Friday, December 21, 2012
They are the Tyrone Biggums of Interest Groups: On Political Crack, Post-Sandy Hook the NRA's Solution is More Guns Equals Less Crime
I hope you will all be having a restful holiday weekend. I send you well-wishes and good energy for the New Year and I appreciate all of the kind folks who contribute to our conversations here on WARN. I have two great podcasts on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, race, masculinity, and America's gun culture, that I will be sharing after the holiday. Do look out for them.
The NRA has finally chimed in on the Newtown Shooting. The public is exhausted by our "national" conversation about mass shootings and "gun rights." The NRA's timing was great insofar as most folks are distracted by the holidays and will not be watching the news. Fate has a dark sense of humor: the NRA conference devolved into a spectacle; and as timing would have it, there was a shooting in Pennsylvania, leaving four people dead, that coincided with said event.
The NRA's solution to the epidemic of gun violence in the United States and the unique scale of its mass shootings (a crime committed overwhelmingly by white men, but where race and gender will never be interrogated as variables) is more guns. The empirical data on gun violence does not support their argument.
The common sense regarding the matter does not support their hypothesis either. The United States is a country awash with guns. But more guns will somehow reach a tipping point where our children and others will be made safe from gun violence...I riddle you that one. To eliminate "gun free zones" as a solution to gun violence is simply one more example of the magical thinking common to the Right in contemporary America.
As I pointed out here, it is extremely difficult for trained personnel to respond to an armed assailant in a situation such as Columbine or Newtown; to suggest that a teacher or rent-a-cop would not make matters worse is right out of a comic book. Superman can fly and punch holes through walls. Joe and Jane Q. Public are not going to be able to effectively respond to an armed shooter who has the tactical initiative and is determined to kill everyone around him or her. A fully armed public--what are really vigilantes--that the NRA wants to create, are not the Punisher.
The NRA is unwilling to pursue common sense gun solutions because there is no political, economic, or moral consequence for them not doing so. Gun companies are indemnified from lawsuits. As such, there is no consequence when guns are used to kill dozens of people because said weapons worked as designed. And ultimately, too many Americans actually believe that they are Minutemen in waiting, and have the ability to balance the State's monopoly on force.
The Gun Right is stuck on a type of path dependence in their thinking about public safety and the violence caused by firearms. Guns, guns, and more guns are the only solution to the problem; their magical fetish object made of plastic and metal is a universal tool that can be used to solve all problems.
The Gun Right and the NRA are like crackheads where the solution to any problem is another hit from the glass pipe. They are Tyrone Biggums, chasing the next thrill from the guns which they worship at the expense of the public's safety. Tragically, Tyrone Bigguns and folks like him tend to only hurt themselves. By comparison, the Gun Right has the blood of many thousands more on their hands.
When is the NRA going to enter rehab?