You have to give it to Wayne LaPierre. He knows how to fire up a crowd. The executive vice president of the National Rifle Association went before the media today and addressed the brutal massacre that occurred one week ago in Newtown, Connecticut.
According to Mr. LaPierre the monstrous attack was caused by everyone and everything except the NRA and the presence of assault style weapons in our so called culture. He blamed Hollywood movies, video games, music, the courts, gun free zones on school campuses and of course, the media.
He wants a cop in every school, saying, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Well sometimes. The Slate reports that on April 20th, 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado an armed sheriff's deputy named Neil Gardner was on duty as a security officer. He had been stationed there for a couple of years. Before that day was over Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had murdered twelve fellow students and one teacher with semi automatic weapons.
Mr. LaPierre went on to blame the federal government for not aggressively prosecuting those who illegally own weapons. He failed to mention that all the weapons involved in the spree shootings over the last few years had been bought legally and were duly registered to their owners.
In addition he was critical that there isn't a national data base that makes a list of mentally ill and presumably unqualified gun owners available during background checks. Unfortunately for the babies in Newtown, the theater patrons in Aurora, Colorado, and a bunch of college kids at Virginia Tech such a data base would have been useless. Adam Lanza, James Holmes, and Seung-Hui Cho wouldn't have turned up on any of them. Despite multiple red flags, especially with Seung-Hui, they all had slipped through the cracks for one reason or another. In Fact Holmes' only offense up until he opened fire had been a traffic ticket. The only clue that he was, as they say, a little funny in the head was his visits to a school psychiatrist who took no action to have him hospitalized. Lanza's deteriorating mental health was apparently a carefully guarded secret, kept zealously by his mother. Until he blew her head off he was totally under every one's radar.
Mr. LaPierre claims the media's extensive coverage of such tragedies does nothing but encourage copycat killers. I guess if you're him you have to say something. Besides it probably would benefit the NRA if no one knew 20 six and seven year olds were gunned down ruthlessly in their classrooms. Hey, if no one talks about it, it didn't happen did it? And if it didn't happen you can't blame the NRA for encouraging what amounts to a nationwide war zone.That is where they are going with this you know. They want a society so paranoid, so frightened of itself that everyone will own a gun.
The reaction to LaPierre's remarks were fairly swift. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it a "shameful evasion" and described it as "devoid of soul searching." Former Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steel was quoted as saying, "I don't even know where to begin." He added, "I just found it very haunting and disturbing that our country is now talking about arming our teachers and principals in classrooms."
It is going to be a long battle and the NRA is going to fight every two bit regulation, every proposed act that would restrict even the most deadly of weapons and the accompanying high capacity ammunition clips. They are going to seek to intimidate law makers and they are going to wage a delaying action as the memory of this latest outrage fades from those not directly impacted by it. They are going to look us all straight in the face and say more guns are the only solution to the gun violence in this country. They will be lying. The NRA has blood on its hands and if the leadership of the organization cannot accept that reality they are delusional and, you guessed it, should be declared mentally ill and banned from owning weapons.
Meanwhile, NBC news is reporting that in central Pennsylvania three people were murdered by a gunman, who was then either killed by the cops, or committed suicide. Three state troopers were wounded.
Stay tuned. The hits just keep on coming.