by Lexington Herald-Leader
Who knew, before delving beyond Wayne LaPierre's shrill, defiant persona, that the NRA imbues guns with sanctified moral purpose? Not just sanctimonious but sanctified, and for the public good. Why else would this non-profit "charity" be awarded tax-deductible write-offs? Our government thus subsidizes a crass political lobby that infamously once called federal agents "jack-booted thugs." Talk about the need for better IRS scrutiny!
And so, by definition, the NRA mission must rise above self-serving
motives (like influence peddling, industry profits or collectors' vanity) to
serve the public good. And thus surfaces its laughable claim as sentinels of freedom
and national survival. Naturally, NRA's
default is to none other than the elemental American value called Enlightened
Self-interest, that "doing well is doing good." If self-interest doesn't
advance community interest, how do we justify special "charity" status? What
clearer American notion elevates vast accumulations of power and treasure above
mere egotism? After all, no rational
society tolerates narrow self-interest that doesn't produce bountiful public
Thus self-enlightened, let us reconsider the curious NRA PR campaign coming across as bizarre and extremist. Not, alas, when we realize what's good for the NRA is good for America. Are not gun owners modern-day Minutemen who incidentally fuel economic growth by rushing to buy guns before they're banned? Are they not geared to stand and fight as bulwarks of freedom, manfully manning the front lines against threats, foreign and domestic? Okay, so what if most are too old or overweight for that, but symbolism wins the NRA day.
Patriots on Parade
After all, don't "good guys" charitably expend thousands for military-style guns without much practical applications (and hardly fit the nightstand), on the chance terrorists, rapists, or government thugs will storm your thick, steel back door? Facing agents of disorder, and absent the often absent police, what other volunteers rush into the fray, standing between screaming children and insane shooters? Well, that's a true rarity. After a civil calamity, who wouldn't welcome a neighbor's arsenal against marauding hoods? Did not our own revolution rely on brave, volunteer Minutemen picking off British mercenaries?
Right off, we can dispatch the distracting fiction that private gun ownership is about self-defense. Statistically rare is the wild west shootout wherein a lone defender fights off mortal threats. In 2010, when guns killed 31,076, the justifiable homicide total for the nation did not reach 250. Over twice that (606) died from accidental shooting and thousands more (19,700) used handy guns to kill themselves. Add in 73,500 non-fatally wounded souls, and self-defense mortality barely moves the gunshot needle. Thus, despite 310 million guns at large, home weapons "are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes."
Certainly hunters need guns but, aside from randomly culling prey populations, where's the higher social good here? Nope, let us appreciate NRA service to humanity: 1) guns allow well-prepared patriots to battle tyrannical governments or foreign invasions; and 2) guns reduce crime, thus buttressing universal law and order (especially since police are never around when you need them). Oh yeah, and protecting the hallowed Second Amendment counts, too.
Standing Your Ground of Being
Sure, some goons overplay vigilante justice, like Florida's George Zimmerman. But how many more innocents are mowed down yearly by crazed school shooters? Look here, Zimmerman got indicted, showing the penalties for degrading the "stand your ground" law. How many Florida hoodlums now back off, however, fearful they'd get blown to smithereens by an old codger loaded for bear? More than a few, says the NRA, though records remain anecdotal.
If guns and private militias didn't make sense to the Founders, those elitist voices for the common welfare, why did they approve the Second Amendment? No doubt the NRA stands aghast how western countries, routinely stripped of private guns, sustain law and order or defy tyrants. Overall, either there's a direct correlation between the quantity of guns and the quality of life, or there isn't. Imagine America, already a hotbed of violence and crime, without our huge throngs armed to the teeth, itching to test out shiny, new AR-15s. How else can the NRA elevate "good guys with guns" who risk all to blast away "bad guns with guns"? That rash unselfishness may boomerang, as amateurs create havoc rather than order, doesn't wipe out noble intentions. No human plan is perfect, and everyone knows you have to break lots of shells before getting egg on your face.
No wonder gun advocates go ballistic when assaulted by misguided, bleeding-heart calls for "gun control." Don't anti-gun nuts realize the only good murderer or terrorist or communist is a dead one? In the final analysis, gun ownership should be celebrated not only as a national birthright but as service to fellow beings while taking care of your own, the ideal balance of self and collective. Are guns rights any less "self-evident" than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? As the Beatles rightly immortalized, "happiness is a warm gun, yes it is."
Freedom Fighters Need Freedom
Armed Minutemen, forever! What country dedicated to freedom prospers without robust freedom fighters loaded for action? And what goofy champion goes underpowered into a shootout with bad guys? That would be suicide, worse than the weaklings who dishonor guns (and ruin statistics) by using sacred objects to depart this world.
So, perhaps you will now pause before jumping to conclusions after LaPierre's latest tirade against required background checks, thus mandating noxious federal registries, thus automatically setting up looming confiscation. Instead of pushing unwise, anti-social gun control, remember Concord and Lexington. Hell, remember the Alamo. Who'd retell Davy Crockett's story had he been disarmed beforehand by bureaucrats over a weapons technicality? And without the Alamo, imagine the deflected influx of Mexicans across the Texan border that surely would dwarf modern migrations. One wonders how NRA PR missed that public benefit?