The NRA’s fallen and it can’t get up

Call him the Six Billion Dollar Man.  Because that’s how much money NRA chief Wayne LaPierre’s nutty plan to put an armed guard in every school in America may cost on an annual basis. And how did the country responds to LaPierre’s proposal?  With a heart laugh.  Even Republicans are staying away:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a conservative from Utah, said on NBC he was worried about arming educators since he “had science teachers in high school who can’t negotiate a Bunsen burner for goodness sake.”

It’s rather extraordinary how quickly the NRA’s star has faded. The organization used to be looked at as invincible, and the gun control issue overall, untouchable.

Now, not so much.

It’s hard to know what was more disastrous: NRA executive vp Wayne LaPierre’s disastrous press conference this past Friday morning, in which he suggested that the answer to people with guns mowing down children was to put a whole lot more guns near children, or LaPierre’s Sunday morning appearance on Meet the Press in which numerous commentators noticed that LaPierre was quite literally “foaming at the mouth.”

First, the reaction to Friday’s press conference was swift and vicious.  New York’s two quasi-tabloids, including one that tends to veer right, perhaps said it best:

NY Daily News on NRA

A vicious piece in the Daily News by Mike Lupica:

So now Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, who attacks the mental health system in this country even as he sounds like he needs to be in it, goes on “Meet the Press” and continues to double down on his notion that the only way to keep our schools safe is to put armed guards at the front door and the side door and in every home room in America and maybe on every school bus, too.

LaPierre is the type who lies to stay in practice, as he continues to pass himself off as the front man for responsible gun owners when he actually is a front for their lunatic fringe. To say that the NRA represents mainstream thinking for gun owners is the same as saying that the Tea Party represents mainstream thinking in the Republican Party.

NY Post on NRA

Then there was the rabies episode on Meet the Press:

NRA head Wayne LaPierre foaming at the mouth

Perhaps the chyron should have, “NRA SPITS UP.”

Adding to the crazy was NRA head Wayne LaPierre suggesting that most of the American media travels around with bodyguards. Which came as a surprise to most of the American media that has never traveled around with a bodyguard. From Erik Wemple at the Washington Post, who presumably does not have a body guard:

A suitable expert regarding media expenditures on armed protection is Martin Baron. He’s the outgoing top editor of the Boston Globe, the incoming top editor of The Washington Post and the former executive editor of the Miami Herald, among other editing jobs. So what about this armed-protection thing? Writes Baron via e-mail: “Never once heard of this, never authorized it, never paid for it and don’t for a second believe it. The only exception I can recall is, at times, for some security in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

More such sentiment comes from a CBS News source: “I can tell you definitively that the bureau and the CBS Broadcast Center guards are NOT armed. (Trust me, you wouldn’t want guns in the hands of some of those folks!) … I can’t speak for the correspondents who travel in dangerous areas internationally, but my guess is even they aren’t accompanied by armed guards.”

Apparently, the NYT doesn’t have armed guards, even in Kabul.

But, as always, the mass-murder of innocent Americans is always a boon for our country’s fetish with violence: ammo sales are through the roof, lest some sane politician decide that the presence of nearly 300 million guns in America, when that’s a little less than our entire population, might just suffice.

The NRA's fallen and it can't get upAt a Denver gun show this weekend, ammunition for the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle — the style of weapon used in the Newtown attack — sold out within an hour.

“We’re worried we’re not going to be able our guns for our safety and we’re not doing anything wrong,” said one attendee, Crystalin Benedetto.

Yeah, you lost the right to cry about your “safety” when one of your fellow gun nuts decided to mow down 20 children a week before Christmas.  Your safety is killing us.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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35 Responses to “The NRA’s fallen and it can’t get up”

  1. Moderator3 says:

    Consider this. You’re the one posting in a five day old thread.

  2. George says:

    Idiots. Do yourselves a huge favour and read this:

  3. VJBinCT says:

    In the Church of the NRA, every gun dealer is a priest, every gun shop a chapel.

  4. rmthunter says:

    Ditto. I’m somewhat bemused at the idea that public opinion has any influence on anyone who’s in a position to do anything. First, public opinion will change — just give it time and keep repeating your mantra. Second, public opinion doesn’t have any money.

    Do we really need a third?

  5. RyansTake says:

    I have to think the trajectory over the past few years has been moving against them, and steadily… but we can’t let up, because letting up = 2010’s midterm disaster.

  6. KingCranky says:

    Good question, the NRA hasn’t yet specified their criteria for inclusion of a “mentally ill” database.

  7. UncleBucky says:

    LOL, yep, I guess you’re right. We can get really decent rye bread (seeded or without caraway seeds) and then ask for it not to be sliced at our local bakery. And then, if you get a couple of loaves, you can freeze one!

  8. Tor says:

    I think it is easier in the US to get a gun than a frozen loaf of rye bread.

  9. Tor says:

    If I take Paxil, would I qualify for the mentally ill list?

  10. houstonray says:

    I don’t understand how the NRA has so much power? They have what, 4 million members? How many other groups have more than 4 million members? Probably a lot. Hell, I think 4 million people probably watched the Honey Boo Boo finale.

    I bet those 26 families in Newtown could get more than 4 million supporters for an assault weapons ban in a few days if they formed an organization and asked for it.

    How did an organization like that get so powerful and influential in our political process?

  11. Papa Bear says:

    Then add the Republican list? Or are the two lists one and the same?

  12. Papa Bear says:

    But if that happened, where would we get our politicians?

  13. BeccaM says:

    “NAMGLA.” I love it.

    My counter to the “armed guards in every school” is fairly straightforward: How does one guarantee that these guards are all mentally fit?

    I’m with you, too, on the open question about handguns. I’d add there seem to be two additional features common to the mass gun-involved murders, regardless whether we’re talking rifle or handgun: Extended magazines (which were illegal for a few years, and absolutely should be again) and semi-automatic capabilities. The difference between full and semi-auto is almost negligible in terms of killing capacity.

    Australia’s ban on semi-automatics and extensive buy-back program resulted in a 59% drop in gun-deaths in the last fifteen years.

  14. BeccaM says:

    Add to this the fact that in America our mental health system is a pathetic shambles and the vast majority of the mentally ill are never diagnosed, much less receiving professional treatment.

  15. BeccaM says:

    Oops, looks like you beat me on the post. ;-) Well, the link is above anyway.

  16. nicho says:

    Four firefighters shot in NY state while responding to a fire. Two of them are dead. Score four for the NRA.

  17. nicho says:

    A database of the mentally ill? Perhaps we could start with the membership rolls from the NRA.

  18. KingCranky says:

    The NRA’s proposal for a national database regarding the mentally ill, besides being unworkable, and almost certainly unconstitutional, has other glaring omissions.

    How, exactly, would this database work, why would it even exist in the first place?

    If the purpose isn’t to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, just what is it’s purpose, further stigmatization of an already denigrated group?

    Because without having a national database regarding firearms, so background checks could be conducted against the mentally-ill database, there’s absolutely no point to a mentally-ill registry and database.

    With the NRA’s blithering proposal, what good are background checks on a person’s mental status if there’s no information about firearms available?

  19. AnitaMann says:

    Ironic because he has Hitler hair.

  20. UncleBucky says:

    You make my point. These ordinary tools have regular purposes, but they can be used for violence, too. A gun has only one purpose, to put steel, lead or shot through delicate systems to destroy them.

  21. Naja pallida says:

    Except we actually have Eisenhower’s naivety to blame for most of our existing military bloat. When his better mind was telling him that we should have been drawing troop levels down, withdrawing troops from overseas bases, and reducing military spending during his time in office, he instead fell for all the lies that we had to keep building more bombs, more tanks, more missiles, more guns because the Soviets were coming to get us, and communism was on the march! When in actuality, we have pretty much always had them drastically out-gunned. It wasn’t until he was leaving office that he reflected back and decided to try to warn us that what he did was bad. By then, nobody really paid any attention. The groundwork was already laid and there wasn’t much chance at stopping it.

  22. Drew2u says:

    My post above. Guns are unique in that they are designed for one single purpose and are not used for anything else: to end a life.
    Other tools used to murder people have multiple functions designed for work or play.

  23. Drew2u says:

    Look at the tools you provided. The primary use of said tools are for something other than murder.
    A scissors is used to cut paper, string, food, soft stuff
    A knife is used to whittle, carve, pare, or cut
    A baseball bat is used to play baseball
    A rock just sits there until it is used as a weight, as support, as balance, as mineral, as a dam
    A hand is used to grasp, hold, poke, carry, push, cradle, feel, support
    Fertilizer is used to make plants healthy; depending on the type, is used as fuel.

    A gun? A gun doles out death. That is its primary function and there are no other purposes for it. It is a mono-tool to end the life of a creature.

  24. AdmNaismith says:

    Yeah, bad republican ideas do not go away very easily. They still think Supply-side Economics is a thing that works and is good. Norquist and LaPierre are truly the undead that cannot be banished.

  25. Naja pallida says:

    That’s the crux of it. If anyone can get a gun – and by the NRA’s own argument, we can’t ever keep guns out of the hands of criminals or the insane or the incompetent because then that might somehow limit the law abiding, sane, able gun owners who aren’t actively hurting anyone – without ever acknowledging that when given a choice of available tools, most people will pick the one most effective at getting the job done. When you need to pound in a nail, you grab a hammer. If your sudden desire should be to kill someone, your first instinct isn’t likely to grab that hammer, if you have another tool expressly designed for the purpose of killing.

    And as I noted on a post yesterday. Most other products, even tools, have to go through rigorous testing and have warning labels, child-proof packaging, safety restraints, lock-out switches, etc. What are gun manufacturers doing to make their product safer? Even if we don’t even consider the limiting of the numbers of guns, why can’t we even talk about that? You make something intended to kill, you’d think there should be some kind of safeguards on it so that anyone who isn’t supposed to have access to it, can easily hurt themselves with it.

  26. UncleBucky says:

    Well, NRAer are also either purposeful or recruitable Neo-Confederate traitors…

    Check into James Loewen’s “Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader”… Yes, John Birch Society was probably a cancer of Neo-ConfederatISM, too… ;o)

  27. UncleBucky says:

    What do we do? Open the Zombieland DVD or Blueray box, and learn.

    Oh, and where’s my damn twinkie for Xmas? ;o)

  28. UncleBucky says:

    I was just channel surfing and found a woman talking about how she must have hurt or killed her husband or boyfriend: “I grabbed some scissors, I think, or I don’t know what grabbed, but I…”

    Then I flipped back to Sesame Street out of disgust, but then I laughed out of recognition for what those scissors apparently were – an affordance of the moment. What would have happened if she had reached instead for a frozen loaf of bread (my aunt hit my uncle, so the story goes, with a frozen loaf of rye bread, yep!), but he survived!

  29. UncleBucky says:

    It’s like, through this guy’s actions, thousands of people die. I wrote somewhere else about an idea put forth by Don Norman, author of “Design of Everyday Things” (pretty famous work that both inspired and validated concepts essential to the design of many industrial and consumer products, computer graphical user interfaces (GUIs), airline instrument panels, and automobile dashboards and controls. His concept of “affordances” applies here:

    Basically, my application of Norman’s “affordances” goes like this. An individual, mad at the world, finds both a target and a tool. It matters not what they are, but rather the individual, either in the heat of the moment OR even through a planning stage, will use what is afforded (available) at the moment, and that item affords (allows) a range of possible actions that can be performed on the target to satisfy his/her rage. Also, when there is no rage or target, simply the availability of a tool can lead to the same outcomes when the tool is manipulated in error or by accident. THUS:

    (target – tool)
    recipient – email/Disqus post
    wall – hand/fist
    door – foot
    dog – foot
    window – rock
    mailbox – baseball bat
    (nothing in particular…) – hammer

    walls, doors, dogs, windows, mailboxes – guns
    Anything alive – guns
    People – guns

    In HuffPost, there was an article about the 100+ victims since Sandy Hook, detailing the incidents and the victims. IF you removed the “tool” from those incidents (the gun was never there, or something far less lethal was used), the outcomes would be markedly different.

    Two examples (you can find others):

    1. A 2-year old finds a gun and shoots himself accidentally while playing with it (consider the pistol grip and relate it to the handle on a coffee cup or the shape of a computer mouse or trackpad).

    * No gun? A 2-year old is found playing with a sippy cup or computer mouse or something. A teddy bear is given in exchange to the STILL ALIVE child.

    2. Two guys, each who doesn’t like how the other guy talks to him, are fighting.

    * No gun? One guy runs to pick up a 2×4 while the other goes in the house for an iron frying pan. Onlookers nearby call the cops and both are apprehended STILL ALIVE.

    So, look. Guns are “affordances”. When you encounter one, there is ONLY ONE WAY it is held generally, and there is generally ONLY ONE WAY in which it is pointed, away from the user. If another tool is present instead of a gun, different affordances are in play and things happen differently, even though the user is anywhere from enraged to inept to unaware.

    The NRA made the guns “affordances” by reducing the regulations, restrictions and inhibitions to their use.

    The NRA are guilty of murder.


  30. This is the guy behind the Obama “Nazi” posters that were circulated in the past.

  31. S1AMER says:

    Oh, I’d hold off on writing obits, at least for now. LaPierre and Grover Norquist have both had a rough December, granted — but both have obvious zombie-like qualities, and could revive to conquer us all in 2013.

  32. MyrddinWilt says:

    What did in the Birchers was their leader writing: “Could Eisenhower really be simply a smart politician, entirely without principles and hungry for glory, who is only the tool of the Communists? The answer is yes.” … “With regard to … Eisenhower, it is difficult to avoid raising the question of deliberate treason.

  33. bkmn says:

    I call him Wayne LaParanoid.

    Seriously though, if you are worried about an apocalypse and feel such a strong need for a gun, go see a counselor, not a gun dealer.

  34. MyrddinWilt says:

    I have taken to calling the NRA the North American Man/Gun Love Association. But it is starting to look to me like the NRA is becoming the new John Birch society.

    The Birchers were actually quite powerful in GOP circles at one time. Then the essential core of nuttiness was exposed and they fell hard.

    The big mistake the NRA has made here is that they have made a proposal that no GOP politician can possibly follow. Putting armed guards in every school is not a completely impossible idea but it would have to come after the obvious first step of taking away the guns was taken.

    The NRA is also circulating an idiotic scorecard showing deaths due to violence showing that of the 13,000 deaths they record, only 300 or so per year are due to ‘rifles’ hence a ban on assault weapons would not have much effect. Which is of course exactly what I have been saying: don’t just ban the rifles, ban the handguns. The same score card has over 6000 deaths a year from handguns and 3/4 of the deaths are due to firearms of all types.

    There are virtually no deaths from banned weapons like grenades.

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