Why is it that the only lens through which I view the National Rifle Association is entirely political? It isn't because I don't watch enough TV or read enough or that I am some sort of media isolationist. I am sure of that because I am none of those things.
It is because their only meaningful communications for years now has been limited to and almost exclusive to promoting political candidates they like and trying to destroy candidates that they do not like.
But the NRA claims that central to their mission as an organization are both gun ownership and management safety as well as to fully support efforts to prevent stolen guns from being used by criminals.
Sounds good doesn't it? Well, sure it does. However many people who have joined their membership believing that the National Rifle Organization are committed to those critical missions should probably be asking their association why it is that we don't see Public Service Announcements aired by the NRA about gun safety; or about protecting our National arsenal from criminals and theft. It all sounds good, but a closer look indicates that it is NOT good - or even worse that the NRA is a total scam.
This weekend in Baltimore there was an amnesty firearms surrender event sponsored by a local grocery chain - they donated $100 gift cards to be exchanged for each firearm turned into the police. I read the article about this event where over 475 weapons were collected and wondered why it was that the NRA wasn't funding the buy back effort. What's a grocery store got to do with guns and ammo? Unless blueberries and cherry tomatoes are being promoted and sold by the gun lobby's clients, it doesn't make as much sense as NRA "safe and legal" would.
BUT, people, that's not how it was. The local grocery store footed the bill for the gun manufacturers' errs in Baltimore on Saturday; and the day before on Friday, December 14th, 2012, twenty six and seven-year old children at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut paid the NRA's debts with their lives.
The gun industry made billions this year. They spent millions of dollars to support political candidates.
But they spent nothing on gun safety education and even less to prevent illegal access by criminals to guns.
Unless and until the NRA launches an EXPENSIVE and EXPANSIVE NATIONAL AD CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE GUN SAFETY and creates a nationwide illegal gun buy back program, the NRA should not have a seat at the political table.
Without fully funding TV ad campaigns for gun safety, without funding theft and criminal gun prevention initiatives; and without several other important initiatives that would not only protect the public, but also protect honest, responsible gun owners, the NRA has no right to insert themselves in the public debate about policy changes we desperately need on this front.
The NRA doesn't care about those tiny little children who were shot 3-5-7-11 times by the shooter. The NRA is doesn't care that some might have survived if they had had the "good fortune" to be shot ONLY once if the shooter didn't have access to assault weapons. The NRA wants you to be armed to the hilt. They don't care that you or someone else being armed to the hilt could wipe out the lives of little children.
Even if the NRA could not see their way clear to spend their money on educating the public in ways to prevent all gun deaths regardless of age, at this point, it might be in their best interest to run an ad campaign trying to explain why it it "bad" to kill small children in their schools with guns. For all I care they could say that the reason not to do so is that it is bad for their business - anything to protect these children would be better than what they are doing now - which is nothing since the massacre and was bragging about their popularity before it happened.
Beware NRA, NRA politicians and gun owners who see and talk about these tiny babies who have been literally and figuratively destroyed by gun shot wounds as simply "collateral damage". The public will not tolerate the pendulum swing as far as it has if you keep holding positions that make these heart breaking deaths of first graders seem inevitable and insist that we accept that losing them is "okay". It is NOT okay.
Beware also that the more the NRA and all allied parties resist the pendulum swinging back to protect six-year olds, it is more likely that the least likely could happen - the 2nd Amendment could really be in danger if the NRA sets expectations that the cost of freedom is to be at the expense of everyone else - including and especially vulnerable and helpless children of six and seven years of age. I write this not because my personal feelings are your concern, but rather because the shift you are going to face is uncontrollable now and it is human nature. People can only tolerate so much cruelty and injustice and then things will change. Don't fight this change. Work with it. Adapt or die is the National Rifle Association's hope for the future.
You are on notice, NRA people, you have two choices which are to fight the tide or to go with it and help solve the problem.
So, National Rifle Association, you can do two things to earn my trust:
1. Spend money on a national television advertising campaign addressing all aspects of gun safety and to underwrite illegal firearm buy back programs.
2. Tell your members to stop threatening me, Democrats and the President of the United States with gun violence when we speak out against gun violence. Trust me when I tell you that that shit does NOT help your case.
The third and perhaps more important task you NRA people could undertake would be to finally find ways of aligning your values as gun owners with those of the greater American population in their hopes to live out the American dream in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness without being so casual about the collateral damage that your "freedom" creates annually in this country. Maybe even try to reduce that destruction somehow - that would be a novel approach for you, NRA people.