“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
It was the core of the wisdom that NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre emitted from his remarkably flaccid orifice at his notorious press conference following the savage slaughter of the innocents at Sandy Hook school in 2012. “N.R.A. Envisions ‘a Good Guy With a Gun’ in Every School,” The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/22/us/nra-calls-for-armed-guards-at-schools.html?_r=0.
This is the gospel of the concealed carry licensing school. It teaches that more guns–not less–will solve America’s beyond evident gun violence problem. See, if a “bad guy” starts something evil, well, a “good guy” will just stop him. Problem solved.
Only most Americans understand that the problem of gun violence is the guns themselves. More precisely, it is the shameful failure of our moral, political and civic will to directly engage and staunch the flood of guns in America that has created our modern Noahide law of senseless violence. It tortures our soul.
In your heart, you know, I know, and the American people know that more guns really means just another foot or so of steel, more burning lead, more shocking death, more horrifying, suppurating wounds, more mutilated children cut down as toddlers, more grieving families, more hospital stench, and more funerals. Send out as many doves as you please, they will come back without hope so long as “more guns” is the answer.
The nation was properly shocked at LaPierre’s solution. The “gun safety and/or gun violence reduction and/or common sense gun laws” movement also effected to be shocked.
A substantial amount of argumentation ensued over the fine point of whether any armed citizen — other than a law enforcement officer or armed security guard — had ever stopped a mass shooting.
Well, well. This Sunday past in Las Vegas, America finally got an unequivocal, clear-cut, wonderfully shining moment of a “a good guy with a gun”–and his predictably tragic and fatal failure. After Jerad and Amanda Miller murdered two police officers, they scuttled over to a nearby Wal-Mart –not incidentally well known as one of America’s great gun emporiums. Here, in sad brief, is what happened:
Joseph Wilcox, 31, standing in line and armed with a concealed weapon, sees them and tells a friend he is going to confront them. He moves toward Jerad Miller, not realizing Amanda Miller is with him. As he starts to confront the man, Amanda Miller shoots him in the ribs. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/06/09/police-give-details-on-timeline-shootings-las-vegas-officers-wal-mart-shopper/
This is only one of a number of tactical problems known to infest the concealed carry issue: failure to properly integrate the tactical environment under stress. Sometimes, even among trained law enforcement officers, the same “fog of combat” results in one good guy shooting another good guy.
In any case, one would have expected — I most certainly did — that the “gun violence please go away” groups would have reacted en masse and forcefully to this incident, slamming a concrete and steel vault over the idea that concealed carry actually works. Case closed.
Instead, nothing. Not a word. Not a single mewl from the contented cattykins, nozzled snugly onto the copious teats of the two great mothers of all funding, Their Royal Tabbies Missy Joyce and Mister Mike.
Literally, the sounds of silence. Okay, maybe a little sucking noise.
I will explain precisely why this passive anemia has infected what was once a feisty movement shortly.
But let us first go to the record and see what actually has belched forth from the “movement” (as of the time of this writing).
The feckless direct-mail fund-raising group Brady For Something or Other posted a limp paragraph, “Brady’s Reaction to the Las Vegas Shooting”:
BREAKING — Another day, another tragic mass shooting in our nation. First and foremost our thoughts are with the victims and their families who have now joined the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of families directly impacted by gun violence every year. This nation has had three mass shootings in two weeks. Each day 90 Americans are killed by bullets. Today, two of those victims were police officers who too often find themselves in the line of fire, but today were just eating lunch at a pizza restaurant. This problem persists because of the influence of the corporate gun lobby and the irresponsible politicians who do its bidding. We know solutions to the problem exist, solutions that are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans. We at Brady will not rest until we make this the safer nation we all want it to be. http://www.bradycampaign.org/bradys-reaction-to-the-las-vegas-shooting.
In short, cornets, teddy bears, and pabulum. Tell us something we didn’t know, please. Tell us something forceful to actually do!
The Violence Policy Center [full disclosure: a place where I labored for many years] freshened up and re-issued a report on the NRA’s violent rhetoric:
The Consequences of the NRA’s Violent Rhetoric–One of the NRA’s greatest successes has been its ability to create a disconnect between the potential for violence fostered by its words and the actual acts of violence committed by “lone wolves” and others facilitated by the organization’s validating rhetoric. http://www.vpc.org/index.htm.
This is a retread of a report that VPC originally issued in April 2010: “Lessons Unlearned: The Gun Lobby and the Siren Song of Anti-Government Rhetoric.” [That report has been taken down from the VPC website, but see cover at right]. See also, “NRA Once Again Embracing Anti-Government Rhetoric,” PR Newswire, April 15, 2010.
Former Mayor and Still Billionaire Activist Against Super Sized Drinks Big Mike Bloomberg’s group–named either “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” or “Everytown” (which might also be an HBO original series) issued a deeply profound “Statement on Las Vegas Shooting” by the Mayor of Everytown:
“Once again random gun violence has struck our communities in the places we eat and shop — our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the three individuals who were killed today,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We are still learning all of the details of what happened in Las Vegas, but we are particularly saddened that two of the people targeted in today’s shooting were law enforcement officers, the very people who serve and protect our communities. We also know that 39 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns in states that require background checks on all handgun sales — which Nevada does not require. This event reminds us that gun violence can happen anywhere at anytime — and this is precisely why we are asking our political leaders to take action so that ‘not one more’ police officer, innocent bystander or even student on their way to class will be added to the daily toll of gun violence in America. http://everytown.org/press/everytown-for-gun-safety-statement-on-las-vegas-shootings/.
Playing the “law enforcement card” is part of the “message” that the Gun Safety and Other Good Things Nubbins agreed upon during their “strategy” mass conference call. It’s like being for apple pie. The only problem is that it has never worked before and it won’t work now. Cops [see “Police, Fraternal Order of”] generally dislike gun control, and tend to blame such shootings on what everyone who is not a cop is known as in private, to wit, “assholes.” But…oh, well.
“Moms Demand Action”remains focused on its campaign to obliviate open carry demonstrations in big chain retail stores. Target is the target du jour.
Semi-automatic assault rifles don’t belong in the baby aisle—or anywhere else in Target. Yet gun extremists around the country have made it a point to bring their rifles into Target stores. Moms don’t want to feel unsafe and intimidated when we go shopping with our children. We’re asking Target to immediately end open carry in its stores. Target needs to follow in the footsteps of Starbucks, Chipotle, Chili’s, Sonic and Jack in the Box and put customer safety first. Nearly 90% of Target customers are women; they need to know we expect them to get gun sense. http://www.momsdemandaction.org/.
God bless ’em, nothing wrong with this grass roots awareness campaigning, so go get ’em, moms. Only a cranky cynic would note that to present knowledge, the open carry people have not actually shot anyone. But…oh, never mind. It’s about negative branding.
Okay, now: why the studied silence on concealed carry from the Milling Groups Against Anything But Guns?
It puzzled me until I remembered an op-ed from last year written by two men well known behind the scenes–attorney and former gun industry lobbyist Richard Feldman (http://www.independentfirearmowners.org/2013/node/3) and the man generally recognized as the brains behind Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” (now possibly named “Everytown”), Arkadi Gerney, now gun guru in residence at the Center for American Progress. http://americanprogress.org/about/staff/gerney-arkadi/bio/. The two proposed a “grand bargain” on guns, sort of like the sale of Alaska, the Louisiana Purchase, or the Brooklyn Bridge.
Here is the intriguing part:
…[S]trongly held positions suggest potential for crafting a grander bargain on guns, a new set of policies that would be premised on two complementary goals: protecting the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners and gun sellers, while giving law enforcement better tools to deter and prosecute criminal access to guns.
So, let’s address all these concerns and come up with a system that requires checks for all gun sales but exempts transfers among family members, temporary transfers and a small set of other transactions. And let’s devise a uniform set of intelligent standards, including training and clean criminal records, for a national concealed-carry system. Richard Feldman and Arkadi Gerney, “A grand bargain on guns? Here’s how: Advocates of stricter laws and gun owners could come together on some basic reforms,” Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2013, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/15/opinion/la-oe-feldman-gun-control-bargain-20131215.
Wow! This is major. A nation has lifted its lonely eyes to Tabbies Joyce and Mike, and those clever cats have given up and bought into a national concealed carry law! Now, that is American Progress!
Get your gun and start packing folks, if you truly want to stop the carnage. The NRA message trumps all.
Don’t expect a contrary message.
If there is one thing all those little foundation baby kitties know, it’s to “stay on message” and “get with the program.” Purrrrrrring. Purrrrrring.
My serious suggestion is: invest in teddy bears, candle stores, and flower stands. They are going to be a booming business in the “common sense gun safety” world.