Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Holidays from the NRA

Invariably, before the dust settles once again on another mass shooting in the land of the free, spokespeople for the prevailing idiocies assure us that it's all happened because a) we have removed prayer from our schools and Jesus from our hearts, or b) not enough people have guns. The latest wisdom from the fringe is that teachers should start packing firepower in school buildings. In those corridors where a good ricochet could, like school prayer, put the fear of God in a youngster's heart.

Neither position would merit much attention if they did not enjoy a weird eternal recurrence, like brain cancer in lab rats. And either position would be cause for mirth were they not so pernicious and so inevitably trotted out in such grievous circumstances. (It's all here.)

Steve Dulan, a board member for the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, which is supporting a state bill to allow concealed weapons in schools and other currently gun-free zones, assured HuffPost that having armed teachers inside Sandy Hook Elementary School would have, "if not prevented, then perhaps minimized," the tragedy. Gun-free zones, explains Dulan, are in effect "mass murder empowerment zones." Ditto, of course, for movie theaters, shopping malls, public schools, Sikh temples, churches, and university campuses. Right on cue, Texas's dimmest bulb, Louie Gohmert, mused in public that the principal should have "had an M-4 in her office."

The music teacher

By this logic, of course, six-dollar-an-hour retail clerks should be armed; professional sports referees, particularly ones working Kansas City games; anyone who goes to a movie or a play (no, playgoers are usually effete Democrats); anyone who patronizes a Chik-Fil-A, a bus stop, hack stand, massage emporium, pawn shop, army base, pool hall, faith healing temple, fairground, stock car race, go-kart track, rib shack, public access golf course, snake farm, bull semen parlor, doctor's office or discount liquor outlet.

The chatter gets even worse: in a disingenuous piece of tripe on the website WND ("Wing Nut Daily"), "former pastor" Drew Zahn goes further, arguing that laws are inconsequential because people break them. Zahn concludes that "Gun-control laws failed Connecticut children" since the shooter broke at least three of the state's gun laws and managed to shoot up the place anyway. "[W]hat gun-control measure could have prevented this crime?" he asks sanctimoniously.

But the former Reverend Zahn's argument proves too much - why bother with laws against theft, murder, and general mayhem, then, since the killer stole the guns and went on a killing frenzy in spite of those laws? Had he kidnapped the 20 children, or bombed their school, would we say that the laws proscribing those acts had "failed Connecticut children"? It's disingenuous because it's a patent and feeble attempt to rule gun laws off the table. To his credit at least he's only saying gun laws don't work, he's not saying that gun laws are unconstitutional, which is the stance of the NRA and its paid stable of legislative shills.

   Wayne LaPierre

There's an important divide between the NRA's membership and its leadership. This, from a recent Salon article, says pretty much everything about the minds of NRA executives like Wayne LaPierre: "Two months after the 2011 Tucson rampage, which left six dead and 14 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, LaPierre rejected an invitation from President Obama to discuss ways of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable.  LaPierre said there was no point talking to “people that [sic] have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment.”  Following the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, which left 13 dead, the NRA urged a similar boycott of a meeting called by President Clinton to discuss ways of addressing teen violence."

Nicely aligned with NRA's vision, the school board in the impoverished rural hamlet of Harrold, Texas has recently, with the support of  the superintendent and the approval of Guvunner Rick Perry, permitted teachers to carry concealed weapons. Which teachers are packing is not common knowledge, on the premise that an intruder won't know which one to shoot first - always an absolute stumper for any homicidal maniac. (“We made fun of [the teachers],” said one high school junior. “Everybody knows everybody here. We will find out.") Perry's effort to allow concealed weapons on Texas's university campuses has so far foundered, in part I presume because of photo ops like this . . .

The only way he could get a college degree

Last April, Manuael Dillow, 60, a welding teacher at a vocational school in Abingdon, Virginia, lined up his students near a garage door in the classroom, pulled a black gun out of his waistband and fired as many as ten blanks at the terrified teens. So arming teachers could present some difficulties of its own. Speaking for myself, there have been moments when I was glad I didn't have a gun in the near vicinity of teenagers. It just seems like it could be a pretty volatile mix of demography and technology.

Meanwhile, whoever dies for our continuing sins of omission, it won't be Jesus.

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