Wayne LaPierre of the NRA says “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This sounds pretty straightforward, almost a self-evident truth. It’s a clever statement for simple minds; the sentence says one thing, and conceals its true agenda. The presumption is that bad guys will always have easy access to guns. The NRA and Republicans in the U.S. are doing all they can to make sure of it.
I’m not saying LaPierre is clever. He might be, but what’s more likely is he truly believes in his cause, is afraid his constitutional rights are in danger, and is negligent of the facts. While actively supporting and promoting gun culture, when children were massacred in Newtown the NRA’s first statement was a condemnation of the entertainment industries for promoting violent content.
We should assume from their reasoning that before video games and movies, there was very little violent crime. When Caesar invaded Gaul it’s thought there were over one million casualties and another million people taken into slavery. And that’s people hacked to pieces by swords, not dispatched with the clinical precision of drones or guns. So what precipitated that violence? To be fair, the graffiti on Roman buildings was probably pretty racy. Get real.
It reminds me of these ridiculous controversies about movies being too sexy. Sexual deviance does not exist because of pornography, it is exactly the other way around. Movies and music videos continue to get more explicit, and this shocks the older generation, but it is completely natural. As entertainment and arts continue to show us our humanity in new forms, we should always expect there to be fringes where the boundaries of decency are pushed. There will always be violent art because art draws from and expands the human experience. And while I’ve seen movies that are way too violent, I’ve still never seen a movie that’s too sexy.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll radically change human behavior any time soon. Let’s assume there will always be maniacs out there. We can’t lock every nut up preemptively, but we can make certain behaviors difficult. That’s why there are laws. Can anyone tell me why background checks for gun ownership is a bad idea? 80% of Americans think it’s a good idea, including many NRA members, yet the government can’t get it together to do the will of the people.
If you’re a government official and you intentionally stand in the way of the will of the people, plus you’re a pimp for gun manufacturers and completely lack a conscience, you should be thrown out on your ass and kept far away from any policy-makers. This seems very obvious to me, but I haven’t heard anyone take it seriously. It seems that in government broad change is nearly impossible without a bloody revolution.
Maybe that’s what the NRA and Republicans are after. They make their money by selling guns, after all, and what better tool for a bloody revolution? The NRA has given $80 million to politicians to keep the sale of guns as easy as possible. And while gun casualties continue to mount in heartbreaking numbers, the NRA continue their rhetoric about freedom, lashing out like a jock whose manliness is in question.
Well, I don’t question the manliness of the NRA or gun lovers. But I also realize that manliness isn’t something that matters in the grand scheme of things. Intelligence, on the other hand, definitely matters. If there is a revolution, I hope it’s one that stands up and says, “It’s not okay to be stupid.” Kudos to those already fighting that fight.