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Wayne LaPierre is either the most comically evil or comically stupid person on the face of the Earth. A week ago today, twenty kindergartners and six adults whose job it was to protect those children were mowed down by a man carrying weaponry that no citizen has any rightful purpose to own. For the last week, LaPierre’s group, The National Rifle Association, has remained silent. They pulled their Facebook page down and their twitter account did not send out any “Yay Guns!” tweets. Then a couple of days ago they broke their silence and said they were holding a major press conference today, which I just watched, and now I find myself furiously pounding away at the keys, trying to hold together the outright rage I feel inside for LaPierre and his organization.
So why did the NRA wait for an entire week to speak out on the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut? Were they going through a period of intense reflection over at the NRA? Remember, this is the group that has force-fed the public nothing but pro-gun fear mongering about how President Obama was going to take their guns away (he actually only signed two pieces of gun legislation in his first term, both of them expanding the list of areas it was permissible by Federal law to carry a firearm). This is the group that held a convention just over a week after the massacre in Columbine in 1999, a conference that produced the now infamous Chuck Heston sound byte, encouraging people to pry his gun out of his “cold, dead hands.” If you were expecting some kind of rational and cogent concession that their actions in the last thirty years especially have helped create a hyper-obsessed gun culture that has helped lead to an epidemic of mass shootings in this country, you can keep waiting forever. LaPierre’s audacity knows no bounds, apparently. The NRA’s big solution to gun violence in schools?
Armed guards. On our playgrounds.
First he needed to excoriate the media of course for their ignorance in gun specifications. It’s the go-to NRA rhetoric. “See how dumb these non-gun loving people are? They don’t even know that this gun is actually semi-automatic, and isn’t anything like BLAH BLAH BLAH.” Then LaPierre decided to inform us all it is all the media’s fault for demonizing gun owners. It’s certainly not the fault of the mother who knew she had an unstable son and decided to buy military-style firearms anyway. No, of course not. It’s the media’s fault.
Every American should be shocked and appalled that this was the great NRA’s suggestion. It takes a special kind of evil or stupid to suggest not a week after twenty children less than ten years old were viciously gunned down that the reason it happened was a lack of armed guards at our elementary schools. The irony of a group that’s run by a bunch of NeoConservative neanderthals who belch out platitudes about freedom while un-ironically insisting the only way to protect our children is to turn our schools into prison camps with armed guards is simply too delectable to not savor just a tiny bit.
But the humor of the moment dies down as soon as you realize that not only did the NRA not learn anything last Friday, or from the subsequent outpouring of sorrow and grief over the tragedy, they’re doubling-down on their obsession with and promotion of guns. Just stop and think for a moment. In Wayne LaPierre and the NRA’s minds, it is more acceptable to turn our schools into armed facilities than it is to tell Americans we have to temper a Constitutional right with prudence. Rather than ask gun nuts to relinquish their assault rifles, which no non-combat civilian has any logical reason to own, it’s better to put yet another gun in our children’s lives.
It is downright criminal to suggest such a thing. To add further insult to injury, there was not even a mention of mental health reform. They didn’t even use the shiny object technique and say “Look, we’re going to spend our considerable resources helping to shore up our country’s failing mental health facilities.” It’s the fucking least they could do, right? If they’re going to create a gun culture, they should be willing to do what it takes to ensure we keep guns away from dangerous people. But that’s not their solution. In fact, the only mention of the mental ill LaPierre made was to ask why we don’t have a database of mentally ill people. Gee Wayne, even if we did, your group would fight against any background checks being performed that would actually keep a gun out their hands, wouldn’t it?
Their solution is to simply put another dangerous firearm next to your sons and daughters, on a daily basis. What kind of message is the NRA sending the American people? I’ll tell you what kind of message they’re sending. The profit margins of the corporations they represent are more important than your children not growing up with armed guards in their schools. That is not a conducive learning environment, to the say the very least. “Johnny, please stop staring at the hulking man with a semi-automatic firearm at the front of the class and tell me who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb.”
No sane or rationally thinking adult should agree to this atrocious idea. Our country was not founded on the idea that our need for firearms supersedes our children’s need to learn in a conducive, safe environment. That is just not an acceptable solution to the problem. I can entertain the notion of mental health reforms being a big focus of resources, but I will not now, nor will I ever in the future support the further infiltration of gun culture into our kids’ lives by planting armed guards at our schools.
The statement it would make about our country is one that we should all be ashamed to declare. We would be telling the world that we’d rather be able to own a weapon that fires hundreds of rounds a minute and carries thirty rounds in the clip at a time than to have our young ones go to school in a zone free of weapons entirely. We pay police officers and other first responders for the task of protecting our schools. The answer, Mr. LaPierre, is not to turn us into a country whose schools look like old Third Reich stalags.
No, Mr. LaPierre, I do not accept your suggestion. I do not accept your premise that this massacre has anything to do with how the media talks about guns and their specs. I do not accept your notion that we should treat schools like we treat the White House. We offer the President and Vice-President and their families Secret Service protection because we assume that bad people are out there planning to do harm to the president. But as far as I can tell, the only one who’s willing to inflict more damage on our children’s safety and well-being is you.
I will do everything in my power to stop this terrible idea from picking up momentum. I will not sit back and watch my children’s lives be infiltrated with gun culture in their places of learning. The National Rifle Association and Wayne LaPierre need to be taken down several pegs. The American people need to send a very clear message to that group of barbarians that we will not ask our children to sacrifice their innocence so that Bushmaster, Colt, or Smith & Wesson can enjoy higher profits and further pervade our way of life.
Basically, I’m saying this:
Fuck you, Wayne LaPierre. You can put armed guards on my kids’ school yard over my cold, dead body.