It’s been quite a month for the National Rifle Association: Massacres at universities, in restaurants, and at retail stores from South Carolina to Las Vegas. Gun nuts porting assault weapons to dinner from Chili’s to Chipotle. The leaders of the take-no-prisoners gun-rights organization have been witness to the logical outgrowth of its policies and rhetoric. Much as the GOP helped create the lunatic-fringe Tea Party within its midst, the NRA chieftains have helped birth a beast whose black heart now beats strongly among its most radical adherents.
The NRA’s officials purposefully pipeline propaganda to the most loony-tunes among us. They’ve told these gun cultists that they had best arm themselves with as many weapons and as lethal weaponry as they can get their hands on, because either a black president or a black helicopter will be hunting them down shortly. Simultaneously, they’ve used every electoral and lobbying tactic to best enable these unstable individuals to have access to the weaponry of war from which they and their arms-dealer cronies so handsomely profit.
The result: They’ve watched impotently as this witch’s brew of mental illness, far-right politics, propaganda, and heavy weaponry has led to one shocking—yet wholly predictable—massacre after another, with the most recent targets including the execution-style murders of two lunching police officers in Las Vegas. These very same factors have also provided the impetus for a group of lunkheads to share their passion for taking AK-47s to lunch—even though the rest of us have no interest in sharing their emotionally degraded worldview.
It’s quite a con. And it’s killing us.
Just over the past few weeks, we’ve seen mass murders in Isla Vista, Seattle, Myrtle Beach, and Las Vegas. A catastrophe was barely averted at a courthouse in Georgia—you know, the place that in its infinite wisdom chose to pass its “guns anywhere” bill, because clearly if there was something daycare centers and airports were lacking, it was guns.
Somehow this didn’t stop this self-styled “sovereign citizen.” These are the kind of guys who, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, believe that they get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore. This citizen acted out as his ilk have done across the country, trying to kill local members of law enforcement.
In this case, the shooter entered a Forsyth County, Georgia, courthouse with an assault weapon and explosives and opened fire, hitting a deputy in the leg before he was shot and killed. He had booby-trapped his house to explode, and threw stop sticks in the road to prevent cars from approaching the courthouse while he was to carry out his mass slaughter. Clearly this man didn’t think this up overnight.
We can end this any time we want. We know how. Every other country has done it. But make no mistake, this is the doing of the NRA’s leaders.
But this is America, the NRA leadership’s version, where a man in this mental state was a gun seller and trader (remember how Timothy McVeigh was a gun seller at gun shows?), who got mad because he had—what else?—outstanding firearms charges against him. So yeah, why not kill the authorities and everyone else you can in a blaze of glory? We make it so easy, after all.
In Las Vegas, two shooters, a man and a woman, entered a CiCi’s pizza—right across the street from a gun store, mind you—walked up to two metro cops and shot them at point-blank range, killing them and blathering about “starting a revolution.” They left a swastika and “Don’t Tread on Me” flag on one of the murdered cops’ bodies.
The maniac suspects then killed another person in a Walmart, and then themselves. Did I mention the man had lived on Cliven Bundy’s ranch for a bit (and was kicked off… one wonders what it took for that to happen)?
As he shared on Facebook:
I will be supporting Clive Bundy and his family from Federal Government slaughter. This is the next Waco! His ranch is under siege right now! The federal gov is stealing his cattle! Arresting his family and beating on them! We must do something, I will be doing something.
He also liked the NRA, had pictures of open-carriers at Chipotle, loved the Paul Family (Rand and Ron), and was a fan of “Three Percenter Nation”—which advocates for “no compromise, no surrender.” Many other posts were screeds filled with hatred for the United States government and its rules, a la sovereign citizens:
Mark one up for freedom today. I stood before a fascist judge today and implied that he was a Nazi. I told him I did not recognize his authority over me and reminded him that 2 states now have legalized weed for recreational use. I also informed him that now, since the fast and furious scandal, that continuing the war on drugs is treason. He said to me “I may not agree with the law, but it is my duty to enforce it.” To which I replied “Nazis during the war criminal trials stated that they were just following orders and enforcing the law, and we hung those people.”
This is a disease, one that the NRA’s leadership is helping to spread. In fact, in Las Vegas almost exactly a year ago, two “sovereign citizens” were arrested for planning to kidnap and murder cops.
(You know it’s getting ridiculous when I Google these events for exact details, with terms like “cops shot” and “sovereign citizens” and “Las Vegas” and I get more than one result.) Somehow this, and the fact that 39 percent fewer police officers are killed with handguns in states with background checks, didn’t persuade NRA toady Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada to sign universal-background-check legislation the Nevada legislature passed.
So how does this pertain to the NRA? I don’t know—could it be Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s referring to law-enforcement officials trying to do their jobs as “jack-booted thugs?” Could it be that LaPierre says things like this:
“We know that sooner or later reckless government actions and policies have consequences, that when government corrupts the truth and breaks faith with the American people, the entire fabric of society, everything we believe in and count on, is then in jeopardy.”
Or when he says that: “Government policies are getting us killed.” I could go on, but we’d run out of space if we tried to include all of LaPierre’s sedition, or even his greatest hits in inciting riot.
Put simply, the NRA’s leaders have demonized anyone whose job it is to enforce our laws and protect the United States in its pamphlets, emails, speeches, TV ads, Web shows, radio programming, and anywhere else they can unleash this cancer on the American public. So is it then shocking when their more unstable allies and adherents use the same language when planning or executing the mass killing of policemen, judges or other government officials?
If Wayne LaPierre were instead named Wayne Mohammed, do you think we’d still be hearing from him? Or would he be in a black site in Romania somewhere?
Then there are the others who take the NRA official line to heart, the open-carry movement. In an America where gun rights for three decades were constantly expanded, where one can wear a handgun in a holster in many states quite openly, these geniuses feel a need to bring their long guns with them to restaurants and other places where families like to gather, generally without the presence of AK-47s. It has nothing to do with gun rights, but a lot to do with intimidating others and making the rest of us not only accept their guns, but have as irrational an attachment to their weapons, or property if you will, as they do.
It brings to mind this famous line from President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Cooper Union College:
…what will convince them? This, and this only: Cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly—done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated—we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas’ new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.
This zealotry, ironically, has led these atavistic shut-ins to accomplish more for sane gun regulation than any gun-safety advocate could, with pathetic public displays of affection for their inorganic significant others. This led NRA headquarters to initially call the open-carry crowd “weird” and tell them to stop these displays, but then backtrack and grovel when predictably the Frankenstein they’ve created no longer felt the need to bow before its maker. Once they started tearing up their NRA membership cards and threatened the only thing the group’s leaders actually care about—money—the NRA’s officials of course caved and said bring your guns anywhere you want, except our headquarters in Virginia!
We can end this any time we want. We know how. Every other country has done it. But make no mistake, this is the doing of the NRA’s leaders. We are reaping what they have sowed. Their rhetoric, their firearms policies, their followers. If we want to change things, it starts with not sugar-coating or ignoring the treasonous and murderous role played by the leaders of the NRA, but by acknowledging it and taking them on every day.