Sunday, April 7, 2013

NRA:  In the American Tradition

According to our history as presented by American and Italian film, this is a nation built on gunfire. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Hopalong Cassidy, Lash LaRue, Tom Mix, the Lone Ranger and a vast number of others all fought for the American way by shooting up the bad guys. We boys (girls too?) surely identified with such American heroes and John Wayne has reached near Iconic proportions as the personification of American values. Self-reliance, impeccable ethics and quick with a gun.

And, now we have the NRA to continue the tradition. Our American heroes cleared the land of Indians with their Colts, Winchesters and Henrys; shooting it out is part of our heritage. So, it is no surprise that the NRA urges that we transform our schools into mini-forts. Of course, they are not so designated. I mean, who would wish to send their children to Fort Overland or Camp Erasmus etc. Yet, that is what they urge. Never mind banning assault type weapons, or large magazines, or creating background checks for would be purchasers. According to the NRA, such laws could never work perfectly so no law is preferable. By the standard of failed perfection, they ought to prefer school shoot-outs; after all, school guards might not be able to do the job perfectly.

Let’s not quibble and consider the ramifications. Each school would have either police officers on site, or teachers, volunteers, would receive training in the handling of hand weapons and in small arms combat so to be on a par with murderous invaders. Would there be bulletproof glass? That would seem reasonable. Would the doors be locked? Better that than permit shooters to simply walk in and start their deadly fandango. And, if someone knocked at the door asking for entrance, the armed protectors would have to gather at that site just in case the visitor would come in shooting. But, if the shooter came in with a thirty shot magazine, he or she could likely handle pistol-armed defenders . . . unless the defenders also had such rifles. What a sight that might be. The OK corral revitalized with enough heroes to go around.

The reality is somewhat different. As experts have pointed out, in school is one of the safest spots for children. Mass school killings are rare. That means the protectors would become bored with their assignment and bored defenders are not exactly what we might prefer. The cost? Millions, with thus less money for education. And, if bad guys decided that school forts were too dangerous for them, well, there are always the movies or the malls or buses or restaurants where they could do their nasty work.

What is so distressing is the sheer dumbness of the NRA’s proposal. The old saying: “If all you have is a hammer, all problems look like a nail,” describes their mental cul-de-sac.

NRA experts argue that there is no evidence of reduced gun crime after assault type weapons were banned. They don’t tell us that the congress made it illegal, that’s right, illegal, to gather any evidence of the efficacy of such banning. So, yes, the NRA is right, there is no evidence.

Let’s do it, let’s contact our legislatures and urge them to pass gun-control laws and make them work. As I’ve pointed out, there are always exceptions to constitutional mandates, how is it that our constitution loving, gun-toting zealots don’t go mad in their defense of them. Yes, let’s get it done.

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