If you watched the recent Democrat debates, you could be forgiven for thinking that the United States of America is beset by an evil and malevolent force, the National Rifle Association. Candidate after candidate spoke of the NRA as a dark and sinister organization responsible for violence and death.
In the week after the debates, two tragic mass shootings, not to mention other “regular” gun deaths, spotlighted these remarks. As I write these words, my membership renewal notice from the NRA is on my desk.
I’d like to explain why I intend extending my membership. Of course, there is no amorphous blob “THE NRA.” It is a membership organization that represents millions of Americans. We are hunters and non-hunters, old and young, male and female, and made up of individuals belonging to many religions, colors, ethnicities and backgrounds.
Here’s the salient point: Leftist media and the Democrat candidates on those stages present a picture of a spectrum with kind, loving people who intelligently support gun control on one end. In this mistaken view, the opposing side must be made up of cruel, hateful and stupid people who support the NRA. (Alternatively, and since casting millions of Americans as Deplorable didn’t seem to work so well last election cycle, they present the NRA as if it has a life of its own, rather like Athena who sprouted full-grown from Zeus’ head.)
As I see it, the real-life citizens who advocate for and against increased gun control legislation are not actually far apart. Overwhelmingly, most of them are good and loving people who mourn innocent victims of violence (gun-related or not) and who want citizens to walk the streets, shop and sleep in safety. They want that safety to exist within a free society rather than under a tyrannical police state. The difference is only on how to achieve that wholesome and safe society. If politicians were truly interested in reducing gun deaths more than they are invested in growing their own power, the concerns on both sides could be addressed. Nothing people can do can make life 100% safe, but we could do better. Demonizing the NRA may send a thrill down the leg of Democrat primary voters, but it does nothing to make lives safer.
A search for NRA or guns on the home Musings page will show how many times I’ve written on this subject. I don’t have anything new to say. The tragedies are increasing as the responses to these events remain manipulative, sophomoric and ineffectual. We have long passed the point of being able to discuss difficult and complex issues in this country in an intelligent and honest way. I’m not the only person who dismisses out of hand most of what appears in news reports knowing, based on evidence, that bias outweighs fact. Sadly, many of the politicians and media self-servingly responding histrionically to these events perpetuate a divide that mitigates against wise and prudent action.
My tears and prayers are with those who are mourning this week. They are individuals who deserve better than being used dispassionately by self-aggrandizers seeking to lump these mourners together as a bludgeon with which to advance their own beliefs.