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​Freedom and gun control

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | March 7th, 2018

When will the NRA gun cult and the gun lobby culture inherit the wind?
It took National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre eight days to crawl out of his cult’s foxhole to answer the murder of 14 high school students and three teachers and the wounding of 14 others in six minutes at Parkland, Florida.

I have listened to Wayne’s rants numerous times, but his appearance before the right-wing nuts at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was different. He was foaming at the mouth and appeared to be manic, always pushing that an armed society is safer than a civil society.

Maybe he realized his gun lobby culture was at a tipping point. Either this time military-type semi-automatic weapons were going to be banned soon or everyone over 14 would have one.

Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post wrote: “Therein lies the problem of the gun debate these days. We’re either on the slippery slope to serfdom or everybody gets an AR-15. Surely there is sane ground in between such extremes.”

The tipping point is also expressed in Proverbs 11:29: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart.” Wayne is the fool in the proverb,”troubling” the country to fascism instead of democratic freedoms.

The NRA propaganda chief Dana Loesch kept referring to the five million NRA members during the CNN town hall on the Parkland murders. She said it so many times she convinced me they don’t have that many.

The word “cult” comes from the word “culture.” Members of cults have an obsessive devotion to one principle or ideal. “Culture” means a style of social and artistic expression peculiar to a society or class.

The NRA has turned into a cult of one-issue voters with one objective in mind: making gun manufacturers rich. LaPierre is paid about $5 million a year to lead and harangue the cult.

The cult’s use of death threats and violence
The NRA has turned itself from honest sportsmen and hunters into a home-grown terrorist organization. We consider ISIS a terrorist group but it has only killed 79 Americans since it was active in the U.S. The NRA gun culture is partially responsible for the policies resulting in 1.4 million American deaths by firearms since John Lennon was shot dead in New York City in 1980.

During a normal day the Educator’s School Safety Network tracks 10 to 12 firearm incidents in schools. But during the week following the Parkland massacre the organization recorded 50 violent threats a day in schools across the country.

Remember the high school student who asked Florida (R) Senator Marco Rubio whether he was willing to give up NRA campaign donations? Rubio fudged and finally said no. Cameron Kasky has received so many death threats since his question to Rubio he has given up on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. He said: “The death threats from the NRA cultists are a bit more graphic than those on Twitter.”

It’s ironic that Parkland high school is named after Minneapolis native Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Heavily involved in civil rights and environmental matters for years, she left these words of wisdom for students after living 108 years: “Be a nuisance when it counts, do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption, and bad politics—but never give up.” She received the Medal of Freedom from President Clinton in 1994 and was in the White House when he signed the Brady firearms bill.

After the Parkland massacre an 18-year-old high schooler in Hitchcock, Texas told a teacher he would turn his school into “another Florida.” A 17-year-old in Brethren, Michigan was arrested after he had threatened to shoot up his school. The student had an AR-15 style weapon at his home. Florida had 31 incidents in the following week after Parkland, Ohio had 29, Kentucky 24. A student at Clarksburg High School in Maryland brought a loaded Glock in a bag to school. A student at Pasco High School in Dade City, Florida was arrested for having an AR-15 and ammunition in his vehicle.

At El Camino High School in Whittier, California, a school employee turned in a kid who was heard telling another student: “I guarantee you the school will be shot up in three weeks.” When the police searched the boy’s home they recovered two AR-15s, two handguns, and 90 30-round magazines. That’s 2,700 ammo rounds.

Since Parkland, 69 kids under18 have been shot and 26 have died as of March 1. Patrick Henry HS in Minneapolis, Orono HS, and Cambridge-Isanti HS were placed on lockdowns after specific “shoot up” threats. This is the gun cult at work.

The idiotic idea of arming teachers and “hardening” schools
Gee, how do we do that? Let’s replace all those windows with bulletproof glass. Oh, that glass is expensive? Let’s replace the glass with concrete block. Too dark and gloomy and like “prisons?” Let’s replace all the doors with bulletproof ones that automatically lock by electronic signals. I guess that takes real money. And you might lock the shooter in a classroom with kids.

Let’s require every kid to have a bulletproof backpack. Let’s put 35 bulletproof whiteboards in every classroom and provide bulletproof clipboards and armored vests for teachers and staff. Armored T-shirts go for a cool $1,000, good armored vests, helmets, and body armor about the same.

Maybe the principal should have a bulletproof Kevlar suit so he or she can run around charging shooters. That will set you back $8,000. But that suit won’t stop an AR-15 bullet, so he shouldn’t follow Rambo Trump hobbling toward the shooter with his five-deferment Vietnam bone spurs yelling, “I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.”

As for arming teachers, a few questions. Should they have a holstered Glock or conceal and carry? Should they lock it up in a desk drawer or gun cabinet? Do they unlock and get the gun first or do they lock the classroom door first? Where do they keep the keys? Do they take the gun home at night?

If teachers have to break up an occasional fight in the halls, what do they do with a holstered gun or one in their pockets? How do you hug—or fight--a kid when you’re carrying? Carefully, I suppose. Be really careful how you stretch and take off coats. Remember the three-year-old who reached into a cop’s holster and pulled the trigger on his Glock? Luckily, the round went into the floor. Please, let’s not get really stupid.

Hunters don’t need semi-automatics that turn humans into hamburger
I hunted as I spent my first 16 years on a Minnesota farm. I have sons and grandsons who hunt deer, elk, geese, turkeys, ducks, and pheasants. I have other members of a broad family, some of them Vietnam veterans, who hunt.

I have earned a Marine Corps Expert Rifleman’s Badge. I have friends who are responsible gun owners. They don’t need military ammo or 30-round magazines to hunt for the table and sport. They may be NRA members but they are not of the NRA cult.

This is puke-worthy of the gun cult. The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary of Newfoundland, Pennsylvania has had a religious ceremony for couples with AR-15 rifles. They believe the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” in the Book of Revelation. My God! What Would Jesus Do?! On the day of the blessing, an elementary school a block from the church decided to close for the day. Some church worshippers wore crowns made of bullets! Is LaPierre the new Christ?

On the other side we have rational people—even in the gun business. Dick’s Sporting Goods has decided to end sales of assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines at its 715 stores throughout the country. Chairman and CEO of the company Ed Stack announced that one of his stores had sold a shotgun to Nikolas Cruz. He said: “It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been. We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America—our kids.”

I have a comment about his respect and support for the Second Amendment. Courts have butchered the interpretation over the years. To base modern gun legislation on a decision made in 1791 requiring all “militia” members to possess a flintlock musket is insanity. We now have semi-automatics that can fire hundreds of rounds a minute. We have way too many “snoopin’ and poopin’” wannabe militia members armed with AR-15s practicing tactics in the woods.

The public vs. the Best Congress Money Can Buy
What are the chances the public will win out over the Best Congress Money Can Buy on gun control? Congress has about an 8% approval rating but that doesn’t matter. Follow the money. If they don’t ban assault rifle types and melt the rest, it doesn’t matter anyway. The mass murders will continue without letup. A U.S.A. Today/Suffolk Poll on guns presents a public attitude for gun control--but Congress says, “So what?” The poll results:

** By 61% to 33% the public wants to tighten all gun control laws and expand background checks.

** By 63% to 29% the public wants to ban AR-15s and military look-alikes that fire high muzzle velocity rounds.

** By 71% to 12% the public wants to ban people who have been treated for mental illness from owning a firearm.

** The public also says the chances of passing essential gun control laws with a bought Congress rests at about 20%.

Alaska Republican Representative Don Young is just one example of why the GOPPPP (Grand Old Party of Prevaricators and Parsimonious Pricks) and The Best Congress Money Can Buy have a low rating.

Young has been in Congress since 1973, always voting to drill for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, voting for huge tax cuts for billionaires, and voting against every bill that had anything to do with gun control.

In his total ignorance of world history, he has said again and again the Jews of Germany and Europe could have escaped the Holocaust if they had taken up firearms against Hitler and the Nazis.

Germany had a population of about 66 million in 1933 with Jews numbering about 533,000. Do the math.

So Young asks the question: “How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?” This is the old canard. We must arm ourselves so we can take on governments we don’t like. Ignorance of history always manages to create more tragedies.

As Will Rogers said: “There are men running government who shouldn’t be allowed to play with matches.” LaPierre doesn’t play with matches. He throws bombs.

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