Thursday, May 24, 2018
Opinion

NRA stands ground on untenable position

Poor Wayne LaPierre. The National Rifle Association's Grand Apologist would love nothing better than to have all newborns presented with an AK-47 in the bassinet in order to better defend themselves against colic. Now this.

How annoying it must be for LaPierre to have all these people around the country getting shot by pistol-packing yahoos who gaze into a mirror and see a Yosemite Sam wannabe.

But wait. It gets worse. For nothing bumfuzzles LaPierre more than those gosh-darned nosy reporters who keep reporting stories about people getting shot, like 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of self-anointed Sanford neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman. Egad! Reporting news! An all too obvious conspiracy.

The NRA's executive vice crybaby was in full pouting mode a few days ago during the gun lobby's annual convention of locked and loaded hand-wringers in St. Louis. He decried the media's obsession with Florida's ditzy "stand your ground" law, which made it a year-round open season on citizens to become hunting trophies for the "Are You Feeling Lucky, Punk?" crowd.

Since Martin's shooting death, LaPierre and the rest of the NRA's bandoliers of bullets have remained oddly quiet on the dubious merits of "stand your ground."

After all, it was the NRA, and especially the group's Evita of Enfield, Marion Hammer, who directed her groveling serfs in the Florida Legislature to pass the "You Looking At Me?" law in the first place.

Because Florida is a national leader in passing crazy laws on the whims of deep-pocketed lobbyists, more than two dozen other states approved their own versions of Oxbow Incident vigilantism. And the NRA was well pleased — until Trayvon Martin became the poster child for the all too intended consequences of "stand your ground."

LaPierre complained the Martin case is a media-manufactured controversy to gin up ratings and circulation since news organizations don't bother covering other violent crimes. If he read a newspaper every now and then, he would stumble upon plenty of other stories of gunshot victims — a perversely unwitting tribute to the NRA's success in making weapons available to every slack-jawed oaf with Rambo delusions and anger management issues.

Only in the Potemkin Village of the NRA would someone like LaPierre argue that since violent crime in his view is rampant (which it is not) it only makes sense to have more armed citizens walking around.

A miracle could have happened. LaPierre suddenly could have had an attack of common sense and said: "We really need to take our heads out of (well, pick your own words here) and revisit the whole issue of 'stand your ground' since there is more than enough evidence the law has been too broadly used as an alibi in a number of questionable shootings.

"Sure we're the nation's foremost gun lobby. But do we want to also be known as accomplices to mayhem?"

But LaPierre took a pass and used the death of Trayvon Martin to manufacture a hook to increase the NRA's fundraising by ginning up paranoia about crime in the streets.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was all too happy to play Bud Abbott to LaPierre's Lou Costello when he appeared before the NRA and decried Barack Obama's nonexistent assault on gun ownership.

Romney, who has cultivated pandering to a high art form rivaling a Justin Bieber sycophant groupie, played to the NRA members by vilifying Obama for not standing up for the rights of gun owners. This from a politician who was practically a Tibetan pacifist when it came to supporting strict gun control laws as Massachusetts governor.

How anti-Second Amendment is Obama? In typical liberal fashion, he signed legislation allowing visitors to carry concealed weapons in national parks and received an F from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

LaPierre wants it both ways.

All over the country the NRA browbeats gutless legislatures to approve laws making it easier to carry more guns with less accountability. And then it wants to distance itself from the repercussions of what happens when its so called "law-abiding" citizens — with the squeeze of a trigger — transform themselves into untrained individual militias because they've seen one too many Chuck Norris movies.

Wayne LaPierre stood his ground. But it was on the shifting sands of hypocrisy.

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