The NRA Does Not Deserve to be Part of the National Conversation

The National Rifle Association offers ideas to keep us safe—the fox guarding the hen house.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Eric Rouillard December 21, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Oren, there are many kinds of people in society. Some are good, and some are truly evil. What went wrong in Connecticut is not one single thing. If you think gun laws are deficient in Connecticut, you are quite mistaken. Connecticut is already rated as the 4th or 5th anti-gun state in the country (many references). Laws do not remove evil from the hearts of men, just like guns don't make a man evil. There is growing evidence that the the killer was insane and needed to be taken out of the general population. There is also evidence that the killer was a devil worshiper, if you believe what the UK Guardian and other news outlets are reporting. I don't believe the NRA's proposal. New gun laws will only allow the government to punish. Neither will remove the evil in men's hearts. Let's follow your example. No more guns for any law abiding citizens. We would still be left with Oklahoma City with 168 dead with a fertilizer bomb. We'd still have 9-11. We'd still have the Kent State massacre. At that very moment, we would all be at the mercy of foreign and domestic crime gangs that are calling Western PA their new stomping grounds. Check the FBI reports, and you'll see who's doing what. We would be at the mercy of our benevolent government which you trust completely. The fact that you are safe in your home today is because lots of your law abiding neighbors combined the the Castle Doctrine are making the bad guys think twice about messing in your part of town.
Roger December 21, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Quoting: "... Laws do not remove evil from the hearts of men, just like guns don't make a man evil. ...Neither will remove the evil in men's hearts. ..." Thank you for imposing the word "evil" back into the discussion. I am always interested in the national conversation in the aftermath of these kinds of events. "Evil" is one word that is conspicuously absent. The vast majority of the conversation centers around other topics, such as gun control, mental health, etc. The lack of discussion that includes evil is understandable. We live in a society, "I am OK, you are OK," tolerance, lack of conviction on principles and beliefs, and "man is basically good." These kinds of manifestations should be no surprise. We read about horrific actions of man-against-man throughout the world, and we wonder why this happens. The incidents such as this that tugs at heartstrings take the spotlight. But, evil is manifested every day, in many different ways. Most are too willing to overlook, unwilling to acknowledge evil, and not wanting to deal with the themselves with regard to evil. It is easy to point a finger at the 20 year old shooter. In reality, his manifestation of evil has been very public. When we hide our own, we easily puff up, "... we are so much better." In reality, the 20 year old shooter isn't much different than ourselves with regard to perfection. Our manifestations are just not as public. Pointing out his horrible behavior does NOT make us any better.
Duke December 21, 2012 at 09:09 PM
I wonder if the Oren has ever taken the time to look at the games the young people in our society are playing on their Xbox 360s? Games like: Assassin's Creed III - As a Native American assassin, eliminate your enemies with GUNS, bows, tomahawks and more! Far Cry 3 - Use an arsenal of weapons and exploxives to run gun-first into the action, take down nearby adversaries with your blade or SNIPE unsuspecting enemies from a distance. The above are just 2 of the many games available for Xbox 360 which feature SHOOTING and KILLING as the attraction for playing these games. And as the youngster grow older they gravitate to Paintball, a game in which players compete, in teams or individually, to eliminate (KILL) opponents by tagging them with capsules containing water soluble dye (referred to as paintballs which could also be classified as BULLETS) propelled from a device called a paintball marker (commonly referred to as a paintball GUN.) Why isn't there a movement on to ban these types of GAMES?
Oren Spiegler December 21, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I certainly have, Duke, and I deplore it as well as the "entertainment" slop that is thrust upon impressionable children and about which I have written of my distaste on numerous occasions in newspapers throughout the nation. Kindly note the following passage in my essay, which you seem to have ignored: "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." If there is a movement to do away with such games, I would be inclined to join it, but the movement would go nowhere, given the expansive view of free speech of the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that even material depicting the deaths of domestic animals cannot in violation of any law. I return to the basic question, "Why must we make it easy for homicidal men to mow down human beings in rapid fire?" and "How would the Second Amendment rights of any hunter or protector of his or her home be abridged by banning the sale of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines?"
Oren Spiegler December 21, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Yes, Eric, I know there are plenty of evil people in our world, and the Connecticut killer was one. We are not likely to be able to eradicate evil from our society. I also know that what happened there "is not one single thing" as I stated clearly in my essay. I did not say that the gun laws of Connecticut are deficient, however the killer and his foolish mother were still able to get their hands on weaponry that made his task of mass murder particularly easy. Where in my essay did I say or imply that there should be no more guns for law abiding citizens? Apparently you are suggesting that we do nothing about the menace of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines because a killer will always find a way to succeed. I could not disagree more. I do not believe that twenty children and six adults that tried to protect them would be dead today if the killer had been armed with a knife. No hunter or home protector's rights will be abridged by banning the sale of weapons that make slaughter easy.
Mark Trombetta December 22, 2012 at 12:40 AM
We kill (abort) one million babies every year in America. We have laws on the books allowing euthanasia. We have a Hollywood culture of violence and broken families all over this country as well as millions of people who adopt the "culture of death" readily. Where is the mystery here? Guns are easy to blame, but gun control has been ineffective everywhere it has been tried. Note the failure of the Brady Law most recently. The gun is an easy bogeyman, but the real problems are much harder to solve, because it requires us to look in the mirror at what we have become as a society. Societal decay is diffcult to cure. We have to want to do it; and self critique is unpleasant.
Duke December 22, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Apparently our society does not want to cure societal decay. They love and crave violence. Just look at the football and hockey fans - many of them go to the games with the hopes that there will be violent encounters between the players.
Roger December 22, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Duke, you are right about the fascination with violence in the US culture. You've cited professional sports. I would add the very large uptick in interest in MMA fighting. Not long ago, this kind of thing was doing behind closed doors. Now, it is glorified, PPV, large venues, and a large following of fans. Consider the movie industry. We have cable TV in our household, and see promos often for movies coming to local theaters or available On Demand. Rarely does one of these promos NOT have some form of violence -- things getting blown up, guns ablaze, interpersonal fighting, or other ways to create mayhem. The box office sales conclude that people vote "OK" to this material, and the movie industry continues to scratch that itch. The appetite must be deep and long for the violence to make money. In a twist of irony, many of the Hollywood celebrities are the first to cry out for gun control to stop killing. Mark, I'm glad you raised the abortion issue. I've not, lest these threads quickly degenerate in a tangent. While loosing 28 lives in CT is tragic, many times that number are lost every day, day after day. And, we look the other way. Why do we as a society get wired up, get the heartstrings tugged when a child's life is snuffed out as in CT, yet turn our heads in ambivalence to the loss of thousands of children's lives through abortion? Nobody can reconcile these two positions.
Roger December 22, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Also, just wondering ... On Friday, many places had a bell ringing at the exact time of the shootings one week earlier. I always heard "26 rings" in the stories. This would mean that the lives of the mother and the shooter were chosen to be overlooked, and ignored. When I heard the "26," I am left wondering why the lives of the other two were considered not worthy of remembering. Why are their lives less valued than the other 26? If this to be the case, where else in our society do we start placing value on one life over another, one to be worthy of recognition, another ignored. When did a life not become a life, regardless of the situation? I realize others know history better, but what other fruitful society prospered when somebody in authority started making decisions on whose life is more valuable than another? Help me out on this one, please. [No need to try to justify the 26, over the two because of behavior -- we all are treasures of wrong behavior.]
Oren Spiegler December 22, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Roger and Duke are 100% right in their comments about our bizarre, unquenchable thirst for violence, which, as Duke asserts, manifests itself in professional sports like hockey and football, not to mention boxing, which is legalized savagery. What is to be said of the legions of NASCAR fans who watch the races because of the thrill of danger, knowing that drivers may be involved in fatal or near-fatal collisions? I would venture to say that most parents hold out professional hockey and/or football to their children as good, wholesome, all-American pursuits. I beg to differ. Should anyone be surprised when football players are the same brutes off the field that they are bred to be while in play, when they commit violent crimes and are found to have inordinate involvement in incidents of domestic violence?


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