Four Gun Fantasies Top LaPierre's Reign of Terror
Unpacked, core NRA dogma promotes sedition, defying regulation, mediation by police, courts of law, community values, and whatever smacks of government. NRA lobbyist Wayne LaPierre covers his reign of terror, like all zealots, by hypocritically presuming the moral high ground. Loaded with bravado, LaPierre argued to Congress itself, "without any doubt" Americans need guns to repel government agents knocking at the door. In fact, NRA shills broadcast the law of the jungle wherein self-made "good guys with guns" save the world. Except "goodness" is another scam: LaPierre again, "Our Founding Fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules."
Overall, this NRA "state of nature" posits a world of perpetual, warlike danger, channeling Thomas Hobbes' famous rendition of life as "solitary, poor, brutish and short." Primed for action, gun vigilantes overlook Hobbes but still glorify the lone, heroic Davy Crockett at the Alamo fighting for survival. In the process, this rightwing mania domesticates the militarized world of Bush-Cheney's unilateral, preemptive belligerence against phantom foes. Zealots agree about enemies who "hate us for our freedoms," or "you're either with us or against us."
Thus, the NRA lies and the Iraq lies are cousins, leaning on fabricated, symbolic war cries, obsessed with payback and blows to national honor. That way lie avenging crusades, playing on cultural, racial and tribal blood feuds, targeting sub-human, cave dwelling terrorists. Such regression parallels the honor-vengeance mindset Tom Brokaw found abroad, in nations victimized by U.S. invasions: "young people will come up to me on the streets and say, 'We love America, but if you harm one hair on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever.'"
Modeled also on the western shootout, the NRA invokes a lone champion, blessed with perfect aim and massive firepower, triumphantly regaining honor, safety, a badge or the girl. Apparently, the NRA missed the memo this shootout fiction was an utter movie invention, as no orderly society (co-operative by necessity) tolerates such unsocialized egotism. We still do, though, evident when Dubya's one-dimensional delusions collided with complex realities. Inevitable disaster follows lone Deciders meting out justice by trusting gut instincts or divine messages.
Dual Triggers for NRA Delusions
Scarcity begins the scolding NRA drumbeat. Want public safety? First, enforce "laws on the books" before concocting worse ones that violate rights. Staff and upgrade bungling police forces. Want school security? Pack playgrounds with armed guards, then force teachers to wield guns. Finally, never portray guns as the enemy, for that removes the only effective deterrence against disorder.
Then comes the Glut of Perils, headed by tyrannical, overweening, big brother government, along with criminals, madmen, terrorists, and miscreants going after what's yours. With "Stand and Fight," LaPierre sees guns as the only way out: "Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face -- not just maybe. It's not paranoia to buy a gun. It's survival," and hordes of law-abiding Americans are "preparing to Stand And Fight to protect their families and homes." From this state of nature idiocy emanates the NRA's four, explicit commandments:
Fantasy One: Only one solution answers an ever-dangerous
world: more guns with more firepower. Repeated
slaughters reinforce terror and that requires arms, not restraint. Only arsenals separate
buried victims from survivors. What good parent won't dish out $1500 for an
AR-15 combo, the nation's top-selling gun now comprising 25% of gun industry
revenue? Safety (if not America) first means stockpiling against unknowable,
but looming nastiness. You betcha.
Reality check: FBI numbers show overall reduced violent crime for decades, with national rates in 2010 one-third of 1994 rates (despite the recession). In fact, 280 fewer Americans were murdered in 2011 than the year before, with homicide numbers falling to low, mid-1950's levels. Since 2007, the 2012 murder rate is down 17.4 percent; since 2002, down 16.8 percent.
Fantasy Two: Cutthroat morality for a cutthroat world: every man for himself. Only with military stockpiles can free individuals defend against savagery. During a crisis, what fool trusts police will save you (mere agents of government)? Police insist, furthermore, on law and courts where innocent victims are doubly mauled by loopholes and bleeding-heart, liberal judges.
Thus come "stand your ground" vigilante laws, as all one needs to abrogate justice is an inner feeling of jeopardy. Shoot first, justify later. Never retreat, reload. Thus, civilization shreds centuries of hard-won social and legal contracts whereby aggrieved citizens must defer to independent professionals. Justice is turned upside down as the putative "injured party," often the least objective player, gets a starring role.
Reality check: Trumping police encourages new forms of slaughter (Florida's Trayvon Martin). "Shoot first" is bad enough when cops misbehave, but unschooled Texan gangs can drag home AR-15s without waiting period or age restrictions (just proof of residency). Getting a driver's license is harder; booze is age-restricted, even buying Sudafed gets you on a formal registry. A wireless cell contract mandates personal credit information and Social Security numbers are mandatory for credit cards or fishing/hunting licenses. Adopting a puppy could mandate being 21 and show a government ID.
3) Fantasy Three: Justice and security are mine, saith the gun lord, because the state fails Not only scorning police and courts, the NRA distrusts federal agents as worse. All serve the nemesis called big government, dying to regulate, register, tax, and outlaw the instruments of freeedom. No American worth his salt would not stand and fight the big shot tyrant, nor could do so without massive firepower.
Reality Check: Amateurs make bad police, bad insurrectionists, and bad gun stewards, letting children and the suicidal find loaded weapons. Novices freeze during crises, getting shot; or they over-react, wounding bystanders. Firearms at large correlate with mass shootings, says Wisconsin gun violence expert, Dr. Stephen Hargarten: 25 massacres occurred since 2006 (before guns sales surged); in 2012, seven massacres struck a record 140 people. Research by Emory's Arthur Kellermann establishes home guns produce more accidents, criminal assaults, homicides or suicides than self-defense. The NY Times reports, "the risk of homicide for women increased eightfold when the abuser had access to firearms."
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