NRA: `Thank you for the smoking gun'.
COLUMN: DIANNE WILLIAMSON
In 1928, the Republican Party promised a chicken in every pot.
Today, the National Rifle Association wants a cop in every school.
The NRA's hunger for more weaponry to stave off the evils wrought by weaponry calls to mind the wickedly funny film, "Thank You for Smoking," based on the novel by Christopher Buckley. In the film, Aaron Eckhart plays a slick tobacco lobbyist who meets regularly for drinks with his counterparts in the alcohol and firearms lobbies. They call themselves the MOD Squad, which stands for Merchants of Death. They dispute which industry kills the most people and thus, which of them has the toughest job, while devising strategies to dupe Americans into thinking that the products they hawk are safe.
To that end, these disingenuous lobbyists are adept at stringing together illogical and irrelevant points while announcing million-dollar campaigns that rarely exist.
"Michael Jordan plays ball," explains Eckhart's character, who, in one hilarious scene, tried to blame Vermont cheddar cheese for causing more deaths than smoking. "Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everyone has a talent."
And, as his character argues, everyone has to pay the mortgage. Maybe that's why NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre held a press conference Friday and blamed everything except guns for the massacre in Newtown - Hollywood, video games, the media, the courts, the lack of armed, Arnold Schwarzenegger-like terminators in our elementary schools. Heck, why not blame it on the cheese?
This guy must have one monster mortgage.
"I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation," he said, while announcing that the NRA will spearhead a program to develop a model security plan for schools that will consist of well-armed volunteers.
Hey, what could possibly go wrong with that?
And after a week of silent reflection, the NRA's top lobbyist also said this: "There'll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action." In other words - shoot first, ask questions later.
Listening to LaPierre, I could envision him sharing a cocktail after his press conference with another ethically-challenged lobbyist - say, someone from NAMBLA, for example - and wondering whether we were gullible enough to buy his bull crap.
We weren't, partly because we recall that an armed officer was on duty at Columbine. And we remember that Jared Loughner was stopped in Tucson by unarmed citizens.
But the NRA isn't the only arm of the right wing to go off the rails after Newtown. The NRO, otherwise known as the National Review Online, is one of the most influential Republican voices in the nation. Last week, it ran a column by Charlotte Allen, who channeled her inner Victorian maiden in blaming the killings at Sandy Hook on the "feminized setting" at the school, and the deadly dearth of rippled, testosterone-fueled men.
"Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass murderers," she wrote, calling "male aggression" a handy tool during mass shootings. "Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza."
Sigh. Well, Miss Charlotte, they probably would have been killed. I hate to burst her brainless bubble, but in the real world, even big strong men aren't faster than a speeding bullet. In Tucson, a male aide to Gabby Giffords stepped toward Loughner and was shot in the head along with other men, but I can't recall whether they played high school ball.
Allen is firmly in the running with LaPierre for most senseless response to Newtown, although she may actually believe her rant. But in the same speech in which he blames the media for sensationalizing mass shootings, LaPierre shows his true calculating and manipulative colors.
"The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters - people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them," he said. "They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn't planning his attack on a school he's already identified at this very moment?"
It's scary out there, all right. That's because in Wayne's World, America reverts to the Wild West. But everybody has a talent, and the NRA's mouthpiece is adept at showing that life imitates art, but that right-wing hypocrisy is no laughing matter.
Contact Dianne Williamson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org