By now, you’ve probably heard that the National Rifle Association’s considered response to the horror of Newtown was (a) we need more guns in the schools, in the form of federally-funded armed guards, and (b) it’s all the video game industry’s fault, with an assist from Hollywood.
Negative reaction to the NRA’s comments is pouring in. There’s something in it for everyone to hate – even small-government conservatives were surely taken aback by the proposal for many millions of federal dollars spent on new guns for “retired police, active, Reserve, and retired military, security professionals, certified firefighters, security professionals, rescue personnel.” And, as many have already pointed out, there were two armed guards in Columbine High School who tried to stop the shooters. They failed.
Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT), who represents Newtown in the House and who will soon be sworn in as Connecticut’s next Senator, had this to say, and he’s exactly right:
He called it “the most revolting, tone-deaf statement” he’s heard.
“While Newtown continues the horrifying work of burying twenty children and six adults, the NRA has the gall to say that the solution to this problem is more, not fewer guns.
“The NRA has now made itself completely irrelevant to the national conversation about preventing gun violence, by saying that the answer to the tragedy in Newtown is to put more deadly semi-automatic assault weapons on the streets and into our schools.”
Also worth a read is the New York Times’ editorial:
we were stunned by [NRA executive VP Wayne] LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant.
Mr. LaPierre looked wild-eyed at times as he said the killing was the fault of the media, songwriters and singers and the people who listen to them, movie and TV scriptwriters and the people who watch their work, advocates of gun control, video game makers and video game players.
The N.R.A., which devotes itself to destroying compromise on guns, is blameless. So are unscrupulous and unlicensed dealers who sell guns to criminals, and gun makers who bankroll Mr. LaPierre so he can help them peddle ever-more-lethal, ever-more-efficient products, and politicians who kill even modest controls over guns.
One imagines that the Members of Congress who for years have been cowed by the NRA’s supposed prowess in the electoral realm are today shaking their heads and thinking, “geez, these are the guys we were all so scared of?” As Alec MacGillis at TNR writes:
this was the first time many in Washington and across the country had actually focused squarely on him and his organization in a long time, and this newfound focus, combined with the post-Newtown context in which LaPierre was speaking, was enough to make the NRA seem utterly, surreally amateurish and out of touch.
Here’s hoping that the country will, at long last, stop listening to LaPierre’s rantings and instead start listening to Tom Menino, Michael Bloomberg, and others in positions of actual responsibility who have to deal with gun violence.
UPDATE: Dang, check out the New York tabloids telling it like it is. Why can’t the Herald do it right?