The NRA has created a monster out of gun rights, and The Daily Beast explains how. Author Cliff Schechter describes how the NRA is now the lunatic fringe of the right in much the same way that the Tea Party is the lunatic fringe of the Republican party. Except these lunatic fringes have taken over, and are so loud, and so persistent, that they no longer appear to be the fringe. As far as why the NRA’s mentality is why we’re having increasing problems with massacres, that’s something Schechter explores closely.
In a nutshell, the NRA’s biggest problem is the nutcase they have for an executive vice president. Wayne LaPierre applauds people who shoot cops in pizza parlors in Las Vegas, and so-called “sovereign citizens,” who believe that the law only applies to them when they allow it to. They applaud laws like what passed in Georgia, which allow people to carry guns pretty much anywhere. Schechter describes the open-carry movement as a movement not for gun rights, but to show off their guns, and intimidate people around them. He had this quote from Wayne LaPierre himself:
[box type=”shadow”] “We know that sooner or later reckless government actions and policies have consequences, that when government corrupts the truth and breaks faith with the American people, the entire fabric of society, everything we believe in and count on, is then in jeopardy.” [/box]
Schechter says that these people have done more for sane gun laws than any gun-control advocate could have, and he’s right. He’s also right when he calls this a disease, because it is, and it’s spreading. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” has come to mean “my liberty over your life and pursuit of happiness,” for these people.
The NRA has a bad habit of saying that the only thing that will stop bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. They want teachers to be armed. They think that certain types of violence against women would stop if more women owned and carried guns. And they blast the law enforcement officers and judges who have the audacity to try and enforce the law. Violence is a growing cancer on our society that’s best viewed (and solved) from the standpoint of public health, but it’s aided and abetted by the NRA’s ridiculous rhetoric, and their absurd support of these nutty gun rights “advocates” and sovereign citizens. Schechter points this out when he says:
[box type=”shadow”] “Put simply, the NRA’s leaders have demonized anyone whose job it is to enforce our laws and protect the United States in its pamphlets, emails, speeches, TV ads, Web shows, radio programming, and anywhere else they can unleash this cancer on the American public. So is it then shocking when their more unstable allies and adherents use the same language when planning or executing the mass killing of policemen, judges or other government officials?” [/box]
We have increasing problems with the open-carry crowd, too, who take the NRA’s official words to heart when they carry their long guns into places like Home Depot, and restaurants like Chipotle, which they say is their way of protesting gun laws and advocating for even more gun “rights.” Schechter describes that movement in this way:
[box type=”shadow”] “It has nothing to do with gun rights, but a lot to do with intimidating others and making the rest of us not only accept their guns, but have as irrational an attachment to their weapons, or property if you will, as they do.’ [/box]
The latest nonsense from an open-carry group in Texas, which the NRA initially called weird, threatened to withdraw their money, and tore up their membership cards. Of course, when faced with the loss of financial support, the NRA caved, blamed a staffer for the message, and said they supported what these people stood for, according to Schechter.
The first thing we need is for the NRA to stay out of policymaking, and they need to actually do their homework before they speak. They make themselves out to be a strong representative of gun owners, and yet, they only have a few million members, compared to the tens of millions of gun owners in this country. More and more, they just represent the lunatic fringe. Even George H.W. Bush renounced his membership after realizing the monster that the NRA is, and has created.
Schechter is right; we know how to end this. Every other industrialized nation in the world has managed it. The NRA and those politicians to whom they give high marks will say that no country has ever stopped violence, so there’s no point in doing anything at all here. We won’t stop it. There is no way to actually stop 100% of it. But we can reduce it. We can mitigate it, we can save lives, if we just stop listening to their insanity, and let reason prevail.