I was stuck in traffic this morning, so rather than running around UCLA listening to the music of my iPhone’s choosing, I listened to the first 20 minutes of NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre’s screed against the media, because the biggest victim of last week’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was, of course, the NRA.
I can’t imagine anything more tone deaf and insensitive than LaPierre’s speech. I won’t call his event a press conference, since he could have simply mailed his hateful statement to the media on Monday and embargoed it until today. He didn’t take any questions, the NRA didn’t back off one iota from it’s “don’t talk about guns” mantra, and, given instances where LaPierre repeated himself,* clearly no one spent any time editing his bile.
And I’d think his statement was horrible even if all it consisted of was his lunatic plan to throw a soft-bellied retired cop in front of every school in the country. There’s actually some evidence on this front: it wouldn’t work, except to make clear who a shooter’s first target should be:
In fact, there was an armed sheriff’s deputy at Columbine High School the day of the shooting. There was an armed citizen in the Clackamas Mall in Oregon during a shooting earlier this month. There was an armed citizen at the Gabby Giffords shooting – and he almost shot the unarmed hero who tackled shooter Jared Loughner. Virtually every university in the county already has its own police force. Virginia Tech had its own SWAT-like team. As James Brady, Ronald Reagan’s former press secretary cum gun control advocate, often notes, he was shot along with the president, despite the fact that they were surrounded by dozens of heavily armed and well-trained Secret Service agents and police.
But that assumes that the NRA is serious, as opposed to hoping against hope that people will stop focusing in guns. So we get this:
Out of respect for the families and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment.
Which didn’t stop LaPierre from suggesting that movies that Adam Lanza may or may not have seen and video games that Lanza may or may not have played is the root cause of gun violence.
In fact, the only time LaPierre mentioned guns or bullets in the context of the Sandy Hook shootings was to complain about how the gun and the bullets were being inaccurately described:
The media calls semi-automatic fire arms, machine guns. They claim these civilian semi-automatic fire arms are used by the military. They tell us that the .223 is one of the most powerful rifle calibers, when all of these claims are factually untrue, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
I’m sure that the friends and families of Noah Pozner, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, Caroline Previdi, Olivia Engel, Madeleine F. Hsu, Allison N. Wyatt, Jesse Lewis, Catherine V. Hubbard, Emilie Parker, Jessica Rekos, Jack Pinto, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, James Mattioli , Dylan Hockley, Charlotte Bacon, Josephine Gay, Grace McDonnell, Chase Kowalski, Daniel Barden,Victoria Soto, Rachel Davino, Lauren Rousseau, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, and Mary Sherlach are comforted in the knowledge that the Bushmaster AR-15 is not a military weapon, and that the .223 caliber bullets that shredded the flesh of their loved ones aren’t, in fact, the most powerful rifle caliber.
Yeah, Wayne – fuck you.
I had a fleeting thought, as LaPierre was interrupted multiple times by protesters: had I shown up at the LaPierre statement with an AR-15, would I have been allowed inside? Something tells me that the NRA’s embrace of guns, guns everywhere has its limits.
In a just world, the NRA would be considered a fringe organization. People wouldn’t listen to them, much less broadcast a spittle-infested statement by a spokesman who’d better hope that the United States doesn’t develop the “active national database of the mentally ill” whose absence he descried, because I can only assume that the name of Wayne LaPierre would be at the top of that list.
George H.W. Bush famously quit the NRA after one of their officials referred to ATF agents as jackbooted thugs “wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms.” Want to guess who that was? Yeah, our very own Wayne LaPierre.
From now on, membership in the NRA should be as toxic as being a birther, which is to say that lots of Republicans will stay on, but NRA Democrats – get out now, stop listening to crazy people, and do something about guns.
*For example: “…the National Rifle Association knows there are millions of qualified and active retired police, active, Reserve, and retired military, security professionals, certified firefighters, security professionals, rescue personnel, an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained, qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every single school.”