This morning, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre held a press conference, meant to be the NRA’s response and “meaningful contribution” to the Newtown shooting that occurred one week ago. Rather than surprise the audience by actually taking some responsibility for promoting a gun-crazy, shooting-first-and-ask-questions-later culture, LaPierre did what was sadly expected: he denied any culpability for the incident and proposed that schools start hiring armed police officers to protect children.
The only way to answer that question is to face up to the truth. Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them.
And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.
In essence, LaPierre is intimating that if we really wanted to protect children we’d have more guns, not less. And that, my friends, is the NRA’s “meaningful contribution” to the Newtown question. (As an aside, wonder what conservative, libertarian NRA members must think of a proposition that would encourage spending tax payers’ money to hire police officers…)
LaPierre then spent the next portion of his speech fearmongering, offering that children are our most precious resource, and they’re constantly being prayed upon by gun-wielding maniacs. But you know, not the same gun-wielding maniacs that the NRA has lobbied on behalf of in the past.
Once he got through that, LaPierre took to task violent video games, claiming that Mortal Combat and Natural Born Killers are actually the reason people kill each other.
There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.
Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come
my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?
Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like “American Psycho” and “Natural Born Killers” that are aired like propaganda loops on “Splatterdays” and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it “entertainment.”
He then offered an oversimplistic equivalency:
So why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect our President or our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to protect our children in their schools?
And then the big “solution-oriented” finish:
I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.
So there you have it: The NRA’s answer is (not surprisingly) to fight fire with fire. Because clearly, a violent culture rife with first-person video games and bloody movies is way worse than watching a police officer shoot someone in your elementary school. More police, more guns, more profit for the gun industry.
What LaPierre should have done to bolster his cause: Spent more time apologizing and empathizing with the Newtown victims and their family. Offered a defense of the second amendment if he must, and then shut the fuck up. What he did: Propose a program that blamed everything but guns for the deaths of the children of Newtown. He managed to put the blame on schools for not adequately using guns to protect kids. Uh huh.
There was a bright spot to the incredibly tone deaf, infuriating press conference: Two members from the group Code Pink managed to make their way in front of LaPierre’s podium and unfurl signs reading “NRA Killing Our Kids.” They held the sign up for several minutes before security took them away, shouting “The NRA is killing our children.”
And as if to add irony to insult: As LaPierre was speaking, reports began coming in that another mass shooting just happened in Pennsylvania. According to Blair County, Pennsylvania, officials, at least four people are dead and five more wounded, including two state troopers (who presumably were carrying guns).