Now It’s Official: The NRA Is A Terrorist Organization

Conservatives, mostly white Christians, have told us repeatedly that you can’t fight terrorism properly unless you are prepared to call it what it is. Tr-mp proudly gets to say these days, “radical Islamic terrorism,” as if invoking an ancient biblical curse on Muslim extremists.

Well, about a week ago Sara Rodriguez, a 16-year-old Florida student from a school near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, named names:

Cameron Kasky, a 17-year-old who survived the massacre last week at his school, is a founder of the #NEVERAGAIN movement that is inspiring those of us who were losing hope for a better American future. Kasky said:

This is simply a matter of are you with us or are you against us? Are you for taking steps to save us or are you for taking NRA blood money? We are not letting the United States be run by that terrorist organization. My friends and I, my community and I have stared down the barrel of an AR-15 the way you have not. We have seen this weapon of war mow down people we know and love the way you have not. How dare you tell us we don’t know what we’re talking about? You have no idea what you are talking about.

Some of the “adults” tried to temper Kasky’s remarks about the NRA, saying it is a mistake to label it a terrorist group. Hooey.

These teenagers have earned the right to call the NRA anything they want to. And, by the way, they are onto something. Kasky shut down his Facebook account yesterday, saying,

Temporarily got off Facebook because there’s no character count so the death threats from the cultists are a bit more graphic than those on twitter.

And today we had NRA jihadist Wayne LaPierre say to CPAC, the annual gathering of family-values phonies, the following:

I call on every citizen who loves this country and treasures its freedom to stand and unflinchingly defend the Second Amendment, the one freedom that protects us all.

Taken along with his other inflammatory remarks in his speech (as well as provocative remarks by NRA propagandist Dana Loesch, who preceded him), I interpret that sentence—a “call”—as a terrorist threat. “Every citizen who loves this country” is a separatist statement. I interpret “stand” as “Stand Your Ground,” a legal justification for using violence even when it isn’t necessary. I interpret “unflinchingly” as using violence without fear.

Largely because of the NRA, but with help from other gun manufacturing lobbyists and the politicians they purchase, children in every American school have to wonder if their last recess was literally their last recess, or if their last math test was their last test of any kind, or if their last glance of parents or siblings or friends would flash through their minds as the sound of gunshots echoed down the halls. If living with that reality isn’t a kind of terror, what is it?

If LaPierre, who clearly is afraid of what is happening before his eyes, was threatening a kind of civil war over the gun issue, he’ll have to go through young citizens who love their country, who are standing their ground with words, or are unflinchingly using their justified outrage to do something that my generation has shamefully failed to do: stare down the NRA.

Cameron Kasky, appearing on the Rachel Maddow Show on Monday, said:

This is going to be the last time a school shooting is going to look like a terrorist attack. That’s a promise.

Kasky and others in the students’ movement, who are now fighting the NRA and its political prostitutes and promoters all across the country and in Washington, ultimately may not be able to keep that commitment. But there is a revitalizing hope in the mere fact that impassioned teenagers are engaged enough and bold enough to make such a promise to the country they love.


UPDATE: I implore you to read this article on the specific damage AR-15 killing machines do to human bodies:

What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns

Who’s At Fault? Here’s Who.

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — A former student opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at a Florida high school Wednesday, killing at least 17 people and sending scores of students fleeing into the streets in the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

—Associated Press, 2/14/2018

If you voted for Republicans—or a few Democrats—who have taken money from the NRA and other gun rights absolutists, you have the blood of high school students on your hands tonight.

If you voted for Ted Cruz ($360,727 from gun rights groups in 2016) or Marco Rubio ($176,030) or Paul Ryan ($171,977) or Roy Blunt ($49,430) or, God forbid, if you voted for Tr-mp (the NRA alone spent $30 million to support him in 2016), you are partially at fault for today’s mass murder.

To be sure, you didn’t directly enable the psychopath or sociopath who plotted to kill today, but you indirectly armed and enabled him and other recent killers like him. You are part of a system that makes such atrocities not only possible, but now routine, in this sick, sick country.

And I don’t give a damn if this accusation pisses you off. I don’t care if you are offended. Your fatigued and feckless “thoughts and prayers” are dangerous weapons precisely because they are fatigued and feckless weapons. They are diversions from the truth.

The truth is that your perennial votes for politicians who make it easy for dangerously troubled people to get assault weapons in their hands—weapons of war that kill scores of innocent people—are to blame. The blood of innocents flows from the ballot box where you make peace with the devilish system you vote for when you vote for Tr-mp and Cruz and Rubio and Blunt and others like them. Your reliable votes make possible much of the carnage we see. Your votes.

You can’t put this on your neighbor. You can’t pin this on me. You can’t blame mental illness. You can’t fault the schools. You can’t indict anyone but yourself. You can’t simply call this “pure evil” as Governor Rick Scott did tonight or offer meaningless ex post facto prayers and move on and say we’ll talk about this stain on civilization at a later date. You can’t say, as Florida’s corrupt Attorney General Pam Bondi said, that you will pay for the victims’ funerals and then think you’ve washed away the blood and guilt.

No. You can’t escape so easily.

You will go to bed tonight with at least some of the responsibility for the awful, awful horror that happened today. You will sleep beside that reality, knowing that the blood of kids and their protectors is there with you on your pillow, as if these latest murders were committed right there in your bed. That blood will be there when you get up. It will be there when you shower for work or pick up your morning paper from the lawn or login on your computer.

And it will be there when Sunday comes. It will be there when you get prepared to pretend to worship your God of Love who you think gives a damn about Second Amendment absolutism. It will be there when you next see your living kids or grandkids or your friends’ living kids or grandkids or your neighbors’ living kids or grandkids or your co-workers’ living kids or grandkids. The blood of dead high schoolers in Florida and those charged with their care will be as close to you as your soft, soft pillow, in that quiet time before you sleep the sleep of the guilty. And that blood will be there so long as you refuse to repent of your electoral sins.

I, for one, am tired of making excuses for your ignorance or stupidity. I am tired of rationalizing your disturbed and disturbing mind that has been poisoned by NRA propaganda and the conservative media establishment that amplifies it. At some point you have to quit enabling the devilish system and the blood it spills or be willing to embrace and live with the dreadful truth that it spills that blood in your name.


Roy Blunt, Terrorist Fighter

Roy Blunt, a United States Senator from my state, is a part of Republican leadership. He is supposed to be one of those “adults” in the Republican Party who is anchored to reality.


Blunt voted, along with most Republicans, to make it possible for terrorists to get killing machines known as assault weapons. As you will see, he is a favorite of the NRA. And he is a walking—and tweeting—example of what is wrong, not only with his party, but with the entire conservative establishment and, if he holds onto his senate seat this November, what is wrong with the state of Missouri.

Look at this tweet his reelection campaign crapped out on Monday:

roy blunt tweet

There are other, similar, disgusting tweets from that account, all designed to persuade voters here in Missouri that our Secretary of State, Democrat Jason Kander, who is running for Blunt’s senate seat, is soft on “radical” Islamic terrorism.

Except, you know what? Jason Kander is a veteran. And he’s not just any old veteran. He’s a veteran of the Afghanistan war. Here is his return tweet:

jason kander tweet

It turns out, as The Kansas City Star reported, that Roy Blunt is a chicken hawk. He had his chance to serve his country with the firearms he so loves, but instead, like a lot of Republican library-soldiers, decided student deferments were the way to go:

In a news story posted online Wednesday morning, The Star reported Blunt received three draft deferments while a college student in the late 1960s.

He didn’t just “receive” them. He asked for them. And three draft deferments? He must have been proud of those, right? Wrong:

Blunt’s office did not disclose the deferments in 2015, when the newspaper specifically asked Blunt’s office about the senator’s draft history.

Well, that’s understandable. He was protecting his future bravery, no doubt. Protecting his abstract—and vote-getting—fight against “radical Islamic terrorism.”

So, what is the campaign’s explanation for Blunt’s failure to disclose? Simple: old age or bureaucratic red tape or, hell, Alzheimers:

Blunt’s staff said this week that poor memories and difficult-to-obtain draft records may have contributed to the confusion over the senator’s deferments.

Confusion. That’s it! He was confused about not wanting to get his ass shot at in Vietnam. Very understandable. It is painfully obvious how one could forget or get confused about that.

Truth is, I don’t know what to say about someone who attacks his political opponent in such a way as to suggest Jason Kander is squishy about fighting terrorism when Jason Kander actually risked his life to, uh, fight terrorism. Maybe you have words for such an asswipe. Share them.

In any case, back to Blunt’s vote on allowing terrorists here in America access to killing machines. According to a Washington Post analysis,

Sen. Roy Blunt has received more campaign donations from the National Rifle Association than any other current member of Congress…

I don’t know if that’s true. But if it is, that means Blunt is not only in bed with the gun (manufacturer) lobby, but he is on top. If you know what I mean.

Hey, at least humping the NRA and gun manufacturers is safer than dodging bullets in Vietnam. Or Afghanistan. No confusion about that.

The Arizona Asshole

As you know by now, there was more disappointing news on Monday regarding the attempt to sensibly regulate gun purchases in America. As Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said, “The NRA won again.” Well, I like what Senator Chris Murphy, who led a Democrat filibuster that got Democrats the ability to even vote on gun restraint, said about the whole sorry episode:

chris murphy gun voteWe’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS…That’s what they’ve decided to do. ISIS has decided that the assault weapon is the new airplane, and Republicans, in refusing to close the terror gap, refusing to pass bans on assault weapons, are allowing these weapons to get in the hands of potential lone-wolf attackers. We’ve got to make this connection and make it in very stark terms.

I like that statement because not only is it true, it allows me to heap a whole lot of orange excrement on war-hero-turned-asshole, John McCain.

Not only does McCain support the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic Trump—even after His Orangeness slandered McCain and other POWs last summer and recently slandered President Obama by suggesting he secretly sides with ISIS—but days ago the Arizona Republican actually blamed Barack Obama for the mass killing in Orlando. He said, three freaking times, that the president was “directly responsible for it.”

Directly. Responsible.

Now, should any future assault rifle-toting terrorist decide to kill innocents, we can use McCain logic and say that John McCain—the sluttiest NRA whore in Congress—and his Republican friends in the Senate (plus Democrats Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester) are directly responsible for it.

Directly. Responsible.

Postponed Hearing Says It All About Gun Violence And The GOP’s Everlasting Tolerance Of It

Yes, we live in strange times.

I just heard a gun-control advocate say on MSNBC that there was supposed to be a hearing today—today!—before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The hearing was titled:

“‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force”

This hearing, which was to include as a witness Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, obviously was inspired by the “deadly force” used against her barely 17-year-old son in Sanford, Florida. But, alas, the hearing has been postponed because of, well, because of deadly force used against 12 people at D.C.’s Navy Yard on Monday, just a mile and a half from where the Senate hearing was to convene. If that doesn’t perfectly sum up the problem we have with doing something about “the expanded use of deadly force,” nothing does.

I say we live in strange times. But more important, in some ways we live in increasingly dangerous times, too, And we owe a significant part of that increasing danger to the NRA and the Republican Party, a party whose members will gladly cite public opinion polls and constituency feedback on Syria policy—because it allows them to safely stick a political knife in the back of the President of the United States—but will ignore that same public opinion and constituency feedback when it comes to standing up to the NRA and at least supporting the expansion of background checks.

For the record, and not that it means a damn thing as long as Tea Party Republicans control the House of Representatives, here are the results of polling done after the Senate failed this year to pass a bill on expanding background checks on gun purchases:

expanded background checks polling 2013

senate judiciary hearing postponed

“We All Go Through Something In Life”

That’s a good thing that you just giving up, and don’t worry about it. We all go through something in life.

—Antoinette Tuff, bookkeeper at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., speaking to would-be mass murderer Michael Brandon Hill

while many news outlets are, rightly, focusing on the revelation that the National Rifle Association has secretly—I repeat: secretly—collected “information about gun owners from state and local offices and has built the country’s largest privately held database of current, former and prospective gun owners,” Clare Kim began an article on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell blog this way:

A 20-year-old man who went to a Georgia elementary school with an AK-47 assault rifle and close to 500 rounds ammunition told a school clerk that he was prepared to die in the attack. But the woman calmly persuaded him to lay down his weapon. According to 911 tapes released Wednesday, Michael Brandon Hill said he didn’t care about dying and should have just gone to a mental hospital.

The details of this amazing story, a story that seems to contradict everything the NRA’s propaganda machine pumps out like a mass-murder unloading his AK-47 into innocent victims, I will let Lawrence O’Donnell present:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

An Open Letter To Senator Roy Blunt

Dear Senator Blunt,

I recently called you a gun whore and I apologize.

Oh, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t apologize to you, Senator. I apologize to all the street prostitutes in the world who don’t deserve to be compared to a United States Senator of your dubious moral quality. Most of the women who decide to make a living on the streets by selling themselves to the highest bidder do so for reasons beyond their control, reasons like poverty, sexual abuse, or drug addiction. Misfortune in life has often driven them to trading favors for money.

But you, Senator Blunt, have had no such misfortune in life. You, along with most of your Republican colleagues, simply sold yourself to the NRA for political power and for thirty pieces of blood-stained silver. Make no mistake about it, sir, the money you have taken from the NRA—and the money you will no doubt take from the NRA in the future—has blood on it.

That money, every single dollar, has on it blood spattered from bullet-riddled six-year-old faces, kids who spent their last minutes of life on this earth in utter terror, as a madman with a military style killing machine in his hands and armed with multiple 30-round magazines, quickly and methodically hunted them down and murdered all twenty of them, along with the six adults who tried to be their guardian angels on that bloody day.

You, too, Senator Blunt, are a guardian angel of sorts. Through your unfailing support of the NRA, you look after the welfare of gun manufacturers and their profits. You are the dark and dishonest spirit that keeps the NRA in power and keeps America awash in guns, awash in war-time killing machines, awash in blood, even the blood of children.

Your claims to voters and ultimately to the Almighty that you are a Christian and a “social conservative” will one day, if there is any justice in this incomparably large and unfathomably cold universe, be weighed against your actions as the gluttonous guardian angel of people and groups who care for nothing but their own narrow, lucrative interests.

Yes, Senator, I apologize to all the whores in the world for comparing what you do to what they do. They merely trade sexual favors for money. You trade the public good for money and power. You trade the commonweal for currency and clout. You trade our national well-being for your own. And, I confess, you are good at it. You are good at turning tricks and selling yourself to the highest bidder and accumulating power in Washington. In fact, Public Citizen honored your whoring skills with a special report:

Rep. Roy Blunt: Ties to Special Interests Leave Him Unfit to Lead

That report, which examined your record as a legislator in the House, revealed the truth about what it is you do, Senator:

In the end, what emerges is a portrait of a legislative leader who not only has surrendered his office to the imperative of moneyed interests, but who has also done so with disturbing zeal and efficiency.

What perverted pride you must have felt at being so honored, Mr. Blunt. What sick satisfaction you must have experienced when a Washington Post profile favorably compared your work in the House to convicted felon Tom DeLay, and noted that,

Here in Washington, Blunt has converted what had been an informal and ad hoc relationship between congressional leaders and the Washington corporate and trade community into a formal, institutionalized alliance.

And now that you are in the Senate, you must feel a strange and devilish joy that your prowess as a corporate prostitute is still recognized, not only for your continued support for the gun industry, but for the agribusiness industry:

Sen. Roy Blunt: Monsanto’s Man in Washington

I have to admit that slipping a Monsanto-friendly provision into a totally unrelated piece of legislation is a skillful maneuver worthy of anything I have ever seen in the Kama Sutra or, frankly, in Deep Throat or Debbie Does Dallas.

But your votes on Wednesday, Senator Blunt, your votes to kill even the mildest and most common-sense efforts to at least make it more difficult for murderers to murder our kids and loved ones with NRA-protected killing machines, those votes, those votes, Senator, are more shameful than anything you have ever done.

The lies you, your colleagues, and the NRA told about the legislation, and your votes that ultimately killed all the relatively modest proposals and amendments, those lies and those votes, if there were a righteous God who has ears to hear and eyes to see what you have done, would move him to, as the Bible says, spew you and your cowardly colleagues out of his mouth on some future judgment day.

But, alas, whether there will be such a future day of everlasting judgment, whether there will be a time when you, Senator Blunt, stand before and receive unappealable justice from the God you claim to worship, whether there will be such a day and time is uncertain. Not one of us knows the truth about that possibility. But we do know, we can be certain of one thing, that the judgment of history, the only judgment we as human beings can make that has any permanence, won’t be kind to you, sir.

If there is a heaven and hell of human construction, it is the heaven and hell of historical judgment. And someday, long after you have passed from this life and have or haven’t met your creator, your descendants will find your legislative legacy in the hell of human history, where it most certainly belongs and where it, if not you, will live forever.

The Gun Whore Minority Is Winning

As the U.S. Senate takes up the gun bill today, the following headline tells us everything we need to know about what is wrong with Washington, D.C.:

Joe Manchin Says Background Check Measure Doesn’t Have The Votes, Accuses NRA Of Lying

Senator Manchin, who has been working with right-wing Republican Pat Toomey to present the mildest of reforms to the nation’s background check systsem for gun purchases, said,

We will not get the votes today.

Now, for people living in a democracy, like we are supposed to be living in here in America, Senator Manchin’s statement, and the headline of the story, should mean that there isn’t a majority of senators who would support the background check bill. Except that there is a majority will will support it today.

But here in the real world, where “majority” actually means “super-majority”—60 votes out of 100 in the Senate—saying a bill “doesn’t have the votes” is saying that the minority is in charge.

And that is only part of what is wrong with our ability to govern ourselves. The other part is described by the HuffPo article:

Manchin later criticized the NRA, of which he has been a lifetime member with an “A” rating. “Now when when they are so disingenuous and telling members that our legislation, and I quote, ‘would criminalize the firearms by honest citizens,'” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This bill does not even touch …”

“That’s a lie,” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough interrupted.

“It is a lie, Joe,” Manchin responded. “If they lose credibility, they’ve lost everything in Washington.”

One would think that what Senator Manchin said is true. One would think that when the the country’s best-known lobbyist for gun manufacturers loses credibility by repeatedly lying about this or any legislation, then legislators would simply ignore the lobbyist. But, of course, what makes Washington work is not credibility but cash. And the NRA, no matter how little credibility it has, does have a lot of cash.

And speaking of having little credibility and lots of cash, now comes Missouri’s reactionary senator, Roy Blunt, and yet another headline that sheds light on what’s wrong with not only Washington, but certain parts of the entire country:

Roy Blunt Raises Specter Of Federal Gun Registry, Despite Explicit Ban

Last week, my senator, who loves lobbyists so much he divorced his first wife and married one, voted against even debating the Manchin-Toomey gun legislation. Blunt, this should be clear, is not only against the bill, he voted against even allowing discussion of the bill in what is laughingly called the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

But worse than that—if there is something worse than that for a supposedly serious legislator—is that Roy Blunt is a liar. Either that, either he is a liar, or he shares a deep and abiding and dangerous paranoia with people who think the government is coming to get them and that if they can keep secret all their gun purchases they just might have a chance to hold off the United States military.

My guess is that, since Blunt is fond of lobbyists—did I mention that he divorced his first wife and married a lobbyist?—that he is simply lying on behalf of the NRA. He is lying about what the bill would do, in terms of creating a federal gun registry.

As HuffPo points out:

The federal government is already barred from creating a database of every single gun owner in America. And under background check legislation being worked out by the Senate, that ban would be made even more explicit, with harsh penalties for anyone who violated it.

But that’s not enough for Sen. Roy Blunt.

Here’s how Blunt responded when asked about the issue by none other than Fox “News” host Gregg Jarrett:

JARRETT: One of your objections — or your main objection — is really that you’re fearful that this will lead to a federal gun registry. Well, Sen. Toomey, your Republican colleague who negotiated this bipartisan deal with Manchin, insists it will not in any way lead to a gun registry.

BLUNT: And that’s his point of view, and it’s one that may have validity. Just last week, it was determined that the state of Missouri — my state — had given 167,000 concealed carry permit information on 160,000 people to, of all federal agencies, the Social Security Administration. Once you get these lists out there — once you have a gun dealer keeping lists for lots of other people — the only way that works, frankly, is if you keep the paper. And if you keep the paper, eventually somebody’s going to ask for it.

Notice how quickly Blunt acknowledged that the other side might be right. But also notice that even if what Blunt said was true—and obviously it is not—even if someone asked for “the paper,” so what? What is it that Blunt fears? Does he fear that law-abiding gun owners will soon be the subject of an impossible-to-conceive gun grab by the feds?

Does he fear that Barack Obama  will find out where all the white folks who own guns live and then tell a barely-breathing New Black Panther Party where they are so we can have a race war?

Or perhaps Blunt fears that Barack Obama will not step down after his second term and instead use the military to go after every single gun owner in the country and rip the weapons from millions of cold, dead hands.

Or, more likely, Blunt fears that the NRA, which has given him so much cash in his career that he is fourth on the Top Ten Gun Whores in Congress list, that the gun manufacturer lobbying group will stop paying him for lying on their behalf.

You figure it out. In the mean time, the country is nearly ungovernable, thanks to a minority of Grand Old Paranoids.

Missouri Among The States That May Have To Allow Felons To Possess Assault Rifles

“The question next week is going to be, Who runs the United States Senate? Do the people really run this place or does the NRA run it?”

—Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy to Rachel Maddow

wworthless Republicans!” is all I can say to this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pass this “Moms Demand Action” video on to citizens who might get inspired to do something about the pusillanimity in Congress regarding sensible gun laws:


None of you will know what was in the news on Friday, November 5, 1982.

There was the “record one-day surge in the Dow Jones average” (a 43 point gain two days earlier was still making the papers, since the Dow had surpassed 1000). The unemployment rate had risen to 10.4% and nearly 12 million folks were out of work. There was news that an ailing Social Security trust fund needed to borrow $1 billion (real money back then) to pay beneficiaries. And a poll indicated “only 35 percent of the electorate” wanted to see Ronald Reagan reelected as President (he would win in a landslide two years later).

That was the national news, which doesn’t seem that much different from what is making news today. And if you take the time to read the following from the November 5, 1982, edition of  The Fort Scott (Kansas) Tribune, you will see that the local news hasn’t changed all that much either:

kathy morettiFort Scott, Kansas, is where I was born and where I grew up. I was living there in 1982, when Kathy Moretti, then my sister-in-law, took her own life with a pistol.

Recently, a commenter sent me a link to an article that summarized “the scientific literature on the health risks and benefits of having a gun in the home for the gun owner and his/her family.” Among other things, the study found:

…there is no credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in.

No credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms,” the study found. That contradicts the NRA-propagated idea that people are safer with guns in their homes. In fact, the study found “that gun accidents are most likely to occur in homes with guns,” and that,

There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes.

That’s not really surprising is it? Men intimidating women with guns? Having more guns around doesn’t make women safer and no one in their right mind would so argue, even though we see people who are supposed to be in their right minds arguing it all the time.

But none of that is what I want to focus on from the study. It’s this:

The evidence is overwhelming for the fact that a gun in the home is a risk factor for completed suicide…

Completed suicide. Because of Kathy Moretti I know what that means.  She was a sweet and fragile soul, all 100 pounds of her. She wouldn’t have harmed a tick. She did not own a gun, nor was there one in her mother’s home, where she lived. In fact, I doubt if she had ever seen with her eyes a real gun before 1982, let alone held one in her hands.

But this depressed young woman got her hands on a gun at the home of her  brother. It wasn’t his gun. He had borrowed it to use as part of a Halloween costume—a cowboy—and had not yet returned it when his sister came to visit. There was no reason for him to think the ammo-less gun posed any danger to anyone, especially Kathy.

She had to go purchase bullets for the gun to make it work, to make it kill. And that she was able to do because people who sell bullets to hurting, depressed women aren’t in the business of asking questions. They are in the business of making money selling guns and ammo. The relatively tiny profit made off a box of .22 bullets sold to her sometime before November 5, 1982, is essentially why the NRA exists these days, it’s why that organization spends so much money buying politicians.

There isn’t a robust effort in this country to repeal the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court has now applied to all jurisdictions. There isn’t even a robust effort to significantly curb gun possession. Thus, the main reason the NRA lives on is to promote the interests of gun and ammo manufacturers. Journalists who put Wayne LaPierre and other NRA spokesman on television or quote them in print should stop pretending otherwise and stop allowing the gun industry to disproportionately shape public opinion.

Kathy Moretti brought the gun and the bullets “north of a box car in a field about a quarter of a mile south of low-water bridge at Pavey’s Ford, between old and new Highway 54 on a gravel road.” There, in what I will always believe was only temporary misery that would some day pass, she died, with the gun and the bullets at her side, the gun and the bullets that the NRA insists are innocent pieces of this tragedy.

“Guns don’t kill people,” we are told. “People kill people.”

Oh, yeah? Again, science tells us that,

The evidence is overwhelming for the fact that a gun in the home is a risk factor for completed suicide…

The gun—the gun—is a risk factor. And the bullets that go in the gun. There’s no doubt in my mind that Kathy Moretti would be alive today had there not been a gun in her unsuspecting and subsequently heartbroken brother’s home in November of 1982. And by now, she may have had kids, even grandkids, if it were just slightly more difficult for someone to get bullets for guns they don’t own. Who knows?

But what we do know is that handguns, despite what the shills for gun manufacturers tell us, don’t really make most of us safer. Oh, they give us the illusion of safety, that’s for sure. They allow us to fantasize that should someone enter our home with evil intent, we are ready to protect ourselves, ready for a fight. That fantasy is comforting, which is why so many people are willing to keep a handgun at the ready.

The truth, though, is that we can actually measure the relative safeness of guns in the home, particularly for those going through tough emotional times. From the study I have been referencing:

From 2003 to 2007, an average of 46 Americans committed suicide with guns each day. This includes 2 teenagers (aged 15–19) and 3.5 young adults (aged 20–24) per day. Even though suicide attempts with guns are infrequent, more Americans kill themselves with guns than with all other methods combined. That is because among methods commonly used in suicide attempts, firearms are the most lethal.

Firearms are the most lethal.” Most lethal. Most lethal. The coroner said Kathy Moretti “died in less than five minutes.” That is most lethal.

And for what? Why did she choose to die? Why did she make such a lamentable and irrevocable decision at 22 years old? I don’t know. Nobody knows. As I said, she suffered from what I believed then and believe more strongly now was only “temporary misery,” something bound to pass. From the study:

Many suicides appear to be impulsive acts. Individuals who take their own lives often do so when confronting a severe but temporary crisis. In a study of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, which would have been fatal without emergency treatment, none of the 30 attempters had written a suicide note, and more than half reported having suicidal thoughts for less than 24 hours. In 2 years of follow-up, none of the 30 attempted suicide again. Other studies that have followed survivors of serious suicide attempts find that fewer than 10% typically go on to kill themselves.

Suicidal individuals are often ambivalent about killing themselves. One expert estimates that no more than 10% to 15% of these individuals display an unbreakable determination to kill themselves. For the rest, the risk period is transient. Reducing the availability of commonly used and lethal instruments during this period can prevent suicide. Psychiatric and penal institutions have long recognized the importance of restricting access to lethal means of suicide for newly admitted and potentially suicidal inmates.

I don’t expect that any Second Amendment zealot, who might take the time to read the story of Kathy Moretti, will have an epiphany. I don’t expect them to suddenly recognize as legitimate the other side of the gun argument, a side that always swims against the tide of opinion ginned up by gun-industry money, that argues for gun sanity in an America awash in guns, an America ever more dangerous. especially for people “confronting a severe but temporary” personal crisis.

No, I don’t expect that. I just wish that we, civilized Americans living in the twenty-first century, would at least realize that as we militarize our schools and our homes, as we pretend that our children are more secure with an armed sentry in the classroom and that we are safer with a pistol under the pillow, that in too many cases we are endangering the most vulnerable among us.

May Kathy Moretti continue to rest in peace.

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