There can be only one motivation for the ethic Wayne LaPierre laid out on behalf of the NRA yesterday, and that is the deep-seeded fear that someone, someday is going to enter my personal space armed, and if I'm going to take him out before he takes me or my kids, I'm going to have to have clips that give me more firepower than he has. What we really need in our gun cabinets, he might have said, is personal grenade-launchers or armed drones because the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with one that's bigger. How about a tank in every garage?
Who will that intruder--or those intruders--be? Why criminals. Or foreign agents. Or domestic Nazis. Or communists. Or Islamic extremists. Or maybe my neighbors, when Mayan prophecies come to pass and there's no more fresh water in town than the tank I buried in my family bunker. Then, I'll need an assault rifle--maybe two or three or four--to hold my neighbors off and keep my family alive. Some might call that paranoia. Some might call it lunacy.
He never mentioned sport, did he? It never arose. Only death arose.
What I don't understand is why anyone should have an instrument of death that allows the shooter to empty eleven bullets into the body of a six-year-old and then turn the gun on his or her classmates without reloading.
What Mr. LaPierre clearly demonstrated yesterday was that the motivating force beneath the NRA's position is the fear that a gun-toting enemy lurks out there somewhere, a brute whose treachery can be stopped only if I arm myself to the teeth. Fear.
I went hunting this fall and loved it. Out here where we now live now, the time may come when I actually shoot a deer, something I certainly never opposed but never really took the time to try. I was born in Wisconsin, where the only passion greater than the Packers is the deer opener. I loved hunting and trapping as a kid, consider my childhood years idyllic for its glorious early morning forays into the wilderness of lakeshore woods and lazy rivers.
But wherefore this armed obsession? Other countries have equal shares of mental illness, vile video games, bloody movies. Other countries suffer from a divorce culture. We're not alone in our sins. But no country comes anywhere near the United States of America in gun deaths. When it comes to body count, we're the king of the sorry hill.
LaPierre's response to the massacre of the innocents at Newtown would have been silly if it wasn't so horrifying. Where would this good guy with a gun stand on the campus of the college where I taught? Which dorm? During a basketball game, would he be stationed in the bleachers?--and if so, if he's in the gym, who's going to hold down the library? Maybe sidearms should be issued during freshmen initiation so everyone packs one. Hand them out with iPads.
And who's going to protect churches on Sunday mornings? Should every congregation have its own? Who's going to be at the high school for football games?--should both schools bring their own heat?
Where should we position him or her during the Sunday School Christmas program, pray tell? At the door? Which one? They're could come in from anywhere, you know.
We're nuts. And the reaction from any Republican--save Chris Christie--is less deafening than deplorable.
I can't believe my neighbors in this county, people who voted the Republican ticket more devotedly than almost any county in America, can countenance the dangerous idiocy of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA.
What we need is more guns? We already own half the world's arsenal.
This morning I wrote Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. Steve King, but I can't imagine I'll hear a thing from either of them. Go to the issues they list on their websites--there's nothing about gun control. Type the phrase into their search engines. You'll find absolutely nothing, as if Newtown didn't happen.
You want to know why? The answer is easy. They're scared to death of the NRA--you know, the people with guns.
How's that for irony?