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“The Way Of The Gun”: The National Rifle Association Deserves History’s Strongest Contempt And Damnation

It’s generally recognized that the National Rifle Association has no decency, no shame and no class. We now have proof that this obnoxious organization has no sense, either:

Colion Noir, a commentator and web series host for the National Rifle Association (NRA), warned the parents of slain journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward against becoming “so emotional” in response to the fatal shooting of their children that they channel their “grief-inspired advocacy” to the wrong effect.

The NRA and other opponents of stronger gun laws consistently argue that calls for new gun laws in the wake of a shooting tragedy are based on emotion rather than logic. Just hours after his daughter was killed, Andy Parker announced on national television that he would make it his “mission in life” to get stronger gun laws passed.

Parker’s mother, Barbara Parker, said during an interview on CNN, “We cannot be intimidated, we cannot be pushed aside, we cannot be told that this fight has been fought before and that we’re just one more grieving family trying to do something.”

On August 30, the NRA’s Noir posted a video response to the shocking August 26 murder of Parker and Ward, which happened while they were filming a live news report. The two journalists worked for Roanoke, Virginia ABC affiliate station WDBJ and were killed by a disgruntled former co-worker.

Noir, who is the face of an NRA effort to influence a younger demographic, said in his video post that while he has “no right to tell any parent how to grieve for the loss of their child,” “sometimes in a fight we can become so emotional everyone and thing starts looking like the enemy, even if they’re there to help us“…

Noir wasn’t as diplomatic throughout the rest of the video, saying at one point, “Turning this murder into a gun control dog-and-pony show minutes after the shooting because you can’t make sense of what just happened is ridiculous.

Sick.

In the days before the GOP lost all vestiges of integrity, some Republicans would have pushed back against this sort of rancid rhetoric. It was only two decades ago that former President George H. W. Bush walked away from the NRA after the group demonized federal agents:

Former President George Bush has quit the National Rifle Assn. to protest a fund-raising letter sent out by the organization that labeled federal agents as “jackbooted thugs” and could roil the waters of the Republican presidential race.

Bush described himself as “outraged” by the organization’s failure to repudiate the letter, which points up the NRA’s vulnerability in the wake of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. In a letter to NRA President Thomas Washington dated May 3 and made available by his office in Houston, the former GOP chief executive added: “To attack Secret Service agents or ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) people or any government law enforcement people as ‘wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms’ wanting to ‘attack law-abiding citizens’ is a vicious slander on good people.”

Bush was particularly irate because Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, defended the attack contained in the letter even after the Oklahoma City bombing. Asked if his language was excessive in view of the tragedy, LaPierre said: “That’s like saying the weather report in Florida on the hurricane caused the damage rather than the hurricane.”

These days, you’d probably find a Republican willing to defend Planned Parenthood before you’d find a Republican willing to condemn the NRA for this sleazy rhetorical assault on the Parker family. I guess it’s up to the rest of us to declare that the National Rifle Association deserves history’s strongest contempt and damnation.

 

By: D. R. Tucker, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, September 5, 2015

September 7, 2015 Posted by | Gun Control, Gun Violence, National Rifle Association | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“If Sandy Hook Is ‘Bearable’, What Is Not?”: Congress Trembling To The Call Of The NRA

You frequently find fortune cookie aphorisms, yes, but it’s not often that you find searing insight within Twitter’s 140-character confines. Which is why a June tweet from one Dan Hodges — his profile describes him as a British political commentator — stood out.

“In retrospect,” wrote Hodges, “Sandy Hook marked the end of the U.S. gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

You may cringe to hear the nation’s response to the December 2012 massacre of 20 young children — six adults also died — at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, described in that fashion, but you can’t deny the brutal truth of the observation.

After Sandy Hook, President Obama called for new legislative initiatives, saying, “Surely we can do better than this.” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said, “We need action.” Rep. John Larson said, “Politics be damned.” Parents of one victim walked the halls of Congress carrying pictures of their dead son and beseeching lawmakers to look, even as polls showed nearly 60 percent of Americans wanted stronger gun laws.

And nothing happened. In deciding between its children and its guns, America had decided the loss of the former was, in Hodges’ chilling word, “bearable.”

The memory of it haunts a Sunday interview CNN did with Andy Parker, the father of Roanoke, Virginia, TV reporter Alison Parker, who was murdered live on camera last week by a hateful and deranged man named Vester Flanagan. In vowing to commit his life to achieving sensible gun control, Parker said a number of striking things.

“I’m telling you,” he said, “they messed with the wrong family.”

“I’m going to be working on this for a long time,” he said. “I know that this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

He acknowledged that we have seen many “tipping points” where guns are concerned: the shooting of a congresswoman and her constituents at a supermarket, a mass murder at a movie theater, the Christmas season butchery of schoolchildren in Newtown. “But,” he said, sounding like nothing so much as a father who very much loved his daughter, “I think people recognizing who the victim was and what she represented and how kind and sweet and innocent she was, I think this time it’s going to be different.”

It’s always going to be different. But it never is.

With all due deference to a father’s incalculable sorrow, the likeliest outcome here is that the murder of Alison Parker and her colleague Adam Ward and the wounding of local official Vicki Gardner will join the long line of tipping points that didn’t tip and turning points that didn’t turn. Which is why Parker’s words inspire no great hope, but only break your heart.

The sad thing is, there is no — repeat: no — inherent or insoluble conflict between the desire of some of us to have access to guns for sport and self-defense and the desire of others of us to keep dangerous people from possessing those weapons. Decent, moderate people, working from both sides of the question, could probably hammer out ideas to safeguard both imperatives in an afternoon.

Problem is, gun owners’ interests are represented not by decent, moderate people, but by the NRA, an extremist gang for whom even the most modest regulation is a brick in the road to tyranny. So long as the NRA has such an outsized voice in this debate, so long as politicians, unencumbered by conscience or vertebrae, tremble to its call, and so long as many of us are silent and supine in the face of that obscenity, Hodges is correct. And we are doomed to a future of frequent, predictable and preventable tragedies some of us will mistake for freedom.

It makes you wonder. If that kind of thing is really “bearable” then what, pray tell, is not?

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo

September 3, 2015 Posted by | Gun Control, Gun Violence, National Rifle Association | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I’m More Scared Of Criminals Than I Am Of Guns”: For Policymakers To Address A Problem, They Must First Understand The Problem

In the wake of this week’s shooting in Virginia of two journalists, President Obama mentioned in an interview, “What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism.” As a simple matter of arithmetic, Obama’s assessment is plainly true.

But Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie wasn’t impressed with the factual observation. “I don’t know that anybody in America believes that they feel more threatened by this than they feel a threat by ISIS or by other terrorist groups around the world,” the New Jersey governor said on Fox News.

It’s a curious approach to the debate. For Christie, the president may be right, but the facts don’t “feel” true. The governor doesn’t know anyone who actually believes the truth – statistically speaking, reality tells us Americans really are more threatened by gun violence than international terrorism – and as such, the facts are somehow less important than the perception.

But this was the line that really stood out for me.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) said Thursday that enforcing existing gun laws should take precedence over new legislation, a day after the deadly shooting of two journalists during a live broadcast.

“I’ll tell you what I am more scared of, I’m more scared of criminals than I am of guns,” the 2016 presidential contender said during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

That seems like a line that would score well with focus groups, but it doesn’t mean much.

Vox had an interesting report yesterday that pointed to an under-appreciated dynamic: “America doesn’t have more crime than other rich countries. It just has more guns.”

Wednesday’s Virginia shooting, like so many shootings before it, seems likely to raise a debate we’ve had many times before: Why does the US have such a high rate of gun murders, by far the highest in the developed world? Is it because of guns, or is there something else going on? Maybe America is just more prone to crime, say, because of income inequality or cultural differences?

A landmark 1999 study actually tried to answer this question. Its findings – which scholars say still hold up – are that America doesn’t really have a significantly higher rate of crime compared to similar countries. But that crime is much likelier to be lethal: American criminals just kill more people than do their counterparts in other developed countries. And guns appear to be a big part of what makes this difference.

Christie’s argument seems to be that criminals are the real problem – they’re the societal factor the governor is “scared of.”

But the available data tells us that the United States has so many gun deaths, not because we have more criminals, but because we have more firearms.

In order for policymakers to address a problem, they must first try to understand the problem.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, August 28, 2015

August 31, 2015 Posted by | Chris Christie, Gun Deaths, Gun Violence | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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