Every parent’s worst nightmare coming true is bound to provoke some wacky aftermath. The recent concession from the NRA is no surprise. The universal feeling is: Our children are unsafe; let us protect them. And for the NRA, protection means armed protection, which is a natural, fight or flight response: shoot the bastards before they shoot us.
Unfortunately, the NRA is missing the “audience” for its solution: our children. The NRA response to gun-related fear and violence among our children is to put more guns (and fear) among our children. The fact that these particular guns are for self-protection seems to obliterate the fact that they are dangerous firearms that should not be around our children when they are in a public place of learning.
I agree with Chris Murphy, the Democratic senator-elect from Connecticut: “Walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting, tone deaf statement I’ve ever seen.”
Read the LA Times article on the NRA response to recent public gun massacres.
NRA executive Wayne LaPierre proposes a volunteer corps of armed guards at schools, an escalation of the fearful gun-lusty responses his belief system promotes. Self-protection is written into the Bill of Rights. Arm oneself against the enemy. Kill the Zombie before it eats your brains.
I understand the urge to act first, to prepare for battle as the enemy gathers on the horizon. The problem is that the enemy is inside our ranks: the zombie is already in our closet. Like the well-worn plot twist: our killers are inside the house. They may be anomalies in our culture, but somehow we raise deranged sociopaths who go on a killing spree, become media anti-darlings for a week (posthumously or otherwise) and then fade away until the next unspeakable violence occurs. Later we rekindle the folkloric fervor by making their stories into movies, creating the murderous icons that horrific crimes keep alive. Who doesn’t know the name of Jeffrey Daumer, though the details of his acts may be lost? Who truly remembers the victims?
Gunmakers don’t want to remember the victims: they need us to remember the criminals. They want to create more fear to sell more guns to post them officially in “volunteer” (?!) hands in front of our children’s schools. So that our children grow up afraid and purchase guns to protect themselves from imaginary criminals. And eventually, some of them turn their guns against their loved ones in anger, hopelessness, or fear.
The problem is, Mr. LaPierre, we cannot trust our citizenry to keep us out of a bullet’s path with their our finger on the trigger. We are the problem, as well as the solution. So far, your unbridled, right-to-a-militia, gun-toting culture isn’t working to keep our families safe. I will not have my child facing a gun on her way to school. It’s time to try another way.
Open the negotiations on gun control. Don’t sell ammunition over the Internet. Close the loopholes. Extend the waiting period. Consider a ban on assault weapons. Move the money for the failed war on drugs to a war on guns to crack down on illegal sales. Do not put more guns into public places where young people gather. The target audience for your solution should be the adults purchasing the weapons, not the innocent victims.
Children should not have to know that school is an unsafe place for them.
[see Mary McNamara’s opinion piece in the LA Times on violence in our society for another view.]