It's time to fight the NRA with their dirty tactics
On May 14, a racist teenager steeped in “white replacement theory” drove 200 miles to a Buffalo, NY supermarket and methodically shot as many black people as he could before surrendering to police. This 18 year old had LEGALLY purchased a military style assault rifle. Even though NY State has a law against high volume magazines for such rifles, this would-be murderer was able to obtain high capacity magazines from out of state. TO purchase the rifle, all he had to prove was that he was 18. No background check – no requirement to take a safety course --- no requirement to prove he wasn’t mentally deranged. Ten days later a different 18 year old in a much more permissive state, bought assault rifles and ammunition and went to a local school and slaughtered fourth graders and two teachers.
That night, head coach of the Golden State Warriors (the NBA west champions playing for the NBA championship this week) Steve Kerr chose not to say anything about basketball in his pre-game press conference. Instead, he let out a dry from the heart that no doubt echoed what so many of our fellow citizens are feeling. Anyone who hasn’t seen it should watch it now:…
Kerr is no stranger to loss from murder. His father was an official at a Beirut University when he was assassinated. Rather than focus on the “evil” of the murderers (which is of course easy to do) Kerr chose to focus on the enablers of murder --- the people who refuse to let our law makers create common sense regulations on the sale of weapons of mass murder and the ammunition that goes with them. Kerr specifically decried the fact that “50 Senators” were not permitting a vote on a universal background check bill which the House had already passed. He specifically called out Mitch McConnell who controls the behavior of tahe Republican caucus.
By refusing to permit debate on the universal background check bill, the Republicans in Congress (joined by DINO Joe Manchin) are avoiding having to show that they are so afraid of the NRA that they won’t do what NINETY PERCENT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT. And there is some validity to that fear. NRA following extremists (which by the way do not even include a majority of gun owners) do not want ANY regulations whatsoever because, the argument goes, it’s a first step down a slippery slope which will end up confiscating people’s guns. The intensity of their feelings is stronger than the intensity of the 90 percent who when asked by a pollster say they favor universal background checks. Answering a pollster’s question does not measure the intensity of feelings.
(The same principle applies to the anti-abortion movement whose numbers never approached a majority but whose members often consider it the single most important issue. The pro-choice majority didn’t realize how dangerously close they were to losing their rights until the recent leak of the Alito anti-Roe draft opinion.)
Well now, in the wake of the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas which reminded us of the Sandy Hook massacre, the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, the Majorie Stoneham Douglas shooting, etc. etc., maybe, just maybe this time will be different.
It’s an election year. The pro-gun Senators running for re-election, such as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, must be forced to go on the record opposing a common-sense law such as universal background checks. It would also be useful to force Republican Senate candidates hoping to flip Democratic seats in Arizona, New Hampshire, Georgia and Nevada to state where they stand on such a popular bill.
Kerr is of course right that only a handful of people stand in the way of – at least a first tiny step towards -- gun sanity in this country. We the people have to make them pay for their votes that enable mass murder. School age children and parents of school age children fear going to school. Black Americans are afraid to go shopping or to church. Gay people have to worry when they go to a night club and Jews have to worry about going to Synagogue. Every one of these venues has been viciously violated by a “bad guy with a gun.”
Now you know what the NRA says, right? The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a GOOD GUY with a gun. Well, there was a good guy with a gun at the supermarket in Buffalo NY – he was outgunned and killed by the shooter who wore body armor. A security guard and two police officers were no match for the 18-year-old gun owner in Texas. Outgunned local cops waited an hour for a swat team.
I have been at demonstrations carrying a sign that said THE NRA HAS BLOOD ON ITS HANDS. But carrying a sign, making a commentary broadcast, registering to vote, campaigning in support of candidates is CLEARLY NOT ENOUGH.
It’s time to stop playing by THEIR RULES --- Their rules are they can do anything, say anything, break any norm --- and maybe they will be chided by the media --- and in some cases—(the January 6 insurrection) prosecuted in slow motion.
I propose that every member of the NRA board and every anti-gun safety member of the United States Senate no longer have the luxury of politeness. If I lived in Washington, I hope I would have the courage to stand up in the US Senate gallery and yell murderer every time a Republican got up to speak. I’d be happy to be arrested and try to get the jury to nullify my conviction.
I believe NRA board members should be subjected to personal attacks. I am not recommending violence but certainly active civil disobedience and nuisance activities that might land oneself in jail are definitely called for. I think it would be great if these folks had red paint thrown on their front stoop, door, driveway, lawn. One does not have to resort to violence to make people uncomfortable.
No more NICE from our side. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Michael Meeropol is professor emeritus of Economics at Western New England University. He is the author with Howard and Paul Sherman of the recently published second edition of Principles of Macroeconomics: Activist vs. Austerity Policies
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