Courtesy John Doherty
"In response to the NRA's suggestion that 'the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun:' Can't wait for the NRA's new anti-rape campaign where everyone gets a penis." ~ Erin Gloria Ryan
I didn’t catch the now-infamous National Rifle Association (NRA) press conference live yesterday, but the many derogatory posts that clogged my Facebook news feed later in the afternoon spurred me to google the video and transcript.
I was genuinely surprised.
Because after the indescribable tragedy a week ago inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut – when 20-year-old deranged prick Adam Lanza pointed his Bushmaster AR-15 at the heads of 20 terrified little first-graders and pulled the trigger – I expected that even the most fervent pro-gun zealots would see the need to modify their combative, over-the-top tactics. And when the pro-gun lobby remained wonderfully silent in the initial days after the evil of December 14, I thought it might have actually seen the light and done just that.
Sadly, I was wrong.
Before NRA president Dave Keene introduced Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre (who, as I've written before, is lucky that he’s probably packing heat at all times because I’d really like to rearrange the guy’s face), he declared glibly that no one from his organization would be taking any questions until next week because this was just the beginning of “important dialogue.” Then Insane Dwayne took the stage and things...um, let’s just say “eroded.”
To be honest, I was a bit concerned about the possible link between video games and real life violence – my 11-year-old spends a fair amount of time in his room playing Call of Duty on his Xbox and Grand Theft Auto on his iPhone – until I heard some expert from academia on the car radio yesterday assure us that any link between the two is weak at best.
We could lock Gandhi in a room and force him to play Call of Duty for three days, the professor said, and he’s not going to come out and shoot up a school full of six- and seven-year-olds. A person who’s been diagnosed with a mental illness and has anger management issues and a history of violent behavior, on the other hand, would make the professor nervous. There are many factors that contribute to someone’s decision to slaughter innocent people. Although Lanza was known to play violent video games in his basement for hours, his fondness for Dynasty Warriors and Call of Duty isn't why he massacred 27 human beings, including his own gun-loving mother.
So now I’m convinced that just because my sweet, sensitive, loving son likes to blow the heads off of charging zombies and spray automatic gunfire indiscriminately throughout airports occupied by foreign soldiers when he gets off the school bus instead of doing his homework, that doesn't mean he’s a bad seed.
Other pearls from Insane Wayne:
* "A child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18."
* "Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws and fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away."
* "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
Unsurprisingly, LaPierre also slammed the POTUS, pointing out that “this president zeroed out school emergency planning grants in last year's budget, and scrapped ‘Secure Our Schools’ policing grants in next year's budget.”
Yeah, Wayne, Barack Obama deserves more blame for Newtown than the NRA.
Insane Wayne also asked why we can’t afford to put an armed cop in every school in this country (after all, the federal budget is big and we do give money to other countries) and wondered when the word “gun” became a bad word?
Oh, I don’t know, Wayne. Maybe it was when people learned that the homicide rate by firearms is 200 percent higher in the United States than in Canada and several hundred percent higher than in other “advanced” countries like England, France and Japan that have stronger gun control laws. Maybe it was when enough people heard that four people are killed by firearms every hour in America. It might have been as recently as yesterday morning when it was reported that shooting deaths in the U.S. just since Sandy Hook have topped 100.
When LaPierre called on Congress to “act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school...,” I was so irked that I slammed my left hand on the coffee table and broke a nail.
Why is this guy authorized to call on Congress anyway? NRA membership is no more than four million. Last time I checked there were 311,591,917 men, women and children in the United States. The calls of the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to gun violence ought to trump the calls of one sleazy, immoral lobbyist and his knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, poorly-endowed constituency.
(I couldn't find a definitive number of annual gun deaths in the U.S. One source asserted that over 32,000 deaths are caused by firearms each year; another claimed an average of just 10,987 deaths are related to guns. In this country, anything over 10 is an abomination if you ask me.)
I was amused by the fact that the “press conference” was interrupted not once but twice by loud protesters. The first guy loudly claimed that the NRA had “blood on its hands.” After the second protester, a woman who demanded that assault weapons be banned now, was forcibly removed, LaPierre was asked, “What's your reaction to this?” Shockingly, he ignored the question.
Insane Wayne also announced that the NRA was launching a "National School Shield" training program – to be headed by former congressman, Drug Enforcement Agency administrator and all-around dweeb Asa Hutchinson (R-Arkansas) – to help schools train security personnel and develop security plans. I've been around long enough to know that the person with the checkbook determines the content of any endeavor. If this “National School Shield” doesn't have a pro-gun slant, I’ll eat my hat and yours.
I’m afraid nothing will change in my lifetime. Although I’m encouraged by small victories – including the defeat of an NRA-backed amendment in Congress yesterday that would have prevented military commanders from counseling soldiers with mental health issues about the risks of firearms in the home – I can’t stop focusing on how rich white men hold press conferences in our nation’s capital to justify little girls and boys getting gunned down in their elementary school classrooms.
This blog post is dedicated to the memory of:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hocksprung, 47
Madeline Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Russeau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
For further reading:
“The Most Revolting Press Conference in History”
“Gun Control Fights Won’t Solve the Real Issue”
“The Ten Craziest Quotes from the NRA Press Conference”
“What Are the Odds of Gun Control Changes?”
“Shootings Costing U.S. $174 Billion Show Burden of Gun Violence”
“Don't Trust the Research Saying Video Games Cause Real-World Aggression”
“Guns in America, a Statistical Look”
“The solution to gun violence is clear”
Sources: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Time.com, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Census Bureau.