As the nation prepares to have a debate about causes and potential remedies for the societal dysfunction which enables deranged men to engage in the massacre of innocents, the National Rifle Association (NRA) tells us that it has solutions to ensure that what we saw on a day of national infamy in Newtown, Connecticut will never happen again. There should be a broad coalition of individuals and organizations involved in taking on the challenges we face in the aftermath of the Newtown atrocity, but whatever suggestions it has, the NRA does not deserve to be part of the conversation.
This is the organization that has consistently fought tooth and nail for a virtually unlimited Second Amendment which the Founding Fathers could not have ever have countenaced, particularly given the type of weapons that are manufactured today which make it easy to mow down human beings in rapid fire. It has used money and threats to ensure that elected officials toe the NRA line, resisting all efforts to impose regulation or inconvenience upon anyone that wishes to acquire an arsenal of weapons that enables them to outgun even law enforcement officers.
To allow the NRA to exert further influence on our society is to place the fox in charge of the hen house.
When Democrat, then-liberal Republican, then-Democrat Arlen Specter was once asked why he was curiously pro-gun, he responded that there are two million registered gun owners in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. That may be, but for one who seeks to govern with the public interest at heart, that should not justify the adoption of policies that imperil our safety.
I believe that there has been an unwritten credo among elected officials throughout the United States that as the gun homicide epidemic affects almost exclusively drug dealers and urban gangbangers, "it is not our problem." The Newtown, Connecticut horror demonstrates that it is everyone's problem. It hits too close to home, and that is why, for the first time in our history, the NRA and manufacturers of high-powered weapons are in retreat, and why former diehard supporters of the organization like conservative West Virginia U. S. Senator Joe Manchin, have honorably admitted that they were wrong as they seek a new course.
Let me be clear: the easy availability of lethal weapons is but one among many facets of our national homicide predominance that must be examined and addressed, but it is a critical one.
Given its tenets and history, the NRA will surely tell us that the way out of our gun atrocity epidemic is for more lethal weapons to be introduced into society, placed in the hands of "the good guys." When the organization speaks, this grieving American will not be listening.