After a week of no comments, the NRA finally released a statement regarding the horrific Sandy Hook shooting and their solution to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. They also revealed empathy is not a virtue among their organization’s leaders.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre kicked off today’s conference strong, patting his organization on the back for remaining silent this past week while others “exploit tragedy for political gain.” Perhaps he is referencing the survivors of the Aurora and Arizona shootings, who have been making public appearances advocating for more gun control after this latest massacre.
Lapierre took this opportunity to finally explain to the public what is at the root of this latest string of shootings: violent media. Lapierre cited the following examples for the corruption of our citizens that could lead an individual to possibly end the lives of 20 children and 6 adults:
- Bulletstorm (videogame)
- Grand Theft Auto (videogame)
- Mortal Kombat (videogame)
- American Psycho (film)
- Natural Born Killers (film)
Like you, I have seen or played at least one (if not multiple) items on this listing. This is a tired and desperate argument that has reached a point of absurdity in our history too many times to count.
In 1954, when there were Senate Subcommittee Hearings on Juvenile Delinquency, what was the lead culprit destroying our youth? Bill Gaines’ EC Comics: specifically, the horror titles including (the brilliant) Tales from the Crypt.
In 1984, Ozzy Osbourne was famously taken to court for murder by the parents of a fan who killed himself while listening to Ozzy’s song, “Suicide Solution.” The track is actually a tribute to former AC/DC singer Bon Scott, who died of alcohol poisoning. The case was dismissed.
A 2010 study by the Review of General Psychology, found there is no link showing that aggression in children originates from violent video games. Guest editor Christopher J. Ferguson explains just the opposite can occur: “Recent research has shown that as video games have become more popular, children in the United States and Europe are having fewer behavior problems, are less violent and score better on standardized tests.”
The NRA mostly ignores one of the major issues contributing to this epidemic of shootings: mental illness. During the press conference it was only mentioned once.
Now that we know the core to the NRA’s argument is rotten, here’s their solution: armed guards in every school.
You have to give the NRA credit; they chose the one solution that would see their membership rise and gun sales soar.
Lapierre doubled down on insanity with this great quote that will likely be making the press circuit for some time: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Here’s an idea, asshole: how about we prevent the bad guy from getting a gun in the first place?
This plan that the NRA took a week to compile only applies to schools. Which means it would have had no effect on the Oregon shooting… Which occurred in a mall. Or the Aurora, Colorado theatre shooting.
The idea is to station an armed police officer in every school, but the NRA will not be covering the costs. Good luck getting that through a Congress that blocked a fully funded First Responders jobs bill.
The head of this NRA program, former congressman Asa Hutchinson, further explained how this may work without law enforcement’s involvement: “Instead, it’ll make use of local volunteers serving in their own communities.”
Ask Trayvon Martin’s parents if that is a good idea.
Finally, as anyone that has followed the horrific Columbine tragedy may recall, the school did have an armed guard.
The three things we really need are: emphasis on mental healthcare accessibility reform, more thorough background checks, and new gun control legislation. These things are all absent from the NRA’s proposal.
Since our last entry, Senator Dianne Feinstein has proposed a new assault weapons ban that would include a prohibition on high-capacity magazines (which have been used in nearly every mass shooting, including the Sandy Hook tragedy). It is an excellent step in the right direction.
We are finally doing what we should have done in 2009 after the Fort Hood shooting: having a national discussion. Let’s make sure we have something to show for it.