Saturday, December 22, 2012

NRA Responds

The National Rifle Association finally reacted to the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school. It said that we should put armed police officers at every school in the nation, because there is no other way to assure that children will be safe. Their proposal will be appealing to some people. Over the past several decades, politicians' response to crime has almost always been to call for more police officers. What the politicians don't talk about much is that when the funding runs out, we always end up cutting the number of police on the streets. Our country simply can't afford to have police everywhere. Nor do the politicians talk about just how little good it does to have more and more police. Usually, deploying more police in an area just means criminal activity moves down the block.

The NRA thinks that if there is trouble we shouldn't have to wait a minute or two for the police to arrive, and that we would be better off if there was an armed policeman not only on every street corner, but in every school. That is, they think we should live in a police state. Not many people agree, and certainly not a lot of NRA members, who are famously anti-government. Nor would it work to have only one police officer at each school. To really protect kids the way the NRA envisions protection, we would need police both inside and outside the schools, in every hallway, and at every possible point of entry. Like a prison. And when school is dismissed, we would need police to escort every child home.

The NRA can't think that their proposal makes sense. But it doesn't have to make sense. It just has to sound good to people who don't want to think about what the real solution to our gun violence problem is. The solution is to have far fewer guns in civilian hands. That solution works everywhere else in the world, and it would work here. We aren't really very different from people everywhere else in the world. We came from everywhere else in the world.

What the NRA really wants is not a reduction in violence. It wants more guns, regardless of what effect the guns have on our society. It is, after all, the trade association for the gun industry. Just as the oil, gas, nuclear, and coal industry lobbies push for more use of their products regardless of the harm they are doing to everyone's health and the environment, the NRA doesn't see its role as protector of the populace. It just wants its corporate members, who manufacture, import, and sell guns and related paraphernalia and services, to make a profit. There is no reason to take them seriously when they talk about gun safety.

But, like the energy lobby, the gun lobby has a loud voice because it has the money to advertise, contribute to political campaigns, and organize. There is a lot of money in selling guns, so it is well funded. There isn't any money in not selling guns, so the opposition to the NRA has hardly any money at all.

Corporate money has invaded not only our electoral politics, it has virtually taken over the public debate on a number of topics, including the issue of guns. Even though the American people, shocked by the recent shootings, want something to be done to reduce the violence, the NRA has the money to continue to shape the debate. Today's NRA press conference was just their opening gambit. They will persevere and seek the kinds of victories that they have won in the past and that have brought us to the point we are at now. The only thing that might make a difference this time and lead us to do something about the violence is the images we have in our heads of all the children lying dead in their classrooms. It would take an awful lot of money for the NRA to erase those images.


  1. Lee, you sure seem to know a lot about what the NRA (which is an organization not a person) thinks.

    You talk about us becoming a police state if we put cops in every school. But there are about 23,000 schools with cops in them now. Point of note, the NRA said "Armed Guard" not cops.
    In a poice state, civilans don't have firearms or any other means to defend themselves from a tyranical government. So it would seem that it is you who is advocating for a police state.
    Not the NRA.
    Actually, the NRA advocates for our Civil Rights where as youadvocate for the abolition of them. What will be next? Ban any opposition speech? Canel elections?

    You don't think it appropriate to protect yourself and that you should wait a couple of minutes for the police to arrive.

    Sometimes victims can't make a phone call while they are being attacked because generally, the attacker won't let them.

    And police take a lot longer thatn a couple of minutes to arrive once they are called.

    How many times have you heard of a police man stopping the commission of a crime vs how many times they show up AFTER the crime was committed?
    Lee, you should really rethink your desire to infringe on the Human and Civil Rights of American Citizens.

  2. So now that the president has proposed basically what the NRA proposed -- guards in schools -- I wonder if Lee is going to cite the president's sheer genius. ;-)