The Incredibly GutLess Response of the NRA’s Wayne Lapierre

Do more guns with more people ensure a safer society or does such a notion simply ensure a steady profit flow for the gun industry?

 rambo lapierre

Wayne Lapierre, the long time Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Rifle Association finally responded to the latest gun violence at the Sandy Hook elementary school last week by essentially blaming everyone else and the anti-gun views they allegedly hold.    Though he did take aim at an element of the violent gun culture in this country, berating the movie makers and video game creators who sensationalize gory guns scenes, his only “solution” was to support a program to train and certify volunteers to protect schools that he felt would be able to stop people like Adam Lanza from any spree killings.  (click on the RELATED ARTICLE link at the bottom of this post to discover the hypocrisy of LaPierre’s berating of violent gun video games)

This promotes what many gun advocates are certain will stop any further serious threats from mass killings by essentially eliminating gun free zones where more “qualified” people can pack heat.  This is like saying that if we had fire fighters positioned around every forest or dry wilderness that we could prevent arsonists from doing any serious damage to our natural treasures.

If it wasn’t clear before that it is the gun industry’s interests that Lapierre’s NRA has covered rather than the public’s safety, this announcement should alter that for many.   The notion that we should in effect return to the days of Judge Roy Bean totally disregards the biggest single factor that allows the mass shootings that have occurred some 62 times in this country over the last three decades – easy access to assault-style weapons and high-capacity or extended ammunition clips.  Eliminating this component alone will likely save many more lives than any security guard responsible for a heavily populated building.

But such a sensible approach isn’t in the interests of 114 gun manufacturers in this country.   Their bottom line may suffer and how then will they be able to supply larger donations to gun advocacy groups like the NRA and their political supporters in Congress and state legislatures?

On the surface, even people who don’t own a gun are inclined to believe that, as  Lapierre likes to tell it, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  But without addressing the fundamental flaws in this type of thinking we can only hope that some of Lapierre’s “good guys” won’t have a mental breakdown and become one of those bad guys.  After all, some of the bad guys were at one time good guys who were buying their weapons for all the reasons the Lapierre’s in this world like to tout.

feeling safer?

It is highly possible that tighter security at schools, malls and theaters will discourage some shooters or at least minimize the body count, IF, they see the shooter before the shooter drops them first.  Or if they can get to the shooter before he has had time to empty a magazine with 30 rounds in it and reload.  But there is sufficient evidence  to suggest that arming more people to prevent such actions will likely result in more injuries and deaths than they are intended to stop.  People who are mentally imbalanced are not incapable of calculating their risks in such circumstances and likely will simply adjust their tactics to address this risk.

Here is a video of such a scenario that ABC news put together in conjunction with experts at the Bethlehem, Pa. police dept. after a shooting occurred at a northern Illinois school in 2009, killing five students and wounding twenty others.

Though this scenario doesn’t favor a shooter in some settings like a Mall, it does demonstrate that people under such duress are not going to be the cool, calm collective Dirty Harry-types that gun zealots like Lapierre imagine.

Gun advocate claims that gun free zones invite shooters also seem to make a legitimate point when they point out these are the places where such spree killings occur.  But there is no empirical evidence that this prevents mentally disturbed people from acting out their horrible fantasies.  James Holmes in the Aurora, Colorado shootings anticipated such responses and wore a ballistics helmet, bulletproof vest and bulletproof leggings.  Was Jared Loughner fully capable of realizing that his victims were in a “gun free” zone at the Tucson shopping area where Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords was greeting constituents or was it simply that this was the place where large numbers of people were going to be?  It was no coincidence that Gabbi Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, was one of Lapierre’s critics following his weak response to the Sandy Hook shootings.

“The NRA could have chosen to be a voice for the vast majority of its own members who want common-sense, reasonable safeguards on deadly firearms, but instead it chose to defend extreme pro-gun positions that aren’t even popular among the law-abiding gun owners it represents.”    SOURCE  

The notion too that arming more people makes us safer and freer has been aptly disputed by Firmin DeBrabander, an associate professor of philosophy at the Maryland Institute College of Art

As N.R.A. president Wayne LaPierre expressed in a recent statement on the organization’s Web site, more guns equal more safety, by their account. A favorite gun rights saying is “an armed society is a polite society.” If we allow ever more people to be armed, at any time, in any place, this will provide a powerful deterrent to potential criminals. Or if more citizens were armed — like principals and teachers in the classroom, for example — they could halt senseless shootings ahead of time, or at least early on, and save society a lot of heartache and bloodshed.

As ever more people are armed in public, however — even brandishing weapons on the street — this is no longer recognizable as a civil society. Freedom is vanished at that point.

An armed society is polite, by [the NRA’s] thinking, precisely because guns would compel everyone to tamp down eccentric behavior, and refrain from actions that might seem threatening. The suggestion is that guns liberally interspersed throughout society would cause us all to walk gingerly — not make any sudden, unexpected moves — and watch what we say, how we act, whom we might offend.

As our Constitution provides, however, liberty entails precisely the freedom to be reckless, within limits, also the freedom to insult and offend as the case may be. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld our right to experiment in offensive language and ideas, and in some cases, offensive action and speech. Such experimentation is inherent to our freedom as such. But guns by their nature do not mix with this experiment — they don’t mix with taking offense. They are combustible ingredients in assembly and speech.    SOURCE 

Wayne Lapierre’s ode to simple-minded fixes to stop wanton mass shootings appeals to  gut level feelings most of us may hold but in effect does nothing to resolve symptoms of such tragedies in this country.  The fear that sensible gun control measures like re-instating the ban on assault weapons will take away any 2nd amendment rights is unfounded.  There has been no action whatsoever to limit gun ownership in this country under the Obama administration but the fear that it will has generated the greatest number of sells prior to and following both elections where Obama won.

It’s time to quit listening to the louder but fewer voices that contribute nothing to the public safety.  Removing the more deadly weapons from the public arsenal along with equally serious measures to provide mental health services for those in need, better background checks (eliminate the gun show loophole) and addressing the gun culture’s impact on our kids is a comprehensive approach to ensuring that no one else will have to worry about sending their kids to school or if a trip to the Mall or a movie show will end in terror.

 NRA cleanup

RELATED ARTICLE:

The Gun-Game Complex

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16 responses to “The Incredibly GutLess Response of the NRA’s Wayne Lapierre

  1. What I am now sure of, is that Wayne LaPierre could not pass a psychological test to be a gun owner. He’s batshit crazy. We are spinning down the bat hole of insanity in this country. I had a bible-thumpin religionist try to tell me that Jesus sanctified the use of violence to protect oneself. Course she doesn’t have a clue how to understand scripture–only enough to “start churches” for others as she puts it, because of course no pastor could ever tell her anything she doesn’t already understand better. God save us. Or Snoopy. Whatever works.

    • “He’s batshit crazy.”

      There may be some of that but I suspect it is just plain self-interests and being in the back pocket of the gun industry which he relies on for donations and thus a certain portion of his paycheck.

      • oh yeah, the NRA long ago ceased existing for it’s members. It’s just a lobby for the gun manufacturers and sellers.

    • Thanks for sharing that T.E.

      These arguments are always so lame. It would be one thing if ping pong balls and TVs were manufactured to kill people but they do have a primary purpose. Assault weapons on the other hand …. seems like a no-brainer to me.

      This has never been about people dying from accidents are simple stupidity. It’s about the ability of someone able to deliberately kill a lot of people very quickly with something that should exists only within military units and police departments.

      • One of the things about these weapons is that there is no real purpose – outside of the military and police – that they can be used for, or would not be better served by another type of weapon.

  2. An outstanding post. Comprehensive and correct in every respect. Among other things, there is a great need for the many responsible members of the NRA to rise up and restore the organization to its original purposes. Chief among those was gun safety.

  3. In the same way that Thanksgiving Weekend mall riots that end in death/near death are used to promote sales and, in turn, future riots that generate sales…mass shootings now drive gun sales.

    They show how effective the products are at killing mass numbers of people and how even a 98 lb weakling can instantly turn into a super-macho killing machine. As a result, every insecure pin-dick can’t run to the gun store fast enough so that he can dream of settling a score.

    The NRA doesn’t mind mass shootings all that much. It gives them the chance to say “Look at all the nut-jobs with guns out there. Look at how, without warning, they mow down dozens of innocents in a couple of minutes. So, make yourself safe and buy yourself a gun. And, if you already have one, upgrade what you got and/or stockpile some more.”

  4. Okay, I can understand what people are getting at here, but let’s be honest, who always stops a bad guy with a gun? A good guy with a gun. No shooter has ever stopped because someone begged them to, they stopped because they were confronted by someone else with a gun, because their own life was at risk from another person with a gun.

    And another thing, your so-called “assault weapons” are used in a relatively small percentage of shootings. Handguns are the most broadly used firearm for committing crimes. Why, you may ask? Because they’re convenient, you can hide them easily, they are ideal for close quarters, etc.

    Regardless of what weapons are used to kill someone, murder is murder, and when you look at “gun homicides” per country and use England as a shining example, of course there will be less “firearm-related” deaths because there are far fewer guns in the hands of the general population. Their crime rate is only 1/3rd of ours, and they have at least 1/20th the number of guns per person. The point is, their murder rate is not proportional to how many guns they have.

    You know what a more effective way of targeting murder and crime in general is? Better education, better mental healthcare, more jobs, higher pay, lower poverty rates, and better social programs that have safeguards against assholes who abuse them. You know why there’s crime in the U.S.? It’s because several things that should be working aren’t. Obamacare is a joke, our education system gets worse by the year, college expenses aren’t getting any lower, wellfare is abused out the ass, national minimum wage hasn’t gone up since the 90s, jobs are getting more scarce and harder to obtain, and the inequity between economic classes is absolutely insane and out of control. Fix those issues, and I bet then you’ll see homicide rates plummet.

    I’ll admit, guns do play a role in the whole thing, but gun control, in and of itself, doesn’t work. There are countries with strict gun controls that are practically warzones compared to the U.S. Honduras has the single highest murder rate in the world, and it has much stronger gun controls than the U.S. Note that, at the same time, the Czech Republic has pretty permissive gun laws (and yes, “assault weapons” can be lawfully acquired there) and a homicide rate lower than England’s. There is a stronger correlation between standards of living/government corruption and homicides than gun ownership and homicides.

    Also, I would like to note that the overall homicide rate in the U.S. is the lowest it’s been since the 60s.

    • Though there is wisdom in your words about how “Better education, better mental healthcare, more jobs, higher pay, lower poverty rates, and better social programs that have safeguards against assholes who abuse them” will reduce gun violence there is plenty of evidence to suggest you are not standing on solid ground Exile89 about sane gun control measures strictly enforced. We can agree to disagree but please don’t insult mine or anyone else’s intelligence by suggesting fewer guns won’t alleviate the problem.

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