Posts Tagged National Rifle Association
MAY 3, 2013
N.R.A. LEADER WARNS OF RISING COST OF SENATORS
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
HOUSTON (The Borowitz Report)—National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre used his opening speech at the N.R.A.’s national convention today to highlight several challenges facing the organization, including what he called “the rising cost of Senators.”
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen the price of purchasing a Senator surge astronomically,” he told the N.R.A. faithful. “Unless something is done to make Senators more affordable, the ability of a tiny lobbying group to overrule the wishes of ninety per cent of the American people will be in jeopardy.”
The days are over, he said, when “you could buy a Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for little more than pocket change.”
“Now it costs thousands to purchase a marginally effective Senator like Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.),” he said.
Mr. LaPierre was followed at the podium by the former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the rock musician Ted Nugent, and several other people who would not pass background checks.
- N.R.A. Leader Warns of Rising Cost of Senators (newyorker.com)
- NRA Defends Purchase of Former Congressman (aapd0418.com)
- Scalia Never Going to Another N.B.A. Game (aapd0418.com)
- N.R.A. Defends Purchase of Former Congressman (newyorker.com)
- Andy Borowitz Lampoons Icons From Beyonce to Blankfein – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Taking Note: New N.R.A. President Jim Porter (takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com)
- At NRA meeting, Cruz goes after Obama gun agenda (usatoday.com)
- Energized by Senate votes, pro-gun groups fight on (cbsnews.com)
- N.R.A. Can’t Believe How Well National Conversation About Guns Is Going (newyorker.com)
- Courageous Senators Stand Up to American People (readersupportednews.org)
The end of majority rule?
The National Rifle Association is facing attacks from Gun Owners of America for being too soft on gun control. This is like a double cheeseburger coming under severe criticism for lacking enough cholesterol.
Universal background checks are supported by 91 percent of Americans. Yet there is enormous resistance in Congress to passing a strong bill to keep arms out of the wrong hands. What does “rule of the people” mean if a 9-to-1 issue is having so much trouble gaining traction?
Or consider the Morning Joe/Marist polllast week showing 64 percent of Americans saying that job creation should be the top priority for elected officials. Only 33 percent said their focus should be on reducing the deficit. In light of Friday’s disappointing jobs report, the public’s instinct is sound. Yet politicians in our nation’s capital are so obsessed with the deficit you’d imagine they still haven’t heard how many Americans are unemployed or underemployed.
These three non-randomly selected facts illustrate a deep structural tilt in our politics to the right. This distortion explains why election outcomes and the public’s preferences have so little impact on what is happening in Washington. At the moment, our democracy is not very democratic.
Start with the weirdness within the gun lobby. Once upon a time, the NRA supported background checks for gun buyers, and why not? Polls show that gun owners overwhelmingly support background checks, too.
But the political far right is, among other things, a big business. The NRA’s chief concern is not sane public policy. Its imperative is to maintain market share within a segment of our country that views the federal government as a conspiracy against its liberties and President Obama as an alien force imposed upon them by voters who aren’t part of “the real America.” Within this market niche, background checks are but a first step toward gun confiscation.
In a well-functioning democracy, the vast majority of politicians — conservative, moderate and liberal — would dismiss such views as just plain kooky. But here is the problem: A substantial portion of the Republican Party’s core electorate is now influenced both by hatred of Obama and by the views of the ultra-right. Strange conspiracy theories are admitted to the mainstream conversation through the GOP’s back door — and amplified by another fight for market share among talk radio hosts and Fox News commentators.
That’s because the Republican Party is no longer a broad and diverse alliance but a creature of the right. According to a March Washington Post/ABC News poll, 65 percent of Republicans called themselves conservative, just 27 percent were moderates and 7 percent were liberals. Democrats, by contrast, are far more middle of the road: 43 percent called themselves liberal, 38 percent moderate and 16 percent conservative. Among independents, moderates predominated at 46 percent.
Practical Democratic politicians thus need to worry about the political center. Practical Republican politicians, especially those in gerrymandered House districts where primaries are all that matter, will worry almost entirely about an increasingly radicalized right.
And our Constitution combines with the way we draw congressional districts to overrepresent conservatives in both houses. The 100-member Senate is based on two senators per state regardless of size. This gives rural states far more power than population-based representation would. The filibuster makes matters worse. It’s theoretically possible for 41 senators representing less than 11 percent of the population to block pretty much anything.
In the House, those gerrymanders helped Republicans keep control even though more Americans voted for Democrats in the 2012 congressional races.
This representational skew affects coverage in the media. Most Americans may care more about jobs than deficits. But if a right-tilted power structure is talking about deficits all the time, members of the media feel obligated to cover the argument they hear in Washington, even if that means downplaying views held by a majority of the voters — and even if the economic data say we should be talking about growth, not austerity.
There’s also this: While background checks probably would pass the Senate with relative ease if there were no filibuster, the media cover a world in which 60 votes is the new 51. Thus do the battles for 60 percent of the Senate, not the views of 91 percent of Americans, dominate journalistic accounts.
There is no immediate solution to the obstruction of the democratic will. But we need to acknowledge that our system is giving extremists far more influence than the voters would. That’s why American democracy is deadlocked.
- E.J. Dionne Jr.: Have voters in America embraced the end of majority rule? (sacbee.com)
- The end of majority rule on gun control?: E.J. Dionne Jr. (oregonlive.com)
- Dionne: The end of majority rule? (wickedlocal.com)
- Dionne: The end of majority rule? (metrowestdailynews.com)
- E.J. Dionne: Sane gun laws are coming (goerie.com)
- E.J. Dionne: Should only rich influence politics? (goerie.com)
- Will the GOP submit to the NRA and block background checks?: E.J. Dionne Jr. (oregonlive.com)
- Week In Politics: Jobs Numbers, President Obama’s Budget (npr.org)
- The case for using (and reforming) the political contributions system: E.J. Dionne Jr. (oregonlive.com)
- “The End Of Majority Rule?”: Giving Extremists Far More Influence, Our Democracy At The Moment Is Not Very Democratic (mykeystrokes.com)
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: We’d All Be Packing Heat If the NRA Had Its Way
Even life and death are measured by profit margins, so the organization’s cure for gun violence shouldn’t surprise.
January 4, 2013
We wrote and spoke about guns just a few days before Christmas, following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. So did Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association. His now infamous, “no questions” press conference was the most stunning, cockeyed one-man show since Clint Eastwood addressed that empty chair at the Republican National Convention.“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he pronounced.
LaPierre might well have plagiarized his vision of a wholly armed nation from another “man of the people” of 40 years ago, the protagonist in the famous sit-com “All in the Family.” On a 1972 episode, when a local TV station comes out in favor of gun control, Archie Bunker hits the airwaves with an editorial rebuttal:
Good evening, everybody. This here is Archie Bunker of 704 Hauser Street, veteran of the big war, speaking on behalf of guns for everybody. Now, question: what was the first thing that the Communists done when they took over Russia? Answer: gun control. And there’s a lot of people in this country want to do the same thing to us here in a kind of conspiracy, see. You take your big international bankers, they want to — whaddya call — masticate the people of this here nation like puppets on the wing, and then when they get their guns, turn us over to the Commies … Now I want to talk about another thing that’s on everybody’s minds today, and that’s your stick-ups and your skyjackings, and which, if that were up to me, I could end the skyjackings tomorrow … All you gotta do is arm all your passengers. He ain’t got no more moral superiority there, and he ain’t gonna dare to pull out no rod. And then your airlines, they wouldn’t have to search the passengers on the ground no more, they just pass out the pistols at the beginning of the trip, and they just pick them up at the end! Case closed.
Case closed. Except that Archie Bunker’s a fictional character created by Norman Lear, who knew better. Not Wayne LaPierre — he’s real and he means business. Big business.
Every time we have another of these mass slayings and speak of gun control, weapon sales go up. And guess what? As journalist Lee Fang reports in The Nation, “For every gun or package of ammunition sold at participating stores, a dollar is donated to the NRA.” Customers can make a contribution at the point of purchase or the gun companies make an automatic donation every time the cash register rings. Last year, just one of those merchants of death, Midway USA, used one of these NRA programs to give the gun lobby a million dollars.
So naturally, in a country where even life and death are measured by the profit margin, the cure for gun violence is, yes, more guns! Bigger profits. Never mind that just before LaPierre spoke, three were shot and killed outside Altoona, Pennsylvania. Or that early on Christmas Eve morning, in Webster, New York, two volunteer firemen were called to the scene of a fire, then executed by an ex-con who allegedly set the blaze and murdered them with the same kind of assault rifle used against those school kids and their teachers in Newtown. Or that on New Year’s Eve, in Sacramento, California, reportedly in a fight over a spilled drink, a 22-year-old opened fire in a bar, killing two and wounding two others. In fact, according to Slate.com and the Twitter feed @GunDeaths, at this writing, in just those few weeks since the Newtown slaughter of the innocent, more than 400 have died from guns in America. That should boost the last quarter profit margins. Not surprising, the merchants of death are experiencing a Happy New Year.
We have to keep talking about this, because Wayne LaPierre and the NRA will keep talking and they are insidious and powerful predators. Have you seen the reports in both the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Washington Post of how, 16 years ago, the NRA managed to get Congress to pull funding on gun violence studies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Since then, JAMA reports, “at least 427,000 people have died of gunshot wounds in the United States, including more than 165,000 who were victims of homicide. To put these numbers in context, during the same time period, 4,586 Americans lost their lives in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Last year, Congress stopped the National Institutes of Health from spending any money that might be construed as advocating or promoting gun control. There’s even a section that was snuck into President Obama’s Affordable Care Act that prevents doctors from collecting information on their patients’ gun use. Denise Dowd, an emergency-care physician in Kansas City and adviser on firearms issues to the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the Post, “This illustrates the fact that the NRA has insinuated themselves into the small crevices of anything they can to do anything in their power to prohibit sensible gun-safety measures.”
As Wayne LaPierre’s brazen call for an armed populace makes clear, the odds don’t favor common sense. Several members of the new Congress are reintroducing bills that would change the gun laws and USA Today reports that the White House is “likely” to issue its recommendations January 15, but there are always those legislators willing to do the gun lobby’s bidding as they profess their love of the Second Amendment and wait like hungry house pets for the next NRA campaign donation.
Every American packing heat is a frightening vision of our future. It doesn’t have to be, if only we stop and think. That’s what a fellow named Frank James did. He stopped, thought — and changed directions. A pawn shop owner in Seminole, Florida, whose youngest child is six, Frank James told a local ABC station he has decided to stop selling guns.
“It’ll probably cause my business to go out of business because it was a big part of it, but I just couldn’t live with myself,” he said.” I thought, wow, this is crazy. As a gun dealer myself, I’m like, yes, we need more gun control. Guns are getting into the wrong hands of the wrong people.” He also said, “I’m not going to be a part of it anymore. Conscience wins over making money.”
Thank you, Mr. James.
- “NRA’s Vision: A Nation Packing Heat,” Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, January 5, 2013, Moyers & Company (themoderatevoice.com)
- We’d all be packing heat if the NRA had its way (salon.com)
- Bill Moyers: We’d All Be Packing Heat If the NRA Had Its Way (alternet.org)
- The Madness of the NRA (consortiumnews.com)
- Bill Moyers: WATCH: The Gun Lobby’s Firepower (huffingtonpost.com)
- The NRA’s ‘Bunker mentality’ (blogforarizona.com)
- Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: We’d All Be Packing Heat If the NRA Had Its Way (alternet.org)
- NRA’s Vision: A Nation Packing Heat (proglib.newsvine.com)
- We’d All Be Packing Heat If the NRA Had Its Way (alternet.org)
- Moyers: More than 400 dead in gun violence since Newtown massacre (rawstory.com)
The philosophy behind the quackery known as homeopathic medicine is that “like cures like.” As in: have a burn, apply a hot compress. This widely-panned pseudoscience (oh man, am I going to get letters) in its 300 years of existence has a history of being debunked, going away and then popping up a few decades later.
Adam Zyglis / Buffalo News
But this is the solution the NRA offers: Too many shootings requires more people armed and able to shoot. The problem AND the cure are basically the same: lots of guns.
On the other side is a call for ban of certain types of guns. This immediately gets into the weeds of “weapon-ese.” Semi-auto? Assault weapons? Machine guns? Military-style characteristics? High capacity magazines? Bayonet mount? Flash suppressors?!
Which if you don’t really care about guns (just care about being shot) is a booby trap set by gun enthusiasts. Because if you don’t know what semi-auto actually means (it’s a ridiculously broad term) — they can always tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Which is true. Then the much-coveted conversation about guns in America is over.
Because in America you can’t hate guns. That’s not a legitimate stance. You have to love guns, possibly own a couple and be able to talk about them competently in order to have a seat at the table. Mitt Romney had to say he hunted “varmints.” Really.
The problem with the assault weapons ban is that it’s something. It’s something for a nation, in the wake of Sandy Hook, crying out for some kind of SOMETHING. Anything but the bogus and tone-deaf prescription for more weapons on the streets made by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.
There’s a perfectly understandable cry for more gun control, which the assault weapons ban claims to be. It bans certain types of purchases on future weapons but it’s not (in reality) a good law. It won’t actually (as gun enthusiasts love to point out) affect gun deaths. Most gun deaths are by handguns. It’s the legislative equivalent of banning large bags of candy to curb obesity, when the real issue is the wide availability of said candy.
Gun lovers gleefully pointed out last week that Chicago, with its assault weapons ban, police-issued Firearms Owners Identification Card mandate and its refusal to issue open carry permits plus its ties to President Obama, had their 500th homicide of 2012. If we cherry pick this information (disregarding the fact Louisiana and Mississippi with their lax gun laws actually consistently lead the nation in murders per capita) it appears gun control is futile.
Recently the Chicago Police Department requested the University of Chicago Crime Lab researchers study the guns used in crimes. In a groundbreaking report they found those guns were bought legally and locally in Cook County (where Chicago is located). Even more specifically from Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale. The Sun-Times reported, “From 2008 to March 2012, the police successfully traced the ownership of 1,375 guns recovered in crimes in Chicago within a year of their purchase.” They continued, “Of those guns, 268 were bought at Chuck’s — nearly one in five.”
“How do the guns get on the street?,” the study asks. Straw purchasers. People without a record legally buying a weapon and then selling it. Which is outrageous and illegal. But the ATF — the law enforcement organization that would crack down on these sales — the Sun-Times points out, has been largely budget-cut out of business and doesn’t have the resources to track it or prosecute those crimes. It’s an agency that hasn’t had a full-time director in six years thanks to Congress insisting it requires a Senate confirmation. In short: In Cook County, Illinois (as with the rest of the country) it’s easy to get a gun and easy to sell a gun.
This leads me to one plea: If we get one bite at the proverbial gun safety apple, don’t make it the largely cosmetic assault weapons ban.
Federalize background checks, waiting periods and databases. Close the secondary market loopholes. These are things even card carrying NRA members agree with. Slow the flood of guns. But most importantly give the agency responsible for enforcing those laws a director and funding.
Then we can all learn weapon-ese and it’s not completely useless.
- The Assault Weapons Ban is a Red Herring (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
- You Can’t Be Serious: Ex-NRA Leader Compares Assault Weapons Ban To Racial Discrimination!?!? [Video] (bossip.com)
- 500 Murders In Chicago Show Gun Bans Don’t Work (infiniteunknown.net)
- Former NRA President: Banning Assault Weapons Is Like Banning People Of Color (thinkprogress.org)
- The Assault Weapons Ban is a Red Herring (ukprogressive.co.uk)
- Illinois Ban On Assault Weapons Advances (chicagoist.com)
- Why We’re Still At Least Two Years Away from an Assault Weapons Ban (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- Senate panel approves bans on assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines (blogs.suntimes.com)
- White House squares up for fight with NRA over sweeping gun reforms (guardian.co.uk)
- Obama to weigh gun limits (charlotteobserver.com)
Barbara Boxer Triggers Outrage Over Proposal to Deploy National Guard in Public Schools
Critics on the left and right are speaking out.
December 26, 2012
Days after California’s liberal Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer gave an impassioned floor speech saying that big steps must be taken to stop gun violence that is killing 87 people a day across America, she proposed a bill to give governors power to deploy National Guard troops in public schools—or assign them to local police departments, freeing them to put police in schools.
“Is it not part of the national defense to make sure that your children are safe?” Boxer said at a press conference, where she unveiled the Save Our Schools Act. “The slaughter of the innocents must stop….”
“Of all the bad ideas I’ve heard in the aftermath of the Newtown murders, the worst comes from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, who wants to provide federal funds for states to send the National Guard into schools,” wrote the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Chapman:
“She quotes the Guard as saying it is ‘particularly well suited for domestic law enforcement support missions’ since it is ‘located in over 3,000 local communities.’ Putting Guard troops in each (or many) of them is about as sensible as putting them in every movie theater and shopping mall. It will cost money and divert the Guard from its customary purposes, requiring either an increase in its size or the sacrifice of other needs. Not to mention that school, statistically, is a very safe place for a child to be.”
No shortage of liberal writers noted that there was an armed guard at the Columbine, Colorado, high school where 15 students were killed in 1999.
Chapman’s response is part of a growing stream of criticism from the political left and right in the five days since the idea was introduced. But beyond the almost visceral reactions that sending armed officers into schools is inappropriate, or won’t work against assailants armed with military-level weaponry, or is federal overreach, there is a deeper danger.
Every time progressives have ceded some ground in the gun-control debate, the pro-gun right has used their pronouncements to move the center of the gun-control debate onto their side of the aisle.
A generation ago, liberal scholars looked at the history of the Second Amendment and concluded that the Constitution’s framers wanted an armed citizenry—as did Congress after the Civil War so ex-slaves could protect themselves. That uneasy finding gave the Right new momentum to legally fight and overturn gun laws, according to the very right-wing lawyers who triumphed in federal court.
Fast-forward to today: The NRA’s proposal to train and arm teachers in response to the Newtown grade school massacre has been widely ridiculed, yet on the same day one of the most liberal U.S. senators proposed a remedy not all that different, as it places people with arms in schools.
To be fair, Boxer called for other gun reforms right after the shooting, such as “taking the weapons of war and high-capacity clips off our streets,” ensuring local police are more involved in issuing gun permits, closing the gun-show loophole, and “keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.” Boxer closed by saying, “We need to keep our schools safe by utilizing all of the law enforcement tools at our disposal. We have failed our children and we have to stop worrying about our political skins.”
She then introduced the Save Our Schools Act, which would allow governors to deploy state National Guard troops in communities—whether to augment local police—or directly into public schools.
The reaction across the political spectrum has been varied but equally sharp. On the political right, the libertarian pro-gun crowd has said that Boxer’s proposal is an example of the worst kind of federal overeach, because further militarization of local police is what prompted the framers to write the Second Amendment.
“If you’ve been decrying the militarization of law enforcement, hold onto your hats boys and girls—because crap just got real,” wrote the pro-gun blog, UnitedLiberty.org.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Boxer’s idea is that it lends credibility to the notion that a more widely armed society is more immune to wanton gun violence.
A generation ago, a handful of liberal constitutional laws scholars wrote detailed and compelling analyses of the Second Amendment’s roots. The University of Texas’ Sanford Levinson’s readable history, The Embarassing Second Amendment, and more recent work by Yale Law School’s Akhil Reed Amar, reluctantly conclude that the U.S. Constitution’s framers, Congress and many states since then want “strong” gun rights.
The New York Times’ legal reporter Adam Liptak wrote in 2007 how these scholars and other liberals gave new intellectual ammunition to the pro-gun lobby to legally challenge and overturn local gun-control laws. He quoted pro-gun lawyers as crediting the liberal scholars’ more open-minded assessment with boosting their arguments in federal court.
It may be that Sen. Boxer is well aware of this legal history and knows that any new or overly broad gun-control laws will be struck down: i.e., the Second Amendment clearly empowers citizen militias, which implies having military-level weapons available to the public. And so, against the backdrop of an increasingly armed America, the solution that surfaces is placing deterrent force in public schools.
But by proposing this remedy on the same day the NRA proposed arming teachers, Boxer is lending credence to the NRA perspective that the only solution to gun violence is more guns. Progressives would like to believe that civilization is making forward progress beyond the need to have guns at the ready for every nightmare scenario. After all, it’s conservatives who take a dimmer view of human nature and dwell on evil.
- Barbara Boxer Triggers Outrage Over Proposal to Deploy National Guard in Public Schools (alternet.org)
- Where Boxer and the NRA embrace (sfgate.com)
- Let’s Not Militarize Elementary Schools (patheos.com)
- Scratch a “Liberal,” find a Fascist: The Case of Barbara Boxer (flyoverpress.wordpress.com)
- Is THIS What Barbara Boxer Wants? (neverending1.wordpress.com)
- Scratch a “Liberal,” find a Fascist: The Case of Barbara Boxer (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Idiot Liberals (brainiac-conspiracy.typepad.com)
- Scratch a ‘Liberal,’ Find a Fascist (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- NRA calls for armed guards in schools, causing outbreak of Selective Outrage Syndrome among Liberals (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)
- NRA finds few friends on Hill (politico.com)
Hey, liberals: Ignore the NRA for now
Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on December 21, 2012
Greg Sargent really nailed it today with respect to today’s NRA press statement:
Keep in mind that all of this is deliberately designed to serve an overarching strategic goal — distraction. The NRA absolutely must keep the focus off of the problem of easy gun availability, and what can be done about it, for as long as possible.
The media narrative the NRA hopes for out of this presser is twofold: NRA criticizes media for maligning gun owners; and NRA calls for armed security guards in schools. This is standard obfuscation from the NRA, which always tries to distract from the discussion about the need for reform by characterizing the push for it as driven by elite cultural disdain for gun culture and ordinary gun owners. And focusing only on schools is about diverting the conversation away from the broader epidemic of gun violence.
That’s exactly right. And the best response from those who want new restrictions on guns isn’t to fight back against the NRA “proposal” for cops in schools; it’s to ignore it, and keep the focus on developing serious legislation.
The other thing to remember about the NRA and its president, Wayne LaPierre, is that (as David S. Bernstein has pointed out) they’re not only advocates for the gun industry but also competitors in the conservative marketplace. In that respect, saying outrageous things and getting a reaction from liberals helps them generate revenue, whether or not it helps their legislative strategy. It’s not exactly the case that liberals could make the NRA a fringe group by treating it as one, but it’s probably true that treating it as a major factor helps make it more so.
Besides that: If any bill is going to pass, it’s going to need House Republicans. It’s possible, if unlikely, that enough constituent pressure could push them to choose modest new measures over not passing that legislation.But if the Republicans are forced to choose between liberal Democrats and the NRA, they’re going to choose the NRA, no matter what the public opinion polls say.
Of course, those who favor new measures against guns and gun violence will have to engage other arguments at times. But Greg’s right — it’s one thing to engage serious arguments and another to fall for bait just meant to distract everyone. The best strategy for liberals — and anyone else who wants to get something signed into law — is to just ignore the NRA for now.
- Joe Scarborough, Newtown and the NRA (americantitanic.wordpress.com)
- New York City’s Tabloids Take On The NRA (buzzfeed.com)
- David Gregory Shocked By NRA’s LaPierre: You Fly In The Face Of Common Sense (thinkprogress.org)
- NRA finds few friends on Hill (politico.com)
- NRA doubles down: New gun laws won’t work (edition.cnn.com)
- NRA makes school guns call on American television (itv.com)
- Video: Gun control advocate and NRA member speaks out on defiant NRA (cbsnews.com)
- Amid calls for new restrictions on guns, NRA stands firm (kansascity.com)
- NRA’s statement on the Newtown shootings: the conservative reaction (guardian.co.uk)
- Michelle Malkin Responds to Left-Wing Gun Backlash: ‘NRA Has Been Demonized by Crazed, Anti-Gun, Liberal Media’ (foxnewsinsider.com)
The NRA’s insane idea about more guns in schools
Posted by Eugene Robinson on December 21, 2012
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Absurd, unbelievable, tragic, obscene — I grope for words to describe the National Rifle Association’s proposal for how the nation should respond to last week’s slaughter in Newtown: More guns in the schools.
The idea is so insane that as far as I’m concerned — and, I hope, as far as a still-grieving nation is concerned — the NRA has forfeited the right to be taken seriously on matters of public policy. Newtown is still burying six-year-olds and Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s chief, wants more freaking guns in the schools. Wow.
LaPierre’s rationale, that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” led to his suggestion that there be “armed police officers in every school in this nation.”
Where to begin? Let’s assume, for the moment, that we decide to pay the multi-billion-dollar cost of placing one gun-toting officer in every school. What would the officer’s orders be? Shoot anyone who looks suspicious? If not, the officer would wait until an assailant — someone like Adam Lanza — displayed a gun or started firing. What sort of arsenal, and itchy trigger finger, would the officer need to be certain of shooting the assailant before the assailant shot the officer? How many twitchy, furtive, suspicious-looking UPS deliverymen would be tragically cut down in error?
So I guess there could be multiple officers in each school. For a glimpse of that dystopian future, recall the shooting a few months ago outside the Empire State Building. A gunman began firing, uniformed NYPD officers responded, they tried to take the gunman down — and nine innocent bystanders were wounded, all by police gunfire. Now imagine that sort of thing happening in a school, and think how many children would be killed by errant shots from police officers’ weapons.
Now consider the profile of these mass shooters, such as Adam Lanza. These disturbed young men are meticulous in planning their unspeakable crimes. Does it occur to the NRA that if a would-be shooter knew there would be armed police officers at the school (or movie theater, or grocery store), he might be sure to wear body armor? So will the school cops wear body armor, too? Do we require students to wear uniforms of Kevlar too?
The NRA will never, ever admit that the problem is too many guns, not too few. As Post columnist Fareed Zakaria pointed out so eloquently in his recent column, there is mental illness in all industrialized countries. There are violent video games in all those countries, too. But we’re the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud.
This may be the word I’ve been looking for: evil.
- NRA doubles down: New gun laws won’t work (edition.cnn.com)
- Twitter calls Wayne LaPierre crazy, repugnant, a tool and more (deathandtaxesmag.com)
- NRA chief: Media wrong to ‘blame guns’ for every tragedy (thehill.com)
- Lobbyist holds his ground as Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence releases plea from parent of Sandy Hook survivor (steppaz1961.wordpress.com)
- NRA’s LaPierre blasts calls for gun control (usatoday.com)
- NRA: Public wants armed guards in every school (sacbee.com)
- Unwavering NRA opposes any new gun restrictions (metronews.ca)
- NRA: Public wants armed guards in every school (charlotte.news14.com)
- The NRA Responds to Newtown: America Needs More ‘Good Guys’ with Guns (swampland.time.com)
- VIDEO: NRA’s LaPierre Says No To Ban On Large Capacity Magazines (wnyc.org)
Raging Moderate, by Will Durst
It’s only human nature to want to take action after such a harrowing traumatic event. To do something. Anything, to protect our kids. And make sure that Newtown never ever happens again. Here. There. Anywhere.
But while the rest of the nation grieves, familiar opponents on The Gun Issue are focused more on making sure their groups’ messages don’t get trampled in the anticipated tsunami of sorrow. So they preemptively are trying to drown out each other with battalions of bellicose bullhorns, and it doesn’t matter they can’t hear each other because neither side is listening anyway.
That’s the crossroads at which we find ourselves. Again. The intersection of Guns, Guns and Guns. Too many. Too few. Too big. Too small. Too scary looking. Waiting periods. Background checks. Magazine sizes. Access. Transportation. Construction. Registration. Who decides and who abides.
All the old buzz phrases are dusted off. “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” “Increased gun control means aiming better.” “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Actually, it’s those darn bullets that puncture the skin and bones, creating holes for the blood to leak out of way too fast.
The NRA is busy pumping out press releases arguing that if the teachers had been armed, this tragedy could have been averted. Yeah, there you go. That’s what we need. MORE guns in schools. The major problem with school shootings, are schools. There’s your answer, boys. Want to cut down on school shootings, get rid of the schools. A solution many states are busy implementing as we speak.
Besides, why just arm the teachers? Aren’t we forgetting about our kids? Surely they have the right to defend themselves. The only question is where do you draw the line? Middle school? Fourth grade? Does the Second Amendment guarantee the rights of Toting Toddlers? Should kid-proof trigger guards be illegal? Maybe get Fisher Price to equip classrooms with plastic Day-Glo under-desk holsters.
The left is also once again questioning whether military-type assault weapons have a place in today’s society. To which the right vehemently argues semantics. “Semi- automatic rifles aren’t assault weapons and the left obviously has no experience with guns or they wouldn’t mislabel them and their ignorance on the subject disqualifies them to comment or have any opinion whatsoever.” Known in gun control circles as the “neener neener” argument.
An argument that totally misses the point. Doesn’t matter what you call them. Semi-automatic rifles. Military-type horizontal handheld ordnance. Futuristic flintlocks. Agitation resolvers. Magic wands. Disputatious caramelized pump-action fruit rolls. Stick a feather in their muzzle and call them macaroni if you want.
The basic problem is, the only reason to own a macaroni that can fire hundreds of pieces of lead faster than the speed of sound in mere seconds is to kill PEOPLE. Yes, of course they can be used as legitimate hunting rifles. You can also use a flame thrower to light a cigarette. If you think about it, a hand grenade will signal the end of recess. Need to cut some butter, just pull out the trusty old chainsaw. Of course, be prepared for it to get a little messy around Muffin Time. And right now, we’re smack in the middle of an especially messy Muffin Time.
- Guns, Guns and Guns (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
- NRA president compares assault rifles to baseball bats (rawstory.com)
- LaPierre refuses to back new gun curbs – NBCNews.com (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- Gun enthusiasts pack shows… (reuters.com)
- NRA: Public wants armed guards in every school (sacbee.com)
- COPS IN ALL SCHOOLS: No Other ‘Immediate’ Step Would Work, NRA Says (foxnews.com)
- After defiant stance, NRA prepares for battles (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- Outrage! (tomtribby.com)
- Gun Shows Packed In National Assault Rifle Buying Spree (patdollard.com)
- Owners of military-style weapons defend their guns (stltoday.com)
Still Bitter About Election, Republican Opposition Unwilling to Compromise with President – NYTimes.com
In Taxes, Guns and Cabinet, Gridlock Grips the Capital
Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
President Obama issues a statement on the fiscal negotiations on Friday.
Published: December 21, 2012
WASHINGTON — If Friday’s memorial service for one of this country’s long-serving senators was a somber recollection of a bipartisan era that once was, the rest of the day was a frenetic reminder of the political gridlock that now grips the capital.
At the National Cathedral, the nation’s political leaders eulogized Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, who died this week at 88 after more than 50 years in Congress. President Obama said he learned from Mr. Inouye “how our democracy is supposed to work.”
Across town, democracy was, at best, showing its gritty side as it ground along angrily, noisily and slowly: A weary Speaker John A. Boehner admitted failure in his efforts to avert a fiscal crisis with a bill to increase taxes on millionaires but asserted that his job was not at risk; a top National Rifle Association official bluntly challenged Congress to embrace guns at schools, not control them; and Mr. Obama bowed to the reality that Republicans had blocked his first choice to be the next secretary of state.
Though it has been 45 days since voters emphatically reaffirmed their faith in Mr. Obama, the time since then has shown the president’s power to be severely constrained by a Republican opposition that is bitter about its losses, unmoved by Mr. Obama’s victory and unwilling to compromise on social policy, economics or foreign affairs.
“The stars are all aligning the wrong way in terms of working together,” said Peter Wehner, a former top White House aide to President George W. Bush. “Right now, the political system is not up to the moment and the challenges that we face.”
House Republicans argue that voters handed their members a mandate as well, granting the party control of the House for another two years and with it the right to stick to their own views, even when they clash strongly with the president’s.
And many Republicans remember well when the tables were turned. After Mr. Bush’s re-election in 2004, Democrats eagerly thwarted his push for privatization ofSocial Security, hobbling Mr. Bush’s domestic agenda in the first year of his second term.
New polls suggest that Mr. Obama’s popularity has surged to its highest point since he announced the killing of Osama bin Laden. In the latest CBS News survey, the president’s job approval rating was at 57 percent.
But taken together, events suggest that even that improvement in the polls has done little to deliver the president the kind of clear authority to enact his policies that voters seemed to say they wanted during the election.
Even some of the president’s closest advisers said they were surprised by the ferocity of the Republican opposition.
“It’s kind of a stunning thing to watch the way this has unfolded, at least to date,” said David Axelrod, one of Mr. Obama’s longtime advisers. “The question is, how do you break free from these strident voices?”
Friday’s wrangling crystalized the challenges that Mr. Obama faces as he prepares to begin a second term next month.
In Mr. Boehner, the president has a potential deal-making partner who is unable to rally House Republicans behind his own plans, much less any agreement he might cut with Mr. Obama. In a news conference on Friday morning, Mr. Boehner essentially admitted he was running out of ideas to avert big tax increases and spending cuts early next year.
“How we get there,” Mr. Boehner told reporters, “God only knows.”
Just minutes later, officials with the National Rifle Association made clear what House Republicans had been whispering all week: The president’s call for gun control in the wake of the Connecticut shooting is likely to run into tremendous opposition.
Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the firearm group, made clear the N.R.A. would not support the president’s call for gun control, recommending instead a “school shield” program of armed security guards at the nation’s schools as well as a national database that could track the mentally ill.
At the same time, Mr. Obama officially named Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as his choice to lead the State Department — a decision the president was forced to make after Republicans effectively blocked his preferred choice, Susan E. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations.
Ms. Rice, a longtime confidante of Mr. Obama’s, was never formally nominated, but it was no secret inside the White House that the president would have liked her to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton early next year. But even on the heels of his electoral victory, Mr. Obama was unable to overcome Republican opposition — led by Senator John McCain, the man he defeated for the presidency in 2008 — to her nomination.
There are still 10 days left in which Mr. Obama might reach some sort of arrangement with Congress on averting a fiscal crisis that some predict could plunge the nation back into recession.
In an evening news briefing, Mr. Obama proposed a scaled-back deal that might avert fiscal crisis while putting off the major philosophical arguments for another day. He said he hoped lawmakers could cool off, “drink some eggnog, have some Christmas cookies and sing some Christmas carols” before coming back to Washington.
“Now is not the time for more self-inflicted wounds,” Mr. Obama pleaded as he left town for a Hawaii holiday vacation. “Certainly not those coming from Washington.”
In another 31 days, Mr. Obama will deliver his second Inaugural Address, providing him the opportunity to make his case to the American public on the direction he wants to take them in a second term. A few weeks after that, he will give his State of the Union address, which he has already promised to use in part as a call for new gun control laws.
Tom Daschle, a former Democratic majority leader in the Senate, said he feared Washington would remain paralyzed on taxes and other issues until the country truly faces a crisis.
“I worry that it’s going to take that kind of a condition to bring people to the reality that they can’t mess around here anymore,” Mr. Daschle said.
On Friday, Mr. Obama was more hopeful.
“This is something within our capacity to solve,” he insisted, even as he left Washington without even the outlines of a deal in place.
- New York Times: GOP Unwilling to Acknowledge Obama’s Godhood (pjmedia.com)
- Quote of the Day: Republican Obstructionism and Opposition to Obama Due to Bitterness Over Election Loss (themoderatevoice.com)
- “Unfit For Responsibility”: What Americans Should Learn From The “Republican Apocalypse” (mbcalyn.com)
- Tighter grip of gridlock (staradvertiser.com)
- Rice Drops Bid for Secretary of State, Citing Opposition – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- National Lampoon’s Republican House Membership: what happens now? (mbcalyn.com)
- Hawaii senator accorded rare honor in death (thelasvegasorientexpress.wordpress.com)
- The Republican Party’s Post-Election Meltdown (motherjones.com)
- I’m Struggling (Warning: Political Post) (kingmidgetramblings.wordpress.com)
- The Weekend Word: N.R.A. (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)