Disclaimer: This isn’t a parenting post, per se. Unless, like me, you have kids and are scared for their safety. Then it’s definitely a parenting post.
As I said in a Facebook update late last night, one that has thus far cost me a devastating 18 followers (and counting), I don’t usually discuss this country’s gun control issue, for several reasons. (The least of which is that I prefer discussing how much I hate my son to discussing things I actually hate.)
But when my friend Carter Gaddis posted an honest take on his concerns with NRA membership on his DadScribe blog, I felt compelled to share it. Because I agree with a lot of it.
Of course, when I shared it, all the reasons I never jumped in to the debate jumped out at me. But, if I may speak for Carter, people misunderstood his post.
And that’s exactly what the NRA wants.
Here’s the thing: Carter’s problem – and mine – isn’t with people who own guns, or even with people who are in the NRA.
It’s with people who think owning s gun is something to brag about. Or, short of that, people who think, after all the carnage of the past day/month/year/decade/century/HISTORY, the NRA is a cool crew to ride with. These are people whom, indirectly or not, the NRA has patiently and purposefully cultivated and manipulated into seeing no distinction between owning a gun and owning EVERY GUN, between owning a gun for hunting and sport and owning a gun for sex appeal and status and a largely mythical idea of “self-defense.” People who see no distinction between gun control and fascism, between finding a solution and taking away freedom.
I don’t care if you own a gun. I do care if you think the NRA is a noble institution whose membership is worth boasting about.
Guess what? The NRA doesn’t care about you any more than they care about the victims of the latest massacre. They are just happy that you’re buying the company line and being banner men for their army.
The National Stifle Association doesn’t care about you any more than the imaginary black president who is coming for your guns and your women cares about you. The NRA’s leadership and their agenda is for power and influence and profit and nothing more. Whatever they once were, whatever nobility of purpose they once had and continue to pretend to uphold- defense against tyranny and intelligent apes and boogeymen who want your Blu-Ray collection – is no longer relevant.
Their leadership has become blind to the realities of the dangers of what they’re promoting. No, most gun owners aren’t criminals or killers, but most people who are for stronger gun control have never said that. Unfortunately, the NRA makes it impossible to hear what anyone who opposes them is actually saying by refusing to give an inch, refusing to even consider that there might be a solution that involves stricter gun laws. This close-mindedness and reactionary closing of the ranks is the very attitude that makes people who support the NRA seem like criminals and killers. And that’s where they’ve got you.
They preach that membership in their club is righteous because they’re righteous and their cause is righteous, all the while using their numbers and our fear to maintain the status quo. The reasonable people within the NRA swear that they’re reasonable people but the all-or-nothing stance they’ve been sold and they promote on their leadership’s behalf makes you seem anything but. Only crazy people refuse to compromise; only crazy people refuse to listen to reason. Especially in the face of recent history.
No one is saying we want to take everyone’s guns or eliminate rights or enslave America. We’re just saying let’s consider doing something!
Is it not amazing that after all this insanity we can’t even begin to consider it?
But no, we can’t. The NRA doesn’t allow room for consideration. The NRA doesnt allow room for rationality. Rationality leads to slightly fewer guns and slightly stronger laws and slightly less MONEY and slightly less INFLUENCE and that’s all they want. They already have plenty of it. But they want more. And they definitely don’t want less. And their everyday membership is helping them keep what they’ve got and go for more.
They use fear to intimidate and frighten normal, responsible gun owners into digging in against even the most basic, the most obvious laws that might slightly just maybe a little tiny bit prevent the shootings that have become an almost daily occurrence in this country. And they use their money and influence to bully and cajole already corrupt politicians into backing their lobby.
That’s why a decal is alarming. That’s why loudly proclaiming your allegiance to a group that isn’t all bad but certainly has its priorities mixed up is alarming. If you’re standing up and and shouting for gun protection over people protection, you’re either brainwashed, shockingly unaware or potentially very dangerous.
Where is your allegiance? To a lobby that is out for nothing but profit and power? Or to the citizens of this country that are watching innocent people die every day because too many of us buy into bullshit fear mongering from a group that just wants us buying more of their products, and is succeeding! Every mass shorting sees gun sales spike. If that isn’t a frightening, even almost funny indication that we are at best misguided and at worst completely under the sway of our perverted gun culture, as paid for and proposed by the NRA, then I dont know what is.
Most people that are members of the NRA aren’t bad people, but they do buy into the us versus them mentality, a mentality completely devoid of nuance because nuance allows doubt and doubt promotes independent thought and that’s the last thing they want. They want us scared, scared of each other and scared of ourselves. It’s the same thing the one-percent want, and the worst politicians want, because it allows for consolidation of power and profit. The sooner we stop lump in ourselves into groups and reciting the same talking points and we start thinking for ourselves and pushing back against the totems at the top of the poles, the better off we’ll all be.
An NRA decal might as well be a Confederate flag. You can pretend it means something reasonable and rationale and innocuous, any maybe at one point it did. But times have changed. No matter what it means to you, it also indicates the potential for something far worse.
Symbols change. The world has changed. You can’t ignore the new context, the new connotation, that certain symbols and allegiances may carry. A swastika once stood for peace, but there’s not a person alive that remembers that.
Whatever your NRA decal once stood for is long gone. Now all it stands for is senseless death and callous, inhuman inflexibility.
Whether you own guns or not, is that really what you want to promote?