Watching how the tragedy in Newtown changed the America we live in, I can’t help but wonder if the National Rifle Assocation and its president Wayne LaPierre, have no ammunition for the crisis they’re facing. Here’s the deal: it’s pretty clear that if you look at their actions, the National Rifle Association does not represent gun owners. For one, it doesn’t give a hoot about their safety. It only cares about the opportunities to place more guns in people’s hands, which means that the NRA’s real constituents are gun manufacturers.
The latest and clearest example of this mindset was on full display today, when at his press conference NRA’s Wayne LaPierre announced that the solution to the problem of school shootings, is to place more armed guards in our schools. Considering the nature of the tragedy, and the great number of possible solutions: from safety training to increasing access to mental healthcare, or anything else for that matter, NRA’s solution made clear that it represents interests of those who sell guns not those who buy them. Then again, to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
The question that I really would like to have answered is this: has the paradigm of our existence shifted so much since last Friday, that an organization such as NRA as it currently stands, is no longer acceptable to the general population? The National Rifle Association and the gun lobby have reached an amazing level of success in controlling politicians and dictating political agendas. The mere fact that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms hasn’t been able to confirm a director in years, says a lot about the power this industry wields. But as in all conflicts, when one side dominates, the only way to change the balance of power is through asymetrical warfare. In the world where the gun manufacturers lobby has decimated its known opposition, an extraordinary event, or to be precise, murder of 20 children at an elementary school, shifted the paradigm knocking the lobby off balance.
In “Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, Thomas Kuhn argues that revolution occurs when new problems are not solved by the currently existing solutions. In other words, the paradigm shift presents us with new problems requiring new solutions because the old ones no longer work. And that makes every old and tried argument used by proponents of gun “rights” (otherwise known as “people advocating selling-as-many-guns-as-possible-to-anyone-who-can-afford-it”) for decades, suddenly ring hollow. The old tried-and-true arguments of arming teachers, protecting rights, and imperfect laws, now seem more offensive then implausable.
And thus my point: unless the National Rifle Association adjusts to reflect the new reality we all live in, it might as well refund the dues it collects back to its members, and shut down the headquarters, for it is bound to go the way of today’s Republican party – noisy, unappealing, and ineffective. While only NRA can decide what role it plays in the future of this country, I sincerley doubt that Wayne LaPierre is part of the solution.