The NRA's meaningful contribution to preventing further gun violence: fear mongering and finger pointing, demonizing the media, the mentally ill, law enforcement agencies and politicians – with a call for more armed citizens and guards deployed in every school in America.
In 1962 when I was a six-year-old first grader in Ohio, the last thing my parents ever worried about was a crazed gunman entering our small town school and killing me or my classmates. Back then, in our little town at least, most home owners didn't feel the need to even lock their doors at night. Let alone the necessity of having a gun for home protection. Of course, back then also the proliferation of guns and high powered assault weapons was unheard of in our country and military grade weapons were only in the hands of the military personnel and not in the hands of civilians. Oh, how times have changed from those simpler and much more idyllic times. Today, due in large part to the NRA and their very effective advocacy for the proliferation of all guns in our society, we are faced with a very different paradigm indeed.
Yesterday's national press conference by the NRA with their Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre acting as spokesman was meant to provide us with insight into what meaningful contribution his organization will provide to prevent further gun violence. First, however, Mr. LaPierre used fear-mongering to justify his organization's insatiable appetite for more guns, then he pointed his bony finger of blame at the “corrupted media” for promoting violence through movies, violent video games and the media's supposed demonetization of gun owners, he then blamed an entire population of the mentally ill and he called for a national registry of all those diagnosed with mental illnesses, he blamed lax-law enforcement agencies and the “political class for pursuing new gun control measures while failing to enforce existing gun laws” and finally he “called for a 'National School Shield' program, to arm and train guards in schools as the best way to protect children from gun violence.” Yet, surprisingly, he as a main spokesman for the NRA, failed once to blame or take any responsibility what so ever for his own organizations actions regarding the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in today's America.
While I agree we certainly need to seriously address our culture of violence that is oft depicted in our movies and video games, I strongly disagree that every one diagnosed with mental illness should be listed in a national database. What is he talking about here? Should every person who suffers from depression and asks their doctor for medicinal relief be listed in this database? His very bad idea would not only violate doctor patient confidentiality, but it would also serve to further exacerbate the stigma of mental illness and cause more people suffering from these illnesses to not seek appropriate treatment. And by the way, Mr. LaPierre, the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) already has a registry of 1.1 million individuals that have been deemed by a judge to be “mentally defective” or have been involuntarily committed or ordered by courts to seek mental health treatment. These individuals are already prevented from purchasing guns legally. Of course, we do need to enforce all existing laws on the books. And legislation to ban assault weapons and close gun show loopholes and private gun sales transactions that are exempt from background checks would be wise ideas too. Essentially though, Mr. LaPierre and his organization's main answer or idea to solve the problem of gun violence in the public square is more guns in the hands of trained armed guards and citizens. If this is truly their best solution to the problem, then we are in much more trouble than previously thought.
In my opinion, Mr. LaPierre and his organization's press conference was, not only self-serving, but also did not provide a true meaningful contribution to the debate on how we best solve the problem of gun violence. In the Preamble it is written “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” How, Mr. LaPierre does your meaningful contribution promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity? How are we really free when realistically we can not physically enter a public space not assured that we won't be shot or become collateral damage to a gun battle between good people and bad people with guns. Do we all really want to live in a country that has to have trained armed guards with assault weapons as mall workers, movie theater staff, grocery store employees and school teachers to be safe?
And finally, where is the justice and domestic tranquility for the parents of the fallen children and the others who have tragically lost loved ones to the senselessness of the violence caused by the guns you so fervently and illogically protect? Let's, all tell Mr. LaPierre and his organization that we decline to accept their meaningful contribution, because, surly there are better more sensible ways to prevent the ongoing and ever increasing problem of gun violence in our country.