Wayne LaPierre delivered a very strange speech last night in response to President Obama's Inaugural speech. Why he decided to even speak out is a mystery. I suppose he believes the NRA must have the last word. No one is going to push the NRA leadership around. Don't mess with these folks or else. Or else what? We know what they are inferring and in not so subtle language, are threatening. Just look at the comments on blogs and articles about gun violence prevention. Just look at what is being written "out loud" on the Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of gun violence prevention organizations. I referred to some of these in a previous post and have experienced some of them myself on this blog. But look no further than Ted Nugent, NRA Board member, for what these folks are thinking and saying. It's 2013 but these folks are living back in the times of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. In 2012, 20 small children were massacred by a young man with mental illness who had easy access to an AR-15, something never imagined by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
I find it interesting that the folks making these incendiary statements are so free, they think, to say anything that comes to mind with no filtering process. Plus, they use their own names, or at least most of them do, and so are easily called out or even monitored by authorities. I guess they don't think there is anything wrong with their view point. The thing is, they are a minority of folks on the far right who have come to believe their own rhetoric and have been made to believe in the fear perpetrated by the NRA lobbyists and leaders. Maybe that's it. Desperation has set in. Any talk of reasonable gun laws has led to crazy and dangerous assertions. It is unacceptable.
And LaPierre played right into it last night. As I have said before, he should have sat down and kept his mouth shut. He is doing more harm than any good that could possibly come from his stupid remarks. Here are just a few of them from the speech he made last night to the group gathered for the Weatherby International Hunting and Conservation Awards in Las Vegas:
Let's talk about this for a minute. Absolutism? The totally cynical and hypocritical comments by LaPierre tell us all we need to know. If President Obama was, indeed, referring to the NRA's absolutism, do we need more proof that he was right than to listen to LaPierre dig in his heels and say that his organization would resist any and all attempts at measures to reduce gun violence? Second, the fact that this extremist and those who believe him, actually think that they need the same fire power as the secret service and the military should be examined for exactly what it is. This is insurrectionism. I believe there are laws against this, if carried to its' illogical conclusion by hysterical armed citizens.Speaking at the annual Weatherby International Hunting and Conservation Awards in Reno, Nev., LaPierre zeroed in on a line in Obama's inaugural address, delivered Monday, in which the president said "we cannot afford to mistake absolutism for principle." The line was a subtle reference to the gun control debate, and the tendency of gun rights activists to interpret the Second Amendment as giving carte blanche rights to buy and carry any type of firearm anywhere."Absolutes do exist, it's the basis of all civilization," said LaPierre. "Without those absolutes, Democracy decays into nothing more than two wolves and one lamb voting on who to eat for lunch."Surprisingly, LaPierre renewed a widely criticized argument the NRA put forth last week in an attack ad featuring the president's two daughters. "We believe that we deserve and have every right to the same level of freedom that government leaders reserve for themselves -- to defend ourselves and our families with semi-automatic firearms technology," LaPierre said. "We believe that if neither criminals nor the political class -- with their bodyguards and security people -- are limited by magazine capacity, we shouldn't be limited in our capacity, either."Using terms better suited to a talk radio host than to the leader of the nation's largest gun lobby, LaPierre said Obama's address "makes a mockery" of the Declaration of Independence and the notion of "unalienable rights." LaPierre repeatedly addressed Obama in the speech, delivered to a black-tie crowd at the hunting awards benefit dinner. "Words have meanings, Mr. President, and those meanings are absolute," LaPierre said. "And when absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone's graffitti."LaPierre told the crowd the president "doesn't understand you. He doesn't agree with the freedoms you cherish. If the only way he can force you to give 'em up is through scorn and ridicule, he's more than willing to do it -- even as he claims the moral high ground."
And the assertion that the NRA made in its' ad regarding security for President Obama's children has been debunked by many. The fact that LaPierre stubbornly refers again to the ad leads us to believe that this is, indeed, the absolutism to which President Obama referred in his Inaugural address on Monday. The NRA needs to move on from its' mistaken and "diabolical" view of America as Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower writes here:
LaPierre's doubling down unnecessarily last night answers the question asked by Susan Eisenhower. Where is the sense of decency and common sense? Where is any mention of compromise in the face of a national crisis? Where is protecting our children and our communities from massacres and daily shootings? Where is a mature discussion, void of hysteria and rigidity, that can lead us to a solution to a problem? Where is the idea that we are in this together to do the right thing? Every day, the words of the NRA lobbyists come back to haunt them. What about the shooting yesterday at the Lone Star College in Houston, Texas? It turns out it was different than other school shootings. This one was a fight between two people who happened to have been armed ( though the college states guns cannot be carried on campus) and got into a fight. So much for the idea that guns on campus will be handy to stop an armed intruder bent on a massacre. How could just one more armed person have stopped these two from having a shoot-out on the grounds of the campus? Who would be shot? Who started it? And, of course, what happens in these situations is that the bullets shot during the argument went astray and injured other innocent people. This is the perfect storm of NRA extremist policy proposals- arm more people to protect others from harm. Then watch them shoot at each other in an argument and injure others with stray bullets. Meanwhile, panic ensues and everyone runs or gets out their own guns. Simple. What could possibly go wrong? I will anxiously await more information about whether both men were armed and whether either was a law abiding gun permit holder.I repeat: We had Secret Service protection because we were seen as potential targets.That’s why any thinking person has to be disgusted by the National Rifle Association ad released Wednesday, suggesting that the president is an “elitist hypocrite” because his children have the benefit of armed protection at school and the nation’s children as a whole do not. This is absurd. The nation’s children are not individually at risk the way the Obama children are.And the Obama girls are not exactly lucky to have a protection detail. How lucky is it to grow up with a loss of privacy and freedom, along with the psychological effects of a childhood shadowed by armed bodyguards? As sensitive, respectful and kind as these agents are, having Secret Service protection is part of the sacrifice that presidential families make in the name of public service. Those who have had armed protection can suffer lifelong feelings of physical vulnerability, a sense that he or she is always being watched, or a longing for the feeling of continued dependency and security. I am fortunate to have gotten over these issues. But it is no surprise when someone falls for her security guard. Of my generation, the most famous of these was Patty Hearst, the kidnapped newspaper heiress who eventually married her bodyguard.Having armed guards at school, even for part of the day, is not the environment we should wish for America’s children, nor does it foster a tension-free educational experience. So let’s turn the national conversation back to how we can make our schools safer without creating fear and anxiety.The NRA’s attack ad should be condemned for exacerbating the dangers faced by the president and his family. Regrettably, it is emblematic of a new trend in public policy and communications strategy. Instead of arguing the merits of an issue, broader public questions are spun into personal attacks. In this case, the NRA has tried to assure the public that the argument is not about guns anymore but about some negative personal image it has concocted for the president. At the end of the ad, a voice intones, “President Obama demands that Americans pay their fair share of taxes, but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.”This brilliantly diabolical non sequitur hurts more than the president and his family. It hurts our democracy by twisting the nature of the public debate.Even a longtime Washingtonian such as I thought these ads couldn’t get worse. So I have a question for the NRA and others who use such tactics: Have you no sense of decency, sirs?
The irony of these two examples should not be lost on the public and our elected leaders and even those reasonable NRA members who believe in common sense gun policy. It was lost on the Texas gun rights extremists who tried to make this all about them and their rights when it actually shows how wrong they all are. Their first knee-jerk reaction was to propose a bill to arm more students and teachers on college campuses:
In the face of such ludicrous and irresponsible reactions to shootings, nothing works better than satire to get a point across. The trouble is, Governor Perry and others in Texas who believe in totally unrestricted gun rights actually believe what they are saying. Their own version of the second amendment is now on full display for Americans to see. And Americans aren't buying it. Most Americans, including gun owners and NRA members believe that the second amendment is consistent with reasonable gun laws. So when Wayne LaPierre gets hysterical or defensive, remember he is not representing the majority of his own members. He is representing the gun industry. When he ramps up the fear and paranoia, he is getting this small group of already extremist folks who have arsenals in place to fight against their own government to go out and buy more guns. Profits are soaring. So are lives lost from bullets. About 100,000 Americans a year are shot and about 30,000 of them die from their gunshot injuries. And the reasonable response to this public health and safety problem should logically be to seek ways to reduce and prevent the likelihood that more people will be shot. Arming more people is illogical given reality. We are better than this as a country and we've had enough of the illogical arguments from the NRA extremists.With yet another school shooting, this time in Texas, legislators in that state are sensibly calling for more guns - specifically, swift passage of a bill that would allow college students and staff to carry licensed concealed handguns on campus. Because, college students and guns: What could possibly go wrong? Gov. Rick Perry supports the bill, though also wants more prayer just to cover all his bases. Others are suggesting helpful NRA-style tips for observers of campus shoot-outs, like secret hand-signs or white hats for good guys and thin dark mustaches for bad guys. Similarly, in the wake of another gorilla attack at a local mall and subsequent skyrocketing gorilla sales, The Onion persuasively quotes responsible gorilla owners who argue that the tragedy would never have happened if everyone at the mall had a gorilla, because "you never know when you’ll need to use a gorilla to save your life.”“Listen, it’s my God-given right as an American to have the freedom to own a gorilla to protect myself and my family,” said James Harrington, who said he personally owns 12 different gorillas of various sizes but keeps them “safely locked away in (my) home."