For a solid week, all America has been mocking, ridiculing, criticizing and excoriating the National Rifle Association for its ludicrous position on guns, expressed last Friday at a press conference in Washington, D.C.
In the wake of the national tragedy of Newtown, Conn., where legal firearms sent bullets ripping through 28 victims, including 20 school children, the shooter and his mother, NRA president Wayne LaPierre blamed the carnage on violent movies and video games, and told the gathered media that future tragedies could be prevented by the presence of an armed police officer in every school in America.
The stunning stupidity of LaPierre’s convoluted logic speaks for itself: If too many guns in the hands of too many people are the problem, then more guns in even more hands cannot possibly be the solution.
But step back a moment and consider the NRA’s conundrum: One of the largest and most powerful lobbying groups in U.S. history, having at its disposal millions of dollars to pay spin doctors and public relations specialists, had an entire week between the Newtown shooting and its press conference last Friday to craft just the right message, and package it in such a way to shore up support among its base, and reach out in sympathy to the bereaved.
Instead, they threw gasoline on the fire — in the process exposing themselves as the callous, out-of-touch gun nuts we always thought they were.
That, strangely enough, is not entirely their fault. Their ideological principles left them little choice: Cling to their assault rifles with all their might, and point the finger at anyone and everyone else, from Quentin Tarantino to Tupac Shakur, or admit their own willing complicity, even accessory, to the murders of countless children — not just in Connecticut, but all over the country.
What could they do? Pretty much exactly what they did: concoct a tale so ridiculous it looks like a Saturday Night Live skit. Let everyone fume and cry about it a while, then wait until everything dies down and goes back to normal — normal being unchecked carnage in America’s streets, playgrounds and schools while they step over the bodies on their way to the bank.
What the NRA and their minions are unprepared for, and exactly what America should give them, is a mobilized, unified populace who won’t let the issue die along with our children — and won’t take no for an answer.