I could write for weeks about all of the things wrong with Wayne LaPierre's speech today. I'd start with his fear-mongering and end with a treatise on his small world view that tries to place complicated human beings into third grade categories like "good guy" and "bad guy." But somewhere in there, I'd talk about how LaPierre made a serious misstep in judgement. He provided support for one of the strongest arguments against the interests of his own lobby.
You see, in his speech, Mr. LaPierre argued about the many things wrong with American society. He argued that video game manufacturers were to blame, specifically citing Grand Theft Auto as a primary perpetrator. He argued that the movie industry is to blame for movies like American Psycho, which, in his opinion, glorifies evil. He even rails against the music video industry for its complicit role in the mess.
He argued about inherent problems in American culture, noting that we place more value on the protection of property than we do the protection of lives. He even cited the fact that we arm our banks but not our schools with "good" men and their guns. He asks a critical question:
Isn't fantasizing about killing people as away to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?After scolding America for its blood lust, he discussed the ways in which media add to the problem by bringing violence into the home. What he doesn't seem to realize, though, is that the American media is just doing what the American video game manufacturers are doing. They are just doing what filmmakers are doing. These entities are giving consumers what they want, and in effect, they are just marketing to the cultural defect that LaPierre mentioned elsewhere in his speech. Culture is the problem, according to him.
What LaPierre doesn't seem to realize is that the fix for those problems is elusive. Changing the entire culture of a nation is hard, and it can't be done overnight. We'd be lucky if we could make tangible changes to our culture in three generations, let alone one. And if America is such a blood thirsty place where our morals are so shifted that we use guns to protect our money while not using our guns to protect life, isn't America, then, the kind of place where gun restrictions are needed the most? If our "culture" promotes violence in such a way that even our young children are itching to play "shoot 'em up" video games, isn't this a place where guns are most likely to be used for hunting human beings? After all, how can I trust a violence-thirsty person who values property over life with a gun?
Mr. LaPierre - the problems you mentioned are problems. Somewhere in your incoherent message, you hit on a salient point. But guess what? The gun problem - or better stated, the You problem - is an easier fix. Changing the cultural compass of a country is the work of a lifetime, and it's a worthy goal that we'll work toward right alongside your ilk. But changing our gun policy to keep guns out of the hands of the people who shape our cultural deficiency is easier. It just takes some political will and a sensible swipe of a Presidential pen. You have overplayed your hand here, and in trying to shift the blame off of your deplorable efforts, you've framed the argument against guns in a way that every American should cling to.