Who is Afraid of the NRA? Why?
By Charles Bayer
Claremont, CA– Air travel is nastier than ever. On our recent trip we were screened 25 times. In the US that often meant multiple baggage checks, the loss of a tube of sun screen lotion, and a couple of rude officials. A few years back some forgotten chap put a match or something in one of his shoes, and ever since then hundreds of million pairs of shoes have been unlaced, removed, scanned, retrieved, put back on and laced up. The advent of the underwear bomber now means we are now stripped naked by means of a new invasive device. In Europe all that fuss has been eliminated. These here are other evidences that the war on terror is an undifferentiated assault on what nobody really can define.
On our arrival back home we were met with the spectacle of a seriously disoriented young man who was easily able to purchase, among other things, an assault weapon with a 100 bullet clip. While nobody has been shot on an airplane, every year thousands of Americans are shot with legally purchased guns. Why anybody outside a war zone needs an assault weapon boggles the mind. You can’t even shoot an elephant with one you can pick up on the internet or in a gun show. Consider the suggestion that if those in that theater audience had been equally armed, the slaughter would have been prevented. Really? Thousands of bullets whizzing around a closed theater is hardly a sane scenario. The recent shooting in New York resulted in the death of the culprit and the wounding of nine bystanders—all from police bullet fragments!!
For years howitzers and anti-tank weapons have been out of bounds for all but military use. Since the ban on domestically held assault weapons expired in September of 2004, hundreds of people have been killed with these devices, including those senselessly gunned down in the recent Colorado slaughter. And yet not a politician in sight, with the exception of Dianne Feinstein, has been willing to raise as much as a whisper. How come? The Republicans are cuddled up with the NRA, the Democrats are scared to death of this gun loving organization, and the majority of Americans don’t seem to care.
While the Supreme Court has ruled that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms apart from State militias, no one claims they meant grenade launchers or anti-tank weapons.
A study last year in the Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care analyzed gun death statistics for 2003 from the World Health Organization Mortality Database. It found that 80percent of all firearms deaths in 23 industrialized countries occurred in the United States. For women, the figure rose to 86percent; for children age 14 and under, to 87percent. And we are supposed to be the most sophisticated of all modern nations!
Nobody is suggesting that all guns be confiscated. Hunters need them, as may those who claim an honest need for self or home protection. But who really needs an automatic or semi-automatic assault weapon? And just what is the objection to some stringent enforceable laws that prohibit the sale of weapons to potentially violent or seriously disturbed individuals? Every time there is either a slaughter like the one in Colorado, or some important person is gunned down, there is puff of concern raised suggesting something must be done about the proliferation of weapons—but in three weeks that matter disappears from the agenda and nothing happens until there is another bloodbath. In this election year you can guarantee that nothing will happen.
In the meantime thousands of our fellow citizens will be shot, as we continue to live in a culture of, for and by the NRA. Charles Bayercandwbayer@verizon.net