The N.R.A.

[Another timely repeat – from February 22, 2018] When I was a kid, my father sent me down to the local creek to shoot rats.  Big Norway rats.  I used a BB gun or a single shot .22 loaded with CB shorts.  When I was 14, I was on staff at a Boy Scout camp in Wisconsin.  I got on the school bus for the ride up north with my knapsack and my Stevens Model 416 .22 caliber bolt action target rifle.  Plus two boxes of ammunition.  Art T. brought pistols to camp since he was on a pistol team back home.  Since we arrived on Sunday, we put our guns under our bunks and on Monday checked them in to the rifle range for the duration of the summer.  No one ever thought of doing something violent or hurtful to another person.  Many of the boys were junior members of the NRA.  I was for a couple years.  But never since. 

I believe that folks who want guns for hunting, target shooting or protection should have them.  But I oppose semi-automatic weapons, bump stocks, massive clips or military-style weapons.  They are not necessary.  Nor are they contemplated by the Second Amendment.  The NRA is no more.  It is not the National Rifle Association.  It is now the National Assault Rifle Association.  Maybe the National Bump Stock Association.  The current NRA seems to ignore the gun violence that suffocates our nation.  Instead, they preach the same sermon that most weapons should be legal.  With little limitation.  Easy on the background checks.  As we all know, some NRA members crave automatic weapons.  And bazookas.  And RPG’s.  “Pry my cold dead fingers. . . . .”   

But one should at least understand the NRA’s position since there are those on the other side who believe that by confiscating all weapons, violence will come to an end.  But then there are some [probably the same folks] who proclaim that even those who are mentally ill and prone to violence (as we have seen in the recent mass shootings) cannot be forced to take meds or have institutional treatment unless the individual agrees.  That’s just ducky.   Toxic attitudes. Toxic agendas.  Toxic results.

With such extreme positions – competing for legitimacy – it is tough to find common ground.  And common sense.  We need to do something.  But sanity and compromise seem to have gone out the window.  

NRA – Follow up

I had some pushback on my post regarding the NRA (or the “NARA” if you prefer). While agreeing that banning assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, and big magazines and clips would be smart, one person disagreed that some people wish to ban all guns. This person also felt the mental health component is not relevant to discussion of the NRA.  By discussing collateral issues, we “fall into the trap” set by the NRA.   

In my post of October 8, 2017, I explained why we are suffering these binges of violence.  And it’s not just guns.  And on February 12, 2017, I talked about Chicago violence.  

Peggy Noonan in her Wall Street Journal article titled “The Air we Breathe” (February 22, 2018) suggested that the last four decades have encouraged a society that is disposed to violence.  “The family blew up – divorce, unwed childbearing.  Fatherless sons [and daughters].  Poor children with no one to love them.  The internet flourished.  Porn proliferated.  Drugs, legal and illegal.  Violent videogames, in which nameless people are eliminated and spattered all over the screen. . . .The abortion regime settled in with its fierce, endless casual talk about the right to end a life.”  CDC reports that as many as 20% of all children 3 to 17 have mental or emotional illness.  Those numbers are growing.  Then of course there is the debasement of religion, the strangulation of free speech, an accusation generation (forget due process) and partisan politics that we have not seen since the Civil War.  We hurl epithets instead of engage in civil discourse.   It’s the air we breathe. . . . (please – see http://www.peggynoonan.com/ ).  

Ms. Noonan concludes that our politicians might consider “trade banning assault weapons for banning late-term abortion.  Make illegal a killing machine and a killing procedure.”  What’s not to like?