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"Stand And Fight" is the theme of this year's NRA convention. Just in case you were worried that there was not going to be enough wingnuttery in Houston this weekend, rest assured. There will be plenty on hand.

James Porter, NRA president as of Monday, addressed a group of 300 at a grassroots organizing meeting. In addition to the "culture war" bit, Porter called his audience, "the fighters for freedom" and said, "We are the protectors." (from the AP)

But, of course, “The NRA doesn’t do pep rallies” according to NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. So I guess Porter's little speech was delivered to something more akin to a hootenanny (which is different from a hoedown in that a hoedown involves dancin'). What else might one do in Houston this weekend, you ask?

Spend the day exploring the products from every major firearm company in the country, book the hunt of a lifetime in our exclusive outfitter section, and view priceless collections of firearms in our gun collector area. You'll also see knives, wildlife art, shooting accessories, hunting gear, ATV's, and much more!
So, not a pep rally, but a heckuva good time, huh? Oh, and did I mention the celebrities? Well, you have to dumb down the definition but there will be celebrities. You can expect to see Sarah "darn-tootin" Palin, Rick "what was the third thing" Perry, Rick "don't google my last name" Santorum, and the Nuge!

Buford T. Possumpants!®, a Birmingham, AL lawyer and second-generation NRA president, is a fount of quotable quotes and colorful language. Like this bit, in which he refers to the Civil War as "The War of Northern Agression".

             

And, just because I think everyone should see this. Here is the video intro to Rick Perry's speech.

     

Here's one from Crickett, the gun that accidentally killed a 2 year-old in Kentucky last week. Not funny, but sort of ties in to the "culture war" theme. The tagline? "Start a tradition of your own."

             

The scariest thing about all of this gun-totin' talk is this. There have been at least 62 mass shootings in the last 30 years, and more than 3/4 of the shooters obtained their guns legally. Twenty-five of the shootings happened since 2006. Seven took place in 2012.

Porter is right in a way. Our gun culture is rampant and at war. The question is when we will be able to look at the issue of guns and violence in a sane and sensible way. Sadly, I get less and less sure that day will ever come.

P.S.: a little reading on the beginning of the military-style gun market in the US.

Originally posted to Salted and Cured on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  When I was in grad school, (17+ / 0-)

    I shared a townhouse apt. with four other people. One of them was a townie undergrad who went hunting with his father and brother every year b/c although they were land-rich, they were cash-poor, and a couple of deer, butchered and in the freezer, were important.

    They used regular rifles, and they were shooting to stock their larder. Which is perfectly understandable, and a regular thing done in rural areas.

    They would never have thought shooting fifty rounds at a time was anything other than ridiculous.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:34:30 AM PDT

  •  I am not sure Americans can look at anything (33+ / 0-)

    rationally anymore.  Our health care delivery system is not rational, our gun policy is not rational, our approach to climate change is not rational, our approach to educating our children is not rational, our obsession with with extreme capitalism is not rational.

  •  Crazy vs Sane.....The GOP will embrace the crazy (5+ / 0-)

    every time.

  •  Follow the money (9+ / 0-)

    This has nothing to do with liberty or gun rights and everything to do with gun manufacturers.  They just use idiots like Nugent and Porter and Palin and the rest as stooges to get the even more idiot public all riled up about the government taking away their guns.  

  •  Hee's something for the folks who (6+ / 0-)

    just have to have a gun with them all the time because crime can happen at any moment.

    Actually, I live and work in a huge city and, contrary to what some seem to think, crime does happen frequently and in the blink of an eye.

    And because of that  you cannot possibly always have a gun with you, no matter how many you own and, as is what I believe would be MY experience, crime WILL occur when I am nowhere near a weapon. (I do not own a gun and I have zero weapons training - knives and such -  so I don't think much of them)

    Training good. Training is what helps a person keep it all together in a crisis. When confronted as this pawn shop clek is, it is NORMAL for one to panic, be horrified, or go totally Sir Robin. It;s OK. You shouldn't have to go through it.

    And you have rights conferred onto you upon birth to this planet that when somebody DOES put you in this situation its a green light to do whatever to incapacitate them and save yourself.  You do. Even if you want to be Gandhi and just take a beating you don't deserve, you still have the right.

    Mr. Clerk draws the guy close enough, loads up and rocks him. Knocks him the FUCK out. And makes him clean up his blood and he has to leave on a stretcher.

    Fully PWN3D.

    Teach your kids martial arts.

  •  Every once in a while, one of them tells the truth (12+ / 0-)

    and while it may seem a slip up, I have to believe that is was said purposely.  The extremists WANT it to be a culture war, and they have been advertising via the "Tea Party" recently, and their "southern strategy" for quite some time now.

    Their aim, so to speak, is the splitting of the people of this country in order to distract the 99% while their corporate masters pay politicians to do nothing.

    Or so it would, seem, wouldn't you say?

    Someone once asked me why do you always insist on taking the hard road? and I replied why do you assume I see two roads?

    by funluvn1 on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:16:05 AM PDT

  •  Guns vs. Gays? Really? (7+ / 0-)

    Hasn't the NRA shot itself in the foot enough?

  •  They are the protectors? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax, davidinmaine, a2nite, Dirtandiron

    No, they're what I need to be protected from. Not all of them, but the AR-15 collectors? I'd like to get a blanket restraining order that prohibits every single one of them in this country from coming within shooting distance of my house.

    Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

    by kismet on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:43:22 AM PDT

  •  For the NRA it has been a culture war (7+ / 0-)

    for a long time.  And we would be naive not to see that.  Dig under the "we stand up for our 2nd amendment rights" layer and what do we find?  For what purpose do the extremist portion of NRA membership think the 2nd amendment is telling them to hang on to their guns in this era?  Why has the NRA focused so much on one narrow demographic of US population?   Where are the people of color among the members of the NRA?

    A comment to the article from that link (my bold):

    This translates into an overpowering Country Music/Southern Baptist cultural slant in the NRA, and it’s a major turn-off to most non-rural, non-evangelical gun owners. It also ignores the fact that many of the organization’s most effective spokesmen (like Charlton Heston and Tom Selleck) have been successful ambassadors precisely BECAUSE they’re not simply preaching to the rural, evangelical choir.

    Blacks and Latinos definitely aren’t the only NRA members who feel less than 100% welcome when the country music starts blaring and the Tea Party/evangelical vibe starts thrumming through the convention.

    I’ve got no bone to pick with other people’s faiths or their favorite music, but I personally didn’t sign up to join the National Country Music Tea Party Southern Baptist Rifle Association.

    Connect the dots about the fears of folks in the US who are terrified having an AA president in the White House and political leaders that want to address social justice issues for people of color or LGBT.  Connect the demographic of southern white evangelists, Republicans, Tea Partiers and rural whites who lead the way on RW crazy.  The willingness of a GOP to inflict real hardship on Americans rather than allow the Obama presidency to be viewed in any positive light.

    Here's a comment

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:44:05 AM PDT

  •  No, actually is IS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax, a2nite

    about the guns. You can keep the rest of your" Southern victims of the war of northern aggression"  all you want. Just without the weapons of war.

  •  WWII Propaganda Destination Tokyo-Re:Culture (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax, Dirtandiron

    http://m.imdb.com/...

    Capt. Cassidy: There's lots of Mikes dying right now. And a lot more Mikes will die. Until we wipe out a system that puts daggers in the hands of five-year-old children.
    Or in our case Rifles........

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sat May 04, 2013 at 12:34:56 PM PDT

  •  Mind vs. Heart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax

    Brain science and other studies point to the fact that we humans are motivated by visceral and emotional appeals. Reason follows afterwards, to 'rationalize' and explain what just happened.

    Facts and Reason don't move people.

    Culture Wars work very well because, on top of everything, there is tribal affinity.

    We will win more if we promote our values of fairness, democracy, etc.

    I'm not articulate today. sorry.
    References:
    ~ BRAIN

    Academic ‘Dream Team’ Helped Obama’s Effort
    Published: November 12, 2012
    When it comes to countering rumors, psychologists have found that the best strategy is not to deny the charge (“I am not a flip-flopper”) but to affirm a competing notion. “The denial works in the short term; but in the long term people remember only the association, like ‘Obama and Muslim,’ ” said Dr. Fox, of the persistent false rumor.
    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    David Ropeik, instructor of risk perception and risk communication at the Harvard School of Public Health:    "The part [of the brain] that sets off the fight or flight response gets the information before the parts that think," he said. "So we're built to fear first and think second ... At this point in our evolution, the wiring and chemistry of the brain assures that emotion and instinct can easily overpower reason in the ongoing response."
    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/...

    SOROS Quotation--see:
    “The Science of Propaganda”
    Great forum with George Lakoff and others.... view or listen online:

    http://www.c-spanarchives.org/...

    The book:
    http://www.powells.com/...

    "What Orwell Didn't Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics"
    Edited by ANDRÁS SZÁNTÓ

    "As Lakoff tells us,

    'A few words in political language can activate large portions of the brain: War on Terror, tax relief, illegal immigration, entitlements (turned to conservative use by Ronald Reagan), death tax, property rights, abortion on demand, cut and run, flip-flop, school choice, intelligent design, spending programs, partial birth abortion, surge, spreading freedom, private accounts, individual responsibility, energy independence.

    When they are repeated every day, extensive areas of the brain are activated over and over, and this leads to brain change. Unerasable brain change…. And every time the words are repeated, all the frames and metaphors and worldview structures are activated again and strengthened -- because recurring activation strengthens neural connections. Negation doesn't help. "I'm against the War on Terror" just activates the War on Terror metaphor and strengthens what you're against. Accepting the language of issue and arguing the other side just hurts your own cause.'

    Drew Westen, a psychology professor and political consultant, supports Lakoff's statements as well as his contention that in America these techniques have been exploited far more intelligently by the political right than by the center and left, which are hampered by what Soros calls "the Enlightenment fallacy" -- that is, the fallacious assumption (dating from the 18th century) that freedom of thought and speech will ensure that reason will prevail. The media and the Democratic leadership, Westen says, are unwittingly "smuggling Trojan horses into popular discourse" by parroting terminology created by those in power, "essentially advertising the 'product line' of the Republican party and selling its 'brand.' "

    From Barnes & Noble book review by Brooke Allen:
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/...

    George Lakoff, an author and professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley who calls himself a "cognitive activist," says this: "One of the fundamental findings of cognitive science is that people think in terms of frames and metaphors – conceptual structures. The frames are in the synapses of our brains – physically present in the form of neural circuitry. When the facts don't fit the frames, the frames are kept and the facts ignored."
    In other words, forget winning on the facts or the science. It's all about the story. And once stories take hold, they're hard to dislodge. "
    http://www.alternet.org/...

    ----------------------------------
    "It goes against our nature; but the left has to start asserting its own values"
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    SNIPPET:
    . . . . . Common Cause, written by Tom Crompton of the environment group WWF, examines a series of fascinating recent advances in the field of psychology. It offers, I believe, a remedy to the blight that now afflicts every good cause from welfare to climate change.

    Progressives, he shows, have been suckers for a myth of human cognition he labels the enlightenment model. This holds that people make rational decisions by assessing facts. All that has to be done to persuade people is to lay out the data: they will then use it to decide which options best support their interests and desires.

    A host of psychological experiments demonstrate that it doesn't work like this. Instead of performing a rational cost-benefit analysis, we accept information that confirms our identity and values, and reject information that conflicts with them. We mould our thinking around our social identity, protecting it from serious challenge. Confronting people with inconvenient facts is likely only to harden their resistance to change.

    SNIP

    Our social identity is formed by a mixture of values. But psychological tests in nearly 70 countries show that values cluster in remarkably consistent patterns. Those who strongly value financial success, for example, have less empathy, stronger manipulative tendencies, a stronger attraction to hierarchy and inequality, stronger prejudices towards strangers and less concern about human rights and the environment. Those with a strong sense of self-acceptance have more empathy and greater concern for human rights, social justice and the environment. These values suppress each other: the stronger someone's extrinsic aspirations, the weaker his or her intrinsic goals.

    We are not born with our values. They are shaped by the social environment. By changing our perception of what is normal and acceptable, politics alters our minds as much as our circumstances.

    Writing in The New York Times in 1971 and surveying the problem of intolerance and violence worldwide, Dr.[Paul] MacLean found that “language barriers among nations present great obstacles.”

    “But the greatest language barrier,” he concluded, “lies between man and his animal brains; the neural machinery does not exist for intercommunication in verbal terms.”
    Neuroscientist Who Devised ‘Triune Brain’ Theory

    ~
    This Is Your Brain on Metaphors
    By ROBERT SAPOLSKY
    SNIP
    "Jonathan Haidt, of the University of Virginia, has shown how viscera and emotion often drive our decisionmaking, with conscious cognition mopping up afterward, trying to come up with rationalizations for that gut decision. .. . ."
    SNIP
    "Nelson Mandela was wrong when he advised, “Don’t talk to their minds; talk to their hearts.” He meant talk to their insulas and cingulate cortices and all those other confused brain regions, because that confusion could help make for a better world."

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...

  •  Their evil culture war has lots of casualties, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    Lots of innocent ones. The evil want to be free to murder children in their school.

  •  It seems the NRA loves being racist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    I mean this guy just reeks of the typical right winger.

  •  I love Mom in the commercial waving her gun (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax, Dirtandiron

    at her kid's head.

    Yep, there's gun training.

    We will never be free from fear as long as we fear the NRA.

    by captainlaser on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:10:49 PM PDT

  •  If it's a culture war, they're going to lose (0+ / 0-)

    And I think they see the writing on the wall.  You can tell this for one easy reason: Their push for legislation that they hope will promote and revitalize their gun culture.  Legislators , and now even the NRA president wants everyone to be trained.  And who's gonna make that happen? The government.   The market, i.e., ordinary people making decisions, is condemning the gun culture to a slow death.  So the gun lobby is turning to governments in states to reverse that and preserve their market.

    This is a classic case of using government power to maintain and revitalize a culture, and you only do it when you see that it's dying out on its own.  I'll use the common example of language policy, which has been used in many cases to preserve and revitalize languages and ethnic cultures the world over.  (Québec's efforts with French being the example closest to home). In parentheses, I'll put the gun culture equivalent.

    For instance, if you want to maintain the use of a language, you pass laws legalizing and promoting its use in public (spread of concealed carry, enshrining gun values in state constitutions), mandate that public institutions to allow or even use it (forbidding schools and colleges from setting their own gun policies), require everyone to need to use it at some point (mandatory militia training proposed this week), and require its use in schools (mandatory "gun appreciation" classes offered by several state legislators).

    That last point is important, because the surest way to transmit culture is by raising children in it, so that it becomes normal to them and valued by them.  That's why gun manufacturers are turning to children's guns, as if these were ordinary toys, not grown-up tools that are damn good at what they're designed to do: KILL.  Most sane people are aware of that, and don't buy guns for their kids.  Hell, even hunter-gatherer cultures, where hunting is actually a necessity, don't take their kids along.   When it's a "hobby" or a "tradition", and not something you actually need to survive, involving kids is simply ridiculous, and most of us are aware of that.  Besides, as fewer and fewer children do things like hunt (which requires going outside), efforts must be made by governments, often by coercion and compulsion if you want to stem the tide.  

    So, that's how we know we're winning.  They're doing all this government effort because they have to, whereas they didn't have to before.  And these efforts will not be successful, because of the nature of the culture.  I mean, when the Québeckers got French-language and culture laws passed, it annoyed a lot of English-speaking Canadians, but the culture it preserved does not lead to (the equivalent of) 30,000 dead and 70,000 wounded citizens every year.  

    It's easy for people in the gun culture to not see how many Americans are truly disgusted by the notion of actually getting a thrill out of guns, as opposed to just using them as tools to get certain jobs done.  That number grows, and as the gun culture's spokespeople get crazier in public, the number will grow further.  And that will be very bad news for the gun culture in America.

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:10:00 PM PDT

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