The tone deaf and horrifyingly self-serving speech given by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association on Friday cast a pall over our holiday season. At a time of national mourning and determination finally to rein in the plague of semi-automatic weaponry infesting our society, the speech was an exercise in blaming everyone but the lobby that has so effectively shielded the semi-automatic manufacturers and retailers from regulation. Here are the ways the NRA grinch stole Christmas this year:
1. Blamed video games for massacre of 6-year-olds and elementary school teachers. No evidence video games implicated.
2. Blamed movies for massacre of 6-year-olds and elementary school teachers. No evidence movies implicated.
3. Urged creation of 100,000-strong new Federal bureaucracy of armed school guards, which implies big tax increase. Thanks, Wayne! (And did not mention that Columbine had an armed guard or that Virginia Tech has its own police department.)
4. Condemned “gun-free schools” policy as insane.
5. Scaremongered about rise in violent crime. Murder rate in US cut in half since 1990, but did not mention that firearms murder rate remains highest among advanced countries.
6. Condemns confusion of semi-automatic guns with “machine guns.” Does not mention how many bullets a minute a semi-automatic gun with expanded clip can shoot.
7. Seems to call for armed adult volunteers to show up at our elementary schools to engage in vigilante ‘guarding’ of them. Are these likely the people we want in our schools?
8. Wants cordons around schools instead of gun control.
9. Offers to train elementary school children in use of firearms.
10. Does not mention that semi-automatic rifles were designed for military use and are not necessary for hunting, or that they are banned for civilians among all our NATO allies.