The debate over gun control has never been as polarized as right now. The NRA refers to itself as being “under attack like never before.” In 1968 the NRA supported the background check provisions of the Gun Control Act. Now they refuse to discuss any changes at all. Why the change?
It has to do with the message the NRA has been sending out to its membership; a message that is similar to the message that most conservative pundits, bloggers and advocacy organizations have been promoting since at least the WTC attack in 2001. And the message boils down to the idea that not only is the NRA under attack, but we are all under attack both by terrorists from abroad and liberal ‘values’ at home. The fact that two dopey kids who may or may not have had some vague connections to a Russian terrorist group blew up scores of pedestrians and runners in Boston last month only reinforces the idea that danger is imminent and we must stand up and defend, with force if necessary, ourselves, our families, our country and our values.
Combine the ‘dangerous times’ theme with a liberal, activist President who wants more gun control and – voila! – you’ve got a marketing and sales bonanza. Here’s a little excerpt from the NRA Guide to Personal Protection Outside the Home: “As a general rule, any strangers who approach you may constitute a potential threat, no matter who they seem or claim to be.” Yesterday we went for a walk in Manhattan on the high-line elevated park along the West Side. Do you know how many strangers approached me as we walked along? Probably several thousand.
So I have a choice. I can live in a state of perpetual fear, arm myself to the teeth and try to figure out how to protect myself from every possible threat. Or I can hope that a way will be found to put aside the incendiary rhetoric, define the problems we face in realistic terms, and come up with some reasonable and workable solutions. Want to help? Please sign on.