The National Rifle Association needs to be put out of its misery. Despite all the talk about mental health, thoughts and prayers, a national conversation, and sensible gun laws, the solution to our gun madness is obvious.
The gunman in Parkland, Florida did not act alone as he carried out the 18th school shooting of 2108.
He was assisted by 52 Republican Senators, 298 Republican Representatives, and the NRA. Many, if not all, of those GOP legislators were elected or persuaded to vote the ‘right way’ with $140 million in help from this vile organization in the 2016 election cycle.
Oh, and by the way, the armed school guard on the property didn’t stop him from killing at least 17 people, wounding others, and leaving three thousand students, along with their families traumatized for life.
With its money, bluster, and fear mongering, a small group of individuals working for an organization primarily funded by one industry have hijacked our country. Our problem with school shootings and the highest rate (it’s not even close) of gun-related deaths in the developed world isn’t going anywhere until we get to the root of the problem.
The NRA’s copious cash contributions are merely the tip of the iceberg, as the shortcomings of Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown for Gun Safety,” which has tried to negate Republicans’ financial incentives to stick by the NRA, have proven.
It’s not just the money. It’s the culture and political infrastructure the group has built around fear of ‘the other.’ This is a successful variant on mass mobilization methodologies used by zealots since the dawn of civilization. Never mind that the actual threat posed is illusionary; it only takes a few anecdotal accounts to make whatever ‘the other’ is seem like a personal danger.
The NRA can blow its dog whistle and the phones will ring. With a little dose of ‘wink, wink, nod, nod,’ the less civil elements among its adherents will add some vile threats and hate language at no extra charge.
This is true even here in progressive California, and this game gets played at all levels of politics. Former Assemblywoman Lori Saladaña had extra security assigned to her while pushing for a 2010 bill banning open carry. It died during the closing moments of the legislative session, thanks to some bizarre maneuvers by both Republicans and Democrats. (A bill did pass in 2012)
The National Rifle Association and its allies need to become political poison. Every legislator who accepts their support must be shamed at every turn.
Even though he’s (momentarily) out of the game, the $16,884 in support Rep. Darrell Issa has received (2008-2016, Open Secrets) needs to be an issue. Rep. Duncan Hunter’s $13,000 (2008-2016, Open Secrets) in blood money has to haunt him every time he appears in public.
The battle to be fought here is no longer about regulations pertaining to firearms, nor is it about mental health. Only 3 to 5% of violent crime in the United States is attributed to mental illness, by the way. Mental illness is global. Mass shootings are American.
Most guns used in mass shootings were purchased legally.
This is about good vs. evil. The NRA (as opposed to people who own guns) is about greed and racism. They need to disappear into the historical dumpster of vileness.
The Parkland shooter belonged to white supremacist group Republic of Florida (ROF).
From the Anti-Defamation League, which spoke with a ROF member who identified himself as Jordan Jereb:
Jereb, based in Tallahassee, is believed to be the leader of ROF. In 2016, he was arrested on charges of threatening a staffer in the office of Florida Governor Rick Scott because he was allegedly angry at the staffer’s son.
Jereb said that Cruz was associated with ROF, having been “brought up” by another member. Jereb added that Cruz had participated in one or more ROF training exercises in the Tallahassee area, carpooling with other ROF members from south Florida.
ROF has members in north and south Florida. The alt right white supremacist group borrows paramilitary concepts from the anti-government extremist militia movement (not itself a white supremacist movement). ROF describes itself as a “white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics” and seeks to create a “white ethnostate” in Florida. Most ROF members are young and the group itself is only a few years old.
And we mustn’t forget the incontrovertible bond between racism and misogyny.
A whole section of the militia’s site is devoted to “alpha males vs. beta males” pic.twitter.com/UXaZaPlY1V
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) February 15, 2018
This battle is not about legislation. Or enforcement. The minute we start talking about gun control or banning anything, the gun lobby has won the argument.
Social pressure is what’s needed. The NRA isn’t about protecting anybody’s Second Amendment rights, just as the tobacco industry wasn’t about promoting health back in the days when they had doctors making claims in advertising.
The NRA is about protecting the “rights” of an industry. The NRA is about enabling the influence of people who want us to believe violence is viable means of persuasion. Don’t believe me? Give their 24-hour-a-day TV network a spin.
— NRATV (@NRATV) February 12, 2018
For too long the apologists for savagery have framed the conversation. It’s time to make our safety and the safety of children everywhere the issue.
We need ‘violence protection’ and ’gun safety.’ We need to politically and socially ostracize those who would cause us to be enslaved by fear. We need to fight the ideologies of hate that divide us using irrational fear.
We need to win.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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