Now that the 2nd Amendment has become an issue in the looming 2016 Presidential campaign, it was just a matter of time until the NRA got its own campaign playbook together and started adding its voice to the political fray. So it was hardly a surprise when the NRA released its first political message right out of the mouth of Wayne LaPierre, who claimed he was responding to Obama’s appearance at a police chief’s meeting in Chicago where the president dutifully repeated his call for ‘common-sense’ laws to help end the everyday carnage from guns.
The NRA’s campaign message turns out to be a riff on the ‘we don’t need no stinkin’ new gun laws’ mantra that was first promoted by Donald Trump. And once Trump said it, all the other Republican Presidential pretenders fell into line with what has become official policy for the NRA. And why don’t we need any more gun laws to stop what Wayne-o calls the “bloodshed?” Because all we have to do is “enforce the federal gun laws” and “direct every federal jurisdiction to round up every felon, drug dealer and gangbanger with a gun” and the problem will be solved right then and there.
But Obama won’t do it, and if she’s elected Hillary won’t do it because they “wait for a crime that fits their agenda and blames the NRA.” Which is another way of saying that instead of locking up all those bad guys with guns, the Democrats just want to pass new gun-control laws. “President Clinton and President Obama use the carnage to campaign for new gun laws” says Wayne-o, and the result of not enforcing current laws is that “thugs” like Darius Brown (picture of Brown the thug with voice-over from Wayne-o) don’t go to jail and instead end up shooting a nine-year old girl.
So here we have the NRA game plan as we inch towards Election 2016. Blame it all on the Democrats who don’t enforce crime laws, tie them to ‘thugs’ who are always young men of color, and make sure to remind everyone that urban ‘bloodshed’ has nothing to do with guns. Doesn’t it remind you just a bit of the Willie Horton campaign ads that secured the White House for the first iteration of George Bush? But if the Horton campaign was short on facts and long on emotional, racist-tinged images, it can’t be compared to the misrepresentations and racist-laden messaging this time around.
Let’s start with the charge that Clinton and Obama won’t enforce laws and are ‘soft’ on crime. In 1993, the national violent crime rate was 746. Eight years later, at the end of the Clinton Administration, the rate had fallen to 506, a decline of 33%. Eight years after that, at the end of Bush II, the rate stood at 457, a further decline of 10%. In 2014, seven years into Obama, it’s at 357, a drop from the end of Bush’s tenure of 22%. Since 1993 the violent crime rate has declined by 52%, of which 90% disappeared during the administrations of two, crime-loving Dems.
In the rush to get Wayne-o’s comments up there right after the President addressed the police chiefs, the folks who produce those insipid NRA videos might want to take another look. Because the picture of ‘Darius Brown’ is actually a picture of Jamal Streeter, one of three young men charged in the murder of a 13-year old teenager named Darius Brown. Oh well, if every young man of color is either a gang banger or a thug, how hard is it to get them all mixed up?
It’s not hard at all if you’ve decided that, everything else failing, you’ll fall back on the time-honored issues of race and crime in order to galvanize your political base and garner some votes. I happen to believe that most Americans, gun owners or not, will see right through this stupid charade even if Wayne-o and the NRA haven’t yet figured it out.