There’s a point where you realize that some groups – and in particular their leaders – are no longer “out in left field,” they’ve left the ball park and are now in a remote field somewhere miles away from it. A recent example was from the president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre’s speech to the annual convention. He said this:
“Right now, there’s a reporter out there writing the NRA is paranoid and that I’m crazy,” he said. “That reporter should think of what it must have felt like on that fateful September day in the World Trade Center.”
Yes, he really said that. That’s a “WTF?” statement if you ever heard one. Apparently, in Mr. LaPierre’s mind, if only the people in the World Trade Center had been allowed to carry weapons, they would have stopped the terrorists. Nope, not even close. Personal weapons don’t do a good job of stopping an airliner from crashing into a building. There’s also a reason people aren’t allowed to carry weapons on an airliner. First and foremost, it’s considered to be an outstandingly bad idea to puncture a hole in an aircraft’s fuselage at 30,000 feet. Secondly, airliners tend to be very full of people with not much space to enable you to properly target a specific person. So they don’t allow people to do that. It’s called “common sense.”
There’s a complete lack of that when you start looking at legislation the NRA has been pushing for the past several years. As I’ve said in previous posts, I grew up around guns. I have nothing against them, but I also recognize what used to be “common sense” doesn’t seem to be present these days when it comes to the NRA. Seriously, when did it become a good idea to advocate for laws allowing people to carry guns into bars, churches, or schools? Or even to that it was necessary to do so? In Arizona, Governor Brewer vetoed a bill that would allow people to carry weapons into public buildings:
Brewer’s veto of the bill, which could have let guns into city halls, police stations, county courts, senior centers, swimming pools, libraries and the state Capitol, was the latest setback for a push to expand the right to carry guns in public places in Arizona.
It’s telling that the legislators in Arizona thought it was a good idea to pass a law like this in the first place. There’s no good reason for it, except “we want to make ourselves feel safe by carrying guns everywhere. Just because.” Think that’s just Arizona? Think again. Indiana just passed a law which enables people to shoot police officers.
(i) A person is justified in using reasonable force against a public servant if the person reasonably believes the force is necessary to:
(1) protect the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force;
(2) prevent or terminate the public servant’s unlawful entry of or attack on the person’s dwelling, curtilage, or occupied motor vehicle; or
(3) prevent or terminate the public servant’s unlawful trespass on or criminal interference with property lawfully in the person’s possession, lawfully in possession of a member of the person’s immediate family, or belonging to a person whose property the person has authority to protect.
Which isn’t what the Second Amendment was about. What the NRA – and groups following them – have been doing is playing with a misperception of risk, building a fear that makes people think they need to have guns around “to be safe.”
Misperception of risk is where you magnify a potential risk far and beyond the actual likelihood. It’s interesting to look at the areas proposing some of the most liberal gun laws, as a means of “preventing crime,” because when you do, the actual crime rates has been dropping in those areas. In other words, the fear of crime increases as actual crime decreases.
The NRA is also good at “what if” or “if only” games, particularly in the wake of a tragedy. “If” someone had been allowed to carry a gun, they wouldn’t have fallen victim, or “If only” they could have stopped a tragedy. The reality is that it wouldn’t have stopped it. If someone holds a gun on you, reaching for yours just gets you shot. If you’re in a crowd and someone starts shooting, your ability to correctly identify the shooter and take the correct action – let alone do so accurately – is extremely limited. The odds of something even worse happening increase. As we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, it can also lead you to put yourself in a situation that you wouldn’t have, had you not been carrying, with tragedy resulting.
That’s the problem with going to an extreme. “Common sense” becomes uncommon. The NRA and “conservatives” seem to have left behind the idea that with every right, there comes a responsibility. The operating mentality these days seems to be “screw responsibility, I have a right!” Which may be good for the gun manufacturers and for the salaries of the NRA officials, but not for society.