We owe it to Noah and the other children who were massacred on 12/14 to make it much harder for anything like that to ever happen again. As most everyone has acknowledged, nothing is the same since 12/14. Change is going to happen. It's just a matter of what it is going to look like. E.J. Dionne wrote this column today for the Washington Post:Jewish Daily Forward posted a column by journalist Naomi Zeveloff, who spoke with Veronique Pozner about Noah’s death and the days that followed. Zeveloff details her struggle with publishing the information she was given by Mrs. Pozner — but ultimately concludes the grieving parent hoped to illustrate in facts and difficult truths what the “angels in heaven” narrative so thoroughly conceals.At the start of the piece, Zeveloff quotes Pozner as she describes asking Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy to view Noah’s open casket — Veronique Pozner explains, heartbreakingly, how she hoped that if the time ever came to pass legislation on the factors that led to her son’s death, Gov. Malloy would be able to place a face and a person with the decision:“I needed it to have a face for him … If there is ever a piece of legislation that comes across his desk, I needed it to be real for him.”Later in the discussion, Zeveloff explains that Noah’s mom described, without prompting, the state of his remains when she viewed them, saying:“We all saw how beautiful he was. He had thick, shiny hair, beautiful long eyelashes that rested on his cheeks. He looked like he was sleeping. But the reality of it was under the cloth he had covering his mouth there was no mouth left. His jaw was blown away. I just want people to know the ugliness of it so we don’t talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven. No. They were butchered. They were brutalized. And that is what haunts me at night.”Zeveloff asks Pozner how she came to make the decision to view Noah’s body, and what tears at your soul about it is the essence of her statement — because who among us would not feel the exact same way?Veronique Pozner replied:“I owed it to him as his mother, the good, the bad, the ugly … It is not up to me to say I am only going to look at you and deal with you when you are alive, that I am going to block out the reality of what you look like when you are dead. And as a little boy, you have to go in the ground. If I am going to shut my eyes to that I am not his mother. I had to bear it. I had to do it.”Indeed, in those two exchanges, it seems the crux of the issue is clear — Veronique Pozner made the difficult choice to view Noah’s body after he had been shot 11 times at close range because she owed it to him, as his mother, to know.
Indeed. It is amazing what can happen when the public decides that enough is enough and the media has the resolve to take a much better look at the NRA lobbyists. Speaking of NRA lobbyists, Wayne LaPierre continues to insist that a universal background check will absolutely lead to a national registration and gun confiscation. From the article:Told over and over again that members of both parties were forever destined to do the National Rifle Association’s bidding, these supporters of thoroughly moderate and reasonable weapons measures never gave up and never surrendered. Their time has come.Behind the miracle, of course, lies the profound tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the loss of “26 beautiful lives,” as Lynn McDonnell, mother of 7-year-old Grace McDonnell, one of those beautiful lives, put it at a conference in Connecticut last week.But sad as it is to say, many other lives had been lost before in mass shootings, and Congress and the president just went about their business. Why was Newtown the last straw?There was, above all, the sheer horror of all those children killed. You sensed that something snapped that day in the minds of millions of Americans. At that moment, they were done with powerlessness and inertia.The change in the president’s political situation mattered, too. Unfortunately, he had been unwilling before the 2012 election to speak out boldly on guns. The Newtown killings galvanized him.The fact that he and Biden have refused to let the issue fade away has also made a difference. Once it became clear that neither they nor anyone else on the side of gun sanity would be intimidated by the NRA, the bullies were revealed for what they are and their punch was shown to be far less formidable than their threats.Suddenly, Americans in large numbers (and the media, too) started noticing how extreme, even wacky, the rhetoric of the gun manufacturers’ lobby has become. Its talk about representing the “real America” was exposed as a fraud: “Real” Americans don’t resist pragmatic solutions to the problems of mass violence.Oh, yes, and it was also finally noticed that a majority of Americans doesn’t own guns, that gun ownership has dropped over time and that this real majority does not want to be forced to live in a world in which everyone is terrorized into buying a weapon. (...)Here is where suburban Republicans will be put to the test. Already, some in their ranks, including Reps. Peter King and Michael Grimm of New York and Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, have spoken for action. The message needs to be sent from the nation’s bedroom communities: A GOP under the control of the NRA is not an acceptable option for moms and dads who want their kids protected from violence. Tax cuts don’t matter if your kids aren’t safe.It is amazing what can happen when an empty ideology is confronted by an insistent band of problem-solvers — and when political fear gives way to a fierce determination.
"Most recently, the NRA has been publicizing a memo it obtained from the Justice Department that says the success of universal background checks would depend in part on “requiring gun registration,” and says gun buybacks would not be effective “unless massive and coupled with a ban.”
Insiders at the embattled National Rifle Association say the organization is padding its claims of recent increases in membership and say more members are leaving amid criticisms over strident positions taken by controversial leader Wayne LaPierre.“In reality, our membership is probably dropping,” says one embittered NRA staffer, who asked not to be identified. “It’s hard to say because our membership department is always playing games with the numbers.”Capitol Hill Blue has received several hundred emails from persons who identify themselves as “former NRA members” who have left the organization in protests over the group’s hard-core positions following the increase in gun violence in schools.Another member who quit is Capitol Hill Blue founder and publisher Doug Thompson, who dropped his life membership in the organization and called LaPierre an “out of control egomaniac whose uncompromising positions are damaging the image of law-abiding gun owners in America.”Thompson joins former Congressman and current MSNBC talk show host Joe Scarborough in condemning LaPierre and current NRA tactics. The Capitol Hill Blue publisher served on Capitol Hill from 1981-1987 as a congressional chief of staff and committee staffer for members of Congress endorsed by NRA, including former Congressman and later interior secretary Manuel Lujan, and worked with a number of NRA lobbyists.“Unfortunately, NRA — like Congress — is controlled by extremists who answer not to ordinary Americans but to an industry that is more concerned with making money at any cost — even the lives of innocent Americans,” Thompson said. (...)ASSC operated out of Atlanta and, while claiming to be an organization of gun owners, was in fact a front for the industry. ASSC, Feldman once bragged, is “as pro-gun as our customers.”ASSC, which claimed 17,000 members, later admitted most of its membership list were gun manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers.“It’ an old trick,” Thompson said. “Set up an organization that claims to be driven by individuals but is in fact controlled by an industry. Like NRA, ASSC served business, not people.”Scarborough agrees, calling NRA a mouthpiece for a gun industry more concerned with money than safety. While serving in Congress, Scarborough received an A-plus rating from the gun organization.Scarborough calls a recent op-ed by LaPierre “racially-tinged” and faults claims made by the NRA leader of “widespread violence” in South Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy.LaPierre said crime was up after the Hurricane hit and also claimed that more guns in the hands of citizens would have prevented what he called a “hellish world” of violence.In fact, says New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne, crime went down.“It was hardly hell week,” Browne says. “There were no murders, no shootings, no rape.”Citizens of the area were even more outspoken.“He’s a f—-king idiot,” says Steven Feinstein, owner of Wilensky Hardware in Coney Island, when asked about LaPierre’s claims. “His claims were nonsense.”Capitol Hill Blue has learned that dissension is growing within NRA ranks and, as a result, public appearances by NRA leader LaPierre have been limited while the board deals with the internal dissent and member defections.A number of current and former NRA employees say claims of a 20 percent increase in membership in recent months are “patently false” and say any increase is offset by a loss of members who are unhappy with the organization.The trade organization is also spending more than it has taking in, piling up recent losses. A non-exempt tax return filed for 2010 shows the group lost $15 million that year.