self-interests do not suffer. The fact that one lone gunman may go off and kill innocent men, women and children is not their concern. And to this point I would agree except for a single glaring caveat. Restricting these rogue elements from killing many more people easily by eliminating the sell of Uzis and AK-47s is hardly an action that violates the spirit or the letter of the 2nd amendment.
There are few heroes today in powerful positions to speak out against the exaggerated claims of people like Wayne Lapierre. In a past era there were men of conviction in journalism who would write editorials and go on the air to challenge the lunatic fringe in this country. Gone are media broadcasters like Edward R. Murrow who challenged McCarthyism when no one else would and Walter Cronkite who finally told the American people that Vietnam was a quagmire we needed to rid ourselves of. Today’s corporate-owned media control the editorial messages of news agencies, always making sure nothing is said, no matter how genuine or honest, that would be seen adversely by their advertisers or negatively impact their own financial investments in domestic and foreign resources.
I don’t own a weapon and never have. But I am more than familiar with the power of guns as a teenager who hunted dove in central Texas and later as a qualified marksman in the Marine Corps. I am not unaware that people who live in high crime areas are susceptible to being robbed and injured from the criminal element there. If that criminal element has a weapon then it is only right that law-abiding citizens have an equal measure of protection. But this doesn’t require the destructive power that will greatly exceed the capacity to fend off an intruder.
Assault-style weapons are not fit for many who need such protection, like the elderly and physically handicapped. The haphazard availability of such fire power in some homes often leads to the innocent maiming and killing of friends and relatives who dropped by and were curiously inspecting a weapon of such massive capabilities. But don’t let this logic motivate you to fight for sane gun laws. Lord knows people don’t want to be branded by the hysteria of zealous gun advocates for being un-American and wanting to “spit on the constitution”.
The extremist in this country, who scream the loudest and say the scariest things, have made a mockery of the practice to debate issues and find rational responses to the legitimate concerns of civilized societies. Nowadays everyone aligns themselves with narrowly focused ideologies that use fear and ignorance to persuade a poorly informed public and are aided and abetted by the main stream media who counts its profits and weighs their ratings before it decides what to report on.
So when the next loose cannon out there, for reasons only they can decipher, decides to enter the public domain and see if the can match or kill more shoppers, students, movie viewers or former fellow employees than the last madman, remember this. The damage that they were able to do was because the American public lacks the will to employ a measure of sanity and reduce the firepower that such mentally unstable people should never have access to.
Each and everyone who bemoans the horror of such atrocities but does nothing to curb the access to more destructive weapons and their ancillary firepower has unwittingly participated in these horrific acts. Each one who allows the illogical hysteria from those who profit from gun sales to convince them to do nothing are simply sending a signal to the next James Holmes, Jerald Loughner or Seung-Hui Cho to engage in such violence, because after all, who wants to prevent one single individual from owning an arsenal that a military combat unit would be envious of?