National Rifle Association News contributor Billy Johnson made jaws drop this week after a video posted to the organization’s YouTube channel showed him what-ifing a wonderful world where gun ownership was mandatory, and shooting was required for children to advance to the next grade.
Shocking? Sure, but Johnson—who when not taping spots for the NRA operates his Michigan business selling gun belts (synergy!)—is just one several contributors who appear in the stylized op-eds for the country’s most powerful gun lobby, and his suggestion that we might all be better off arming our sons and daughters is far from the wildest statement made on the platform since its 2013 rollout.
The episodes share common refrains: the world is scary, the government is bad, and the media is pure propaganda. But the brilliance of the pro-gun commercial campaign relies on its gaggle of gun enthusiasts, curated from targets the NRA hopes to attract (youth, minorities and women) reading from scripts filled with logic so tortuous and nonsensical that you’d be forgiven for mistaking any one of the videos for an Saturday Night Live skit. I spent a surreal evening watching all 85 episodes and gathered the best of the worst big ideas from the firearm luminaries.
1.Dom Raso, former Navy SEAL: If Adam Lanza had NRA gun safety training, might not have killed.
“If that kid had the proper exposure to the positive influences and training instead of being sheltered from reality by video games, the outcome might have been different.”
(In fact, though neither killer Adam Lanza, nor his mother were members, according to the NRA, they had often gone to the shooting range together and a certificate bearing the NRA name and a guide to pistol shooting basics from the organization was found among his things.)
2. Colion Noir, self-described “Urban Gun Enthusiast:” MLK would love guns.
“In my heart, based on Dr. King’s own actions, I don’t believe that Dr. King would ever advocate leaving a family, or anyone for that matter, defenseless in the face of violent life threatening danger.”
3. Chris Cheng, Techie: Gun owners should be a protected class. Plus, you know who else had a gun registry? Cheng’s “Government Intrusion” video relied on a months-earlier debunked claim that Jews in the Ukraine were being told to register and a false equivalency with the Holocaust to push the idea that government is going to take all the guns.
“I don’t even need to go into detail about world history, or what happened to our Jewish friends during World War II…”
4. Natalie Foster, girl gun blogger, lover of “Skittles and things that sparkle”
” Women in abusive relationships, nay, all women, should get a gun. “I want a society that celebrates and empowers women to be independent, capable and strong, and competent educated gun ownership is a part of that strength.”
5. Foster: Give kids AR-15s instead of video games, for America.
“Compare that first experience with firearms to playing a video game at home alone, shooting someone and then being rewarded for it. And for many kids the lines between reality and this virtual world are totally blurred but when a kid goes to the range and learn to those essential life skills from a parent or a mentor, their whole world opens up.”
6. Raso: The media calls gun murders “shootings” to trick you.
“When someone commits a murder, it used to be a murder, right? But now they race to label anything with a gun as a shooting, because they know how much more attention they are going to get with that word.”
7. Billy Johnson, NRA’s data-lover: Gun regulation is the new Jim Crow
“They are increasingly enacting overly restrictive legislation that effectively makes it impossible to fully enact our rights. We have a historical precedent for this type active infringement on constitutional rights via legislation: The late 19th century Jim Crow laws enacted poll taxes and literacy tests as preconditions for voting.”
“Sure we all want to walk away from the day with a little more money in our pocket than we started with. That’s just called earning a living, but to think that gun companies put profits over safety is just simply not true.”