W. A. Barrett, 5/27/2010
comments welcomed: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently picked up a magazine called "America's 1st Freedom", published by the NRA, dated May 2010.
The magazine is quite amazing in its extreme positions on firearm regulation and the tight connection of the NRA to the radical right, Fox News and what now passes for the GOP leadership.
I think my father (an Isaac Walton league member, small game hunter in Nebraska, gunsmith, former police officer, very cautious about weapons at home) would roll over in his grave if he knew what direction the NRA has taken under the sterling leadership of Wayne LaPierre. Dad took me to firing ranges, and taught me about the negative consequences of depending on firearms for safety. Also keeping them and their ammo under lock and key at home. Although he was armed as a police officer, and later as a pawn shop owner, he never kept a loaded weapon at home. Being near a phone (or cellphone) to call the police is a lot safer for everyone all around.
Here are some of my observations, all from this magazine:
· Full back page ad offering a video to show anyone how to carry a concealed weapon anywhere, including places where it's outlawed. Also "your odds of neutralizing a bad guy..." This ad was bought by the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, which you can Google if you are interested in violating the law in many states:
· Two full pages and a half page about a forthcoming NRA convention in Charlotte, NC. The principal speakers? Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich. Bold letters: "Bring the kids!" Also featured: Oliver North. Prayers offered by Pastor Jonathan Falwell. (I think Pastor Jonathan is Jerry Falwell's son, presumably keeping up the televangelist’s business). And yes, Hannity is the famous guy from Fox News. I didn't see Bill O'Reilly featured, maybe he's busy at Fox during the convention. Wayne LaPierre is also featured, but of course, he would be. No one else of any consequence. I think they should invite John Kerry, a hunter, war hero, but -- gasp – he’s a Democrat and supports gun control! Oh, and where is Rush Limbaugh in all this? Many political pundits now consider Rush the ideological leader of the GOP, not the wanna-be front-runners like Palin or Gingrich. The headline reads: “Celebrate American Values in Charlotte”:
· Full page ad for a "Pride of the South" confederate ring, from the Bradford Exchange. (Sorry -- no comparable ring for the Union Army patriots):
· Article expressing anger that the feds actually continue to restrict firearms in the national forests. Although the Obama administration has loosened the restrictions recently, apparently that’s not good enough for these guys. Ya gotta have those goons free to blast away at each other, at visitors, elks, and "bad guys", obviously.
· Several articles dissing the "Brady Bunch", you know, the movement to get guns better regulated.
· George W. Bush is still popular with someone. Beretta crafted a shotgun with a hand-carved stock, and gave it to George. Evidently the NRA considers owning a shotgun as the “FirstThing”. I’ve given up trying to decipher George’s facial expressions, so I’ll let you try:
· No mention anywhere about the 2nd amendment "In order to establish a well-regulated militia...", only "the right to bear arms...". Well, there are private militias, so I’m told, but they aren’t “well-regulated” by anyone’s standard.
· Cute little ad for a "gun concealment book". The book cover looks pretty ostentatious, red letter cover, etc. Inside you've got your favorite Glock ready to dispatch any bad guy that wanders into your library. Makes you look literate, too, provided you have a few other books in your library:
· A cute little ad out of Texas about a "Bond Arms Snake Slayer". (I kid you not). This classy little double-barreled revolver takes shotgun shells, just to do in some water moccasin that threatens you. (or some other kind of ‘snake’). The cartoon is particularly vivid – lesson: don’t go fishing without this little baby in your holster:
· A full page ad for a Cuckoo Clock, featuring John Wayne stepping out of the barroom doors, ready to blast someone off the planet. (A Cuckoo clock? Do they realize the irony of this?)
· A full page ad offering Mauser rifles, exactly like the ones issued to Hitler's Army and snipers. The Nazis aren't mentioned here, but that connection to particular militia groups is pretty obvious.
· In the mail call, a letter with bold type, "Happiness is a Warm Gun".
· This fellow is pictured in another ad selling gun holsters. Enough to give you shivers in the middle of the night, if you aren’t already terrified:
· Plenty of gun ads, of course, but also a little ad offering Viagra. Are some of those gun nuts having problems with their sex life? ViaMediaTM seems to think so: "Safe - Secure - Discreet". Discreet? It had better be, or you'd be drummed out of your militia to a chorus of hoots and hollers.
Well, what surprised me was the really cozy connection of the NRA to Fox News and the GOP. Obama gets kicked for not pushing hard enough for gun freedom, of course. I sort of knew that, but this mag really lays it out there. I’m not sure whether the NRA is registered as a non-profit charitable foundation, but – if so – they have no business being so cozy with one political party.
It's also clear that these guys are terrified about running around in public without any personal firearm defense. This magazine, plus all the vivid (and fictitious) crime shows on TV (Fox is just one of many outlets) help keep their paranoia alive and well. I also sense a strong fear of not appearing manly enough (the sex thing again) should they be confronted with an armed bandit on a date. Or not being able to blast away a burglar in their house.
The facts are that your odds of getting the best of an armed street thug are pretty small, and even smaller if you have a weapon on you. Try pulling out your Glock with the guy at your back with a knife at your throat. Walking around totally alert to any sort of danger, including someone coming up from behind, is just paranoid. What, are you going to always creep along the street with your back to the wall?
Also, there are about ten mistaken firearm deaths of family members at home for every one real burglar actually shot or held with your pistol. If you suspect a burglar in the middle of the night, your approach has to be to shoot first and ask questions later. Doesn't matter if it's your wife, daughter, son, etc. up for a toilet break at 2 am, and in the firing line.
If I sensed that some friend had this attitude, and was armed for bear, I would not want to stay overnight in their home.
But you don't hear that from the NRA!
Anyone out there willing to get shot by going to the Charlotte convention and waving a protest sign about gun violence?