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“We will buy more guns than ever.”

February 14, 2013

[My latest piece of work on Daily Kos, cross-posting here.]

Yesterday, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre took to the conservative, libertarian outfit The Daily Caller to rally his troops to fight back against the perceived threat of the Obama administration. Wayne imagines the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as the sort of dystopian hellscape that “gun prohibitionists” want.

What I find interesting about this gun enthusiast’s nightmare is how the NRA’s campaign against gun registration has worked to protect criminals, thus ensuring just the kind of threatening environment suitable for ginning up fear — and, of course, more guns than ever. A good return on investment for gun manufacturers, who have poured millions of dollars into Wayne’s campaign of terror.

*****

All right, so maybe that intro will strike the reader as extreme. I hate to oblige anyone to read The Daily Caller. This was reported on yesterday here, as well, so that may be enough of Wayne’s invective for anyone to stomach. Nevertheless I feel that this madness of his should be documented.

After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.

Is it enough to show Wayne LaPierre claiming that liberals like me supposedly want the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max? I mean, honestly. If that’s the plan, can somebody give me a little advance warning? I need to save up and get some LASIK done beforehand. I do not want to be the chump out of the horror movies who’s wearing eyeglasses in the apocalypse, because they always get broken at the worst possible time, and then you die.

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, back to the not-snark of the NRA.

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. It’s responsible behavior, and it’s time we encourage law-abiding Americans to do just that.

This was rabid enough that even the otherwise mild-mannered CBS News made it their headline: NRA CEO: “It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival”

So anyway, to keep score, Wayne laments the impending demise of this country as the President supposedly defies federal law, leaving the southern border unprotected and engineering financial ruin through excessive borrowing, because he’s a Democrat and so it matters now.

Now, here in Arizona, I never liked Phoenix much, but Wayne tells us, “Phoenix is already one of the kidnapping capitals of the world,” and of course our local politicians are expert whiners when it comes to completing the danged fence. Right, Senator McCain? Good news for you eh?

After painting a dire picture of total societal breakdown, Wayne is still very concerned about Supreme Court appointments, anti-gun legislation, and slanted media news coverage. I found that shift in the argument a bit jarring, but amusing.

Now, the threat is even greater. Michael Bloomberg and George Soros are each, individually, far wealthier than the entire National Rifle Association. When the NRA spends money on political advertising, we have to raise those funds from you—$20, $50, $250, or $1,000 at a time.  In the last election, Bloomberg alone spent $16 million and that doesn’t even count the indirect spending by groups funded by Soros and his fellow billionaires.

Again, your NRA membership dues at work, folks. Be proud! You’re enabling this fellow to spout rhetoric the likes of which even Glenn Beck might be somewhat embarrassed to sketch out on his blackboard. Well, that may be a slight overestimation. However, Wayne neglects to mention the millions of dollars the NRA has collected from his true masters, the gun manufacturers.

According to the Violence Policy Center, the gun industry donated up to $38.9 million to the NRA from 2005 to 2011. Gun manufacturers gave millions more in 2012, with one holding a yearlong promotion in which it donated a dollar for each gun sold.

Having followed this topic for a while, I’m aware of these programs, like ’rounding up’ for the NRA, where customers round up the total of their orders and give that extra to the NRA. And that’s beyond the cash donated directly from gun manufacturer profits into the coffers of the NRA.

Anyway, while Wayne concludes with stirring rhetoric and a final push to, of course, buy more guns

We will not surrender. We will not appease. We will buy more guns than ever. We will use them for sport and lawful self-defense more than ever. We will grow the NRA more than ever. And we will be prouder than ever to be freedom-loving NRA patriots. And with your help, we will ensure that the Second Amendment remains America’s First Freedom.

…let’s get to the part where the NRA’s activities can be shown to aid criminals and once again stand in the way of law enforcement, even as they bark at us demanding better law enforcement. This is the story of a gun registry law out of Michigan.

Now, given the news coming out of Michigan lately, with apologies to what few liberal Michiganders have survived (as a Zonie I feel your pain), I don’t count that state as being inordinately…progressive. So, it’s interesting that they should have a gun registry in that state at all, and that somehow this did not lead to gun confiscation, civil war and mass hysteria.

Still, the NRA sought to kill off this registry last year. The scene is set: Republicans have taken power, which they are more than pleased to use with recklessness ill suiting so-called ‘conservatives,’ and the NRA chooses this moment to strike at the gun registry law…until reality interrupted and (unfortunately, for the NRA) demonstrated that the law was effective in solving crime.

The requirement, instituted by the legislature in 1927, was targeted by the NRA, although legislation to undo it failed in recent years. It gained momentum last year as Republicans took control of the governor’s office, the state House of Representatives and Senate, said Sgt. Chris Hawkins, legislative liaison for Michigan State Police, which oversees the registry.The bill passed the House and was awaiting Senate action when police arrested geologist Raulie Casteel and charged him with the October driver shootings, Hawkins said.

Hawkins told lawmakers the database helped lead to the suspect. Both Hawkins and Rick Ector, a Detroit firearms instructor who pushed for the bill, said the arrest saved the database.

Interesting. A gun registry was in place in Michigan for a good eighty years or so — no mass confiscation, no civil war, no cats and dogs living together presumably; the citizens manage to enjoy their 2nd Amendment rights without resorting to 2nd Amendment remedies, but that’s not good enough for the NRA. If it hadn’t been for that meddling criminal! And that gun registry, which the police explain allowed them to prioritize the tips they were getting, and to connect a reported license plate number with a registered gun.

The gun registry may have “meant the difference between someone getting killed by gunfire and someone not,” Hawkins said.

Oh my.

And in such ways gun registration proves effective in reducing gun violence, by helping police solve crime; it defies the NRA notion of registration leading inexorably to confiscation and general apocalypse. And, the NRA’s lobbying efforts are shown to support criminals against law enforcement.

This story out of Michigan and Wayne LaPierre’s rant in the Daily Caller seem of a piece to me. The NRA’s paranoia about gun control measures, like background checks and registration, leads to deregulation and proliferation. Wayne lobbies against gun laws, and you can see him begging his membership to buy more guns than ever. This deregulation in turn leads to more crime, as I read yesterday in a rare piece of actual data collection and analysis out of Missouri.

This self-fulfilling prophecy seems clear to me. The NRA works to create a more dangerous society, one which they demand can be resolved only with more guns, which in turn perpetuates the discord and suffering. And all the while, gun manufacturers, the ones pulling Wayne’s strings, profit from our suffering.

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3 comments

  1. It’s all just so insane. It makes me so sad that I have to remind myself that this has no tangible effect on me. It seems that people like La Pierre would like to impose a lifestyle on me that I don’t want. However, it hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of actually happening. They could get rid of every last police officer and I still am not going to buy a gun. I’d move to another country first. That’s not a threat. I’ve lived elsewhere and would do so again. It’s no big deal. But it’s not likely to be necessary.

    Anyone who thinks that we’re about to enter a Mad Max world is out of touch with reality. Anyone who thinks that guns make them safer when all statistics show that owning a gun increases your chances of dying from gun violence is out of touch with reality and nuts. I don’t care if you think that the end of civilization is going to arrive because Obama’s a socialist and George Soros is plotting to kill you or if you’re on the left and think that it’s going to be peak oil and environmental collapse. You’re living in a fantasy world.

    On the other hand, all this gun debate has given me a great idea for a dystopian science fiction comic – if I can only come up with the right sexy female character that doesn’t look too cliche.

    I read LaPierre’s Daily Caller article. It’s so insane, I don’t even know where to start. I used to live in South Brooklyn. Does LaPierre even know where that is? Walk several miles for supplies? Where? To Manhattan? Red Hook to the Heights is maybe a half hour walk, if that. It was twenty-five years ago, so I can’t remember exactly, but I used to walk it just to have a beer with friends so I think I could get home before dark.

    Really, what world does he live in? I know much of that is just garbage written to support the position he’s paid to support. It would be interesting to know how much of that he believes and how much he doesn’t. If he’s so worried about the collapse of civilization, why doesn’t he work to save it – you know maybe some of his big donors would like to donate to the cause of bank regulation.

    Sorry for the tirade.


    • Oh, that’s ok…tirade for a good cause. I have trouble believing that he means what he says, just based on the way he shifts from apocalyptic nightmare to worrying about court decisions. These ideas are simply not compatible. I don’t see why anyone who genuinely believed in the inevitable collapse of society would concern themselves much with the political process.


      • In that case, it doesn’t make much sense to pay dues to the NRA either. It would make more sense to plant a vegetable garden. Maybe someone should point that out to La Pierre.

        I showed the article to my sister and she said, “What’s someone going to do? Shoot their neighbor for a loaf of bread?”

        It’s very odd, you know I didn’t care about the gun issue at all until I started reading the writings of the pro-gun people and they just seemed so out of touch with reality. I actually think it’s better when this stuff gets out there because they do themselves a real disservice.

        I’d kind of be curious about what you’d think of a post I was thinking of writing because you’re more knowledgeable about this subject than I am. I was thinking of writing something to the effect of “would a PSA be too much.” Basically, for the sake of argument, let’s not even talk about laws regulating guns for the moment, but would the pro-gun people be comfortable with public service announcements that addressed simple safety concerns about guns?

        Strangely, I wasn’t energized on the subject by any of the mass shootings, but by the reaction to Bob Costas mentioning the death of that football player. That’s the sort of area in which a public service announcements could make a dent. Locking up “psychopaths” won’t stop any of those unfortunate killings.



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