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“The Cries Of Tyranny”: Hey, NRA And Republican Stoolies: Obama’s Not The Tyrant Here

On Tuesday, after three years of trying to convince recalcitrant Republican legislators frozen in perpetual genuflection before arms dealers to pass responsible gun-safety legislation, President Obama did the next best thing. He offered a well-thought-out, well-vetted series of executive orders to expand background checks on gun sales, clarifying who is “in the business” of selling firearms.

Additionally, these measures aim to expand research on smart-gun technology, require reporting of guns lost in transit between manufacturer and dealer, facilitate the hiring of more FBI agents to process background checks, and improve the NICS background-check system.

You know, some real Pinochet-level, authoritarian shit.

Or at least you’d think that from the reactions of Republican stoolies running for president and American Politburo members cowering in fear that the 99 percent reelection rate of their ilk might somehow forget to include them. In other words, those craving easy National Rifle Association campaign checks like a quick fix behind the Capitol and/or future shovel-ready NRA jobs and/or speaking fees for past sucking up.

Their reaction—in a degeneration of Cesare Beccaria’s theory on crime and punishment—was swift, severe…and stupefied. Sure, it’s no surprise to anyone paying even the scantest attention to politics. Even impartial and conservative observers have wondered whether this once great party can continue to operate when its leaders seem to have mass-shotgunned The Blood of Kali. But coming from these poor (mostly) white souls, the cries of tyranny when the president is doing something 90 percent of Americans (and 85 percent of gun owners) support are rich indeed.

For if you’re looking for real tyranny, look no further than the NRA. Recent weeks have made clear that as it becomes more embattled—i.e., loses—it is moving past mangled euphemisms and apocalyptic prediction to straight-up threatening and encouraging violence against opponents. Sedition, domestic terrorism, call it what you will, but a group that already was about as cuddly as the characters on Fury Road has now shifted into first. For example:

Just four days before the fifth anniversary of the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the NRA targeted a pair of Brooklyn lawmakers Monday with a menacing image of bullets next to photos of the two gun control advocates.

America’s 1st Freedom, an NRA publication, tweeted the image of state Sen. Roxanne Persaud and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, both Democrats, weeks after they announced legislation aimed at controlling the sale of ammunition.

The two lawmakers and other local supporters—including Mayor de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams—condemned what came across as a veiled threat.

Cute, right? In case you are feeling charitable, thinking those 1st Freedomers didn’t mean any harm, the NRA promoted another article—decorated with a picture of nooses—suggesting “radical” Democrats will be hanged after they start a civil war over gun rights.

I know, maybe NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre just drank a bit too much cough syrup the night before. But then why, after some faculty at Bowling Green State University chose to exercise their actual first freedom by petitioning their state representative to oppose a loony open-carry bill, did an NRA affiliate in Ohio choose to do this:

Recently, the Buckeye Firearms Association went a step further and blasted criticism at Bowling Green State University faculty members who had written to State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, asking him to not support legislation allowing concealed carry of firearms on Ohio college campuses. House Bill 48, which has since passed the House, allows hidden loaded weapons to be carried on college campuses, school safety zones, day care facilities, public areas of airport terminals, police stations, and certain government facilities…

The Buckeye Firearms Association went on to publish the names and email addresses of BGSU faculty who contacted Brown with their comments, plus a photograph of [geology professor James] Evans, who had used his private email to send his comments. The result, at least for Evans, was a rush of emails to him from the association’s members, with wording that he characterized as threatening.

Let’s not even bother with NRA board member Ted Nugent’s public threats against the president of the United States, after which the Secret Service felt it necessary to pay him a visit. And notice we haven’t even touched upon the Fabulous Bundy Boys, who’ve chosen to go through their midlife crisis not by buying a Porsche or going to a strip club but holing up in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon waving guns and crying government tyranny.

Obama has done what any human president would do, upon watching the slaughter of his country’s civilians in the real world, while Y’all Qaeda and Yokel Haram stockpile guns for the coming episode of The Running Man because they’ve run low on Olanzapine. These are background checks, plain and simple, and they still won’t go as far as needed without Congress.

Tyranny would be letting terrorists, criminals, cowardly domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill continue murdering and maiming scores of people every day because the most puerile, thick-skulled 10 percent of our society can’t understand statistics and fear the monsters on Maple Street.

 

By: Cliff Schecter, The Daily Beast, January 6, 2016

January 7, 2016 Posted by | Gun Violence, National Rifle Association, Tyranny | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Terrorist Organization”: Editor Is Fired, But Not Silenced, Over The NRA

Five days after the shootings in San Bernardino, California, Jan Larson McLaughlin sat down in her home office on her day off and wrote her weekly editorial for the Sentinel-Tribune, circulation 9,000, in Bowling Green, Ohio.

McLaughlin has worked for the newspaper for 31 years, the past 2 1/2 as editor-in-chief. She usually writes her editorial in the newsroom, but this one required special care. She was taking on the National Rifle Association, and she was doing it in Ohio.

Her editorial began: “It is time for reasonable gun owners to take back control of the association that supposedly represents them.

“We as a nation are still mourning one mass shooting when the next occurs. Yet the NRA refuses to discuss any type of gun control, any form of background checks, any type of study that might lead to some answers.

“Instead, when legislators consider measures to reduce gun deaths, the NRA and its tentacle groups assign them failing grades and label them as anti-gun.”

She then focused on the Buckeye Firearms Association for its “blasted criticism” of Bowling Green State University faculty members who had written to state Rep. Tim Brown asking that he not support legislation to allow concealed carry of firearms on Ohio college campuses. Brown voted for it.

The gun group used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the list of faculty members who had written to Brown. It published their names and email addresses, singling out geology professor James Evans for special retribution by publishing his photo, too, because he called the NRA a “terrorist organization” in his email to Brown. McLaughlin described the rush of threatening emails to Evans from members of the firearms association. (Evans confirmed this in an interview Tuesday.)

After defending the faculty members, McLaughlin ended her editorial with a plea:

“We’ve tried arming every citizen who is so inclined. It hasn’t solved the problem. So let’s look for other solutions, ones that reasonable gun owners can support. But that will mean responsible gun owners are first going to have to take back control of their national organization, which seems more concerned about the gun industry than the average gun owner.”

Early the next morning, McLaughlin sent her editorial to Publisher Karmen Concannon, whose parents own the broadsheet, which publishes Monday through Saturday. McLaughlin also sent the editorial to three of her six staff writers. This is her practice in the small newsroom so that they can catch errors and offer criticism.

McLaughlin described what happened next: That Tuesday evening, the publisher told her she had killed the editorial, with little explanation. On Wednesday, the six staff writers submitted a letter to Concannon, asking her to reconsider. She refused to read it.

The next day, McLaughlin walked into the publisher’s office, asking for an explanation, but Concannon said she didn’t owe her one.

The following Monday morning, Concannon told McLaughlin she was fired and ordered her to surrender her keys before being escorted out of the building. She was allowed to return to the newsroom that evening to empty her desk.

McLaughlin’s termination letter stated that she was fired for insubordination — for doing what she always does, which is to share her editorial with staff writers. The publisher’s explanation doesn’t pass the straight-face test, which may be why Concannon has refused multiple requests for interviews.

Hours after McLaughlin’s firing, my Gmail and Facebook inboxes began filling with messages from upset readers and fellow journalists. Many McLaughlin supporters tweeted the hashtag “istandwithjan.” Someone, she doesn’t know who, leaked the killed editorial, bringing it back to life on social media and, later, on the Toledo Blade‘s website.

You could reasonably ask, “Why should I care what happened at a small-town newspaper in Ohio?”

I suggest a different question: How often is this happening in our communities?

Earlier this month, it was great to see the front-page editorial in The New York Times under the headline “The Gun Epidemic.” Lots of policymakers surely saw it, but most Americans — most constituents — don’t read The New York Times.

Editorials such as McLaughlin’s matter because they reach the rest of America and can embolden citizens to pressure elected officials for gun law reform. Silencing the Jan Larson McLaughlins in this country emboldens only the NRA.

On Tuesday, McLaughlin was still reeling.

“I’m still kind of stunned,” she said. “I love the Sentinel-Tribune. I care about the staff. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

On Wednesday, she heard there were plans for a rally to protest her firing. Such outpouring of community support moves her. “It feels good that people recognize the value of the work of the Sentinel-Tribune.”

Still, it worries her, too. “I don’t want people to cancel their subscriptions,” she said. “Our writers make so little, and they work so hard. I don’t want them to lose their jobs.”

McLaughlin said that before she left the building, the publisher offered her a severance package.

For her 31 years of service, the paper was willing to pay Jan Larson McLaughlin $5,000 — but only if she agreed not to talk about what had happened.

To the benefit of all of us, she declined.

 

By: Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist, The National Memo, December 16, 2015

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Gun Control, Jan Larson McLaughlin, National Rifle Association, Sentinel Tribune | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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