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.

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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

Kathy

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.

The Republican War On Class

Contemporary conservatives are a classy bunch:

♦ One of them, a Texas congressman, invited a vulgar, Obama-hating gun freak to the State of the Union address to provide, he explained, “balance.” The vulgar, Obama-hating gun freak then said he could not offer a reaction to the speech because, “I’m supposed to keep my pants on.” Now, that’s balance.

♦ Another conservative, a well-known and well-paid whore for the gun industry, urged people to buy even more guns just in case there is a “fiscal collapse” brought on by President Obama. If that sounds familiar, it is exactly the rationale of Nancy Lanza, a “prepper” who feared an economic collapse and kept several guns in her home to defend herself. Unfortunately, her disturbed son shot her in her sleep and proceeded to Sandy Hook Elementary School to kill six-year-olds and teachers before putting a gun to his own head.

♦ Two insanely-conservative U.S. Senators—I repeat: U.S. Senators—have essentially accused President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, former Republican Chuck Hagel, of being in bed with foreign terrorists. And 41 Republican Senators, including Missouri’s Roy Blunt—who had previously indicated Hagel should not be filibustered—supported a historic filibuster to keep Hagel’s nomination from coming to a vote, a vote he would otherwise clearly win.

Hagel’s offense, as John McCain eventually admitted, was pissing off his fellow Republicans many years ago by criticizing George W. Bush and the surge in Iraq. Republicans can forget all the damage they have done to the economy and all the debt they have racked up, but they can never forget one of their own who told the truth about them.

♦ Three Fox “News” hosts mocked Desiline Victor, the 102-year-old African-American woman who, because of Republican voter suppression tactics, waited hours in line to vote last November, with one of the hosts saying,

What was she the victim of? Rashes on the bottom of her feet?

♦ A Republican congressman from Georgia, seeking an open U.S. Senate seat in 2014, has bragged in a fundraising letter about his insight into Barack Obama:

I was the first member of Congress to call him a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth.

Turns out the congressman is a liar, but not for saying Obama is a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies—heck, we all know he is—but because the congressman was not “the first” to say so.

♦ A big-time Tea Party group, FreedomWorks, which recently paid its former chairman Dick Armey $8 million bucks to go away, produced a video with a segment that featured two female interns, one pretending to be a panda and one pretending to be Hillary Clinton. The panda-intern was, reportedly, “performing oral sex on the then-secretary of state.”

Classy stuff. Real family values. Onward Christian soldiers!

“The NRA Sells The Fear That Sells The Guns”

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre infamously said after the Sandy Hook massacre,

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

That statement, of course, was designed to help LaPierre’s boss, the gun industry, sell more guns to the good guys because selling more guns is the only reason—yes, the only reason—the NRA exists today.

But it’s not just about selling guns to good guys.

Tim Dickinson, who recently wrote an excellent piece for Rolling Stone (“The NRA vs. America: How the country’s biggest gun-rights group thwarts regulation and helps put military-grade weapons in the hands of killers“), was on MSNBC yesterday and nicely put the NRA and its mission in perspective, a perspective that those of us on the side of common-sense gun laws should, even in the face of Congressional obstruction, never tire of promoting:

The NRA sells the fear that sells the guns. Plain and simple. They are a marketing association that sells fear so that people go out and arm themselves. And who profits from that? Well, it’s the gunmakers. 

Who profits from illegal gun sales to people who shouldn’t have guns? It’s the gunmakers.

Who profits from guns that get bought up by fly-by-night dealers on the border and shipped in massive quantities down to Mexico to arm the drug insurgency there? Well, it’s the gunmakers.

Whose interest does the NRA represent? It’s the gunmakers.

It’s just not that complicated.

No, and neither is the following, from Dickinson’s Rolling Stone article:

The NRA’s alignment with an $11.7 billion industry has fed tens of millions of dollars into the association’s coffers, helping it string together victories that would have seemed fantastic just 15 years ago. The NRA has hogtied federal regulators, censored government data about gun crime and blocked renewal of the ban on assault weaponry and high-capacity magazines, which expired in 2004. The NRA secured its “number-one legislative priority” in 2005, a law blocking liability lawsuits that once threatened to bankrupt gunmakers and expose the industry’s darkest business practices. Across the country, the NRA has opened new markets for firearms dealers by pushing for state laws granting citizens the right to carry hidden weapons in public and to allow those who kill in the name of self-defense to get off scot-free.

Second Amendment Jihad Comes To Jasper County Missouri

In what may be a futile exercise, Democrats today introduced legislation to bring at least partial sanity to our gun laws.

But because of the gun manufacturers’ outsized influence on our politics, only the mildest of reforms are expected to have even a chance of becoming law. Gun manufacturers are, of course, the reason the National Rifle Association now exists, an organization that has abandoned common sense in favor of a religious zeal normally reserved for jihadists across the sea.

If you doubt that “jihad” label as applied to the NRA and its mission, then you missed what an NRA board member, Ted Nugent, said recently:

I’m part of a very great experiment in self-government where we the people determine our own pursuit of happiness and our own individual freedom and liberty not to be confused with the Barack Obama gang who believes in we the sheeple and actually is attempting to re-implement the tyranny of King George that we escaped from in 1776. And if you want another Concord Bridge, I got some buddies. 

That reference to Concord’s north bridge and the beginnings of the Revolutionary War is nothing if it isn’t a zealot’s call for a holy war. Nugent—a tough-talking gun-toter who wasn’t so tough when it came time to serve in Vietnam and face gun-toting communists—also said:

…here is what is wrong with America today. We have a president, and everybody better write this down, and memorize this. The president of the United States goes to the Vietnam Memorial Wall and pretends to honor 58,000 American heroes who died fighting communism and then he hires, appoints and associates with communists. He pretends to pay honor to men who died fighting communism, and then he hangs out with, hires and appoints communists. He is an evil dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom. And we need to fix this as soon as possible.

How NRA board member Nugent intends to “fix” the fact that President Obama has four more years of governance isn’t exactly clear, but he does have “some buddies” — mujahideen?—with guns, so draw your own conclusion.

And speaking of jihad, here’s how jihad-friendly Breitbart.com reported on a peculiar speech by the NRA’s chief fanatic, Wayne LaPierre, speaking before something called the Weatherby Foundation International Hunting and Conversation Dinner on January 22:

lapierre

The Breitbart article explains (italics in the original):

Of these rights–the right to keep and bear arms and the right to self-defense–LaPierre said: “No government gave [them] to us and no government can take them away.”

LaPierre made it clear that Obama doesn’t like to hear this because it shows that the 2nd Amendment is not in flux but is fixed, and the rights it protects are beyond the reach of government.

It might surprise some folks that God—who for his mass-killing normally prefers fire and brimstone over, say, semi-automatic assault rifles—actually endorses a view of the Second Amendment that would allow human mass-murderers to get their hands on killing machines and high-capacity magazines that most Americans believe ought to be banned.

And it might surprise a lot of local readers that the view that God is a supporter of people-killing guns is shared by at least one local cop, Sheriff Randee Kaiser:

I can assure you that as sheriff of Jasper County, I will be an advocate for the sacred rights of citizens of this county.

Sacred“? Hmm. Definition: “dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity.” Gotcha, Sheriff.

Joplin mostly sits in Jasper County, where Sheriff Kaiser, moonlighting as a theologian, essentially pronounces that the Almighty has ordained,

Thou shalt bear arms!

Kaiser has his reasons for opposing those who would attempt to bring common sense to our gun laws:

Passing new gun laws only affects those who follow them. As we have seen from recent violent incidents involving guns, the people who engage in these horrific acts have not been identified as law-abiding citizens.

Let me see. We shouldn’t pass new gun laws because only the law-abiding will follow them, which suggests that all laws are really unnecessary. I wonder if the good sheriff thinks that way about, say, murder laws?

I have an idea: Let’s get rid of our laws against homicide! After all, as the Jesuitical Jasper County lawman said,

Passing new [insert here your law of choice] laws only affects those who follow them.

Yes! Holy anarchy!

Allahu Akbar!

The NRA: “Defenders Of Movie Theater Mass Murderers”

 

If you didn’t see Tuesday night’s “Rewrite” segment by Lawrence O’Donnell, then you must. It is by far the best bionic elbow strike ever landed on the NRA and its $1,000,000-a-year  leader and “blood-drenched lobbyist” Wayne LaPierre. This is one of O’Donnell’s best:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

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