Saying No to the NRA’s Fearmongering Exploitation of Sandy Hook

So much for a national moment of silence, says the NRA.

In a calculated, horrible follow-up to a nation trying to fully assimilate the grief of a horrible event, the National Rifle Association (NRA) splattered us with an exploitive bid for more guns. More guns, they say, we need more and more guns in schools. That’s the solution.

In the many years I worked as a victim advocate, I came to understand that guns don’t protect people the way they hope they will. Guns are turned against victims, so that’s the first danger. But more often than that, victims are in shock, confused or overpowered and simply can’t get to or use the item they want to grab for help, be that a gun or more likely their cellphone. Victims often have to work through guilt about why they couldn’t do this or that in response to an attack–call for help, hide fast enough, deploy a weapon–but of course they have to forgive themselves and acknowledge that the element of surprise (then fueled by premeditation and/or anger) is massively disarming. Assailants with or without guns have every advantage, regardless of whether a victim is armed or not.

When the NRA tells us we need more guns to keep us safe against people with guns, they are asking us to suspend logic and replace it with fear. On behalf of the children of this country, I don’t buy it and I’m fighting against it.

The NRA has some pretty frightening ideas for America as evidenced by their press conference today. I understand that they are a lobby with three goals: maintain the broadest possible read of the Second Amendment, sell more guns of all kinds, and fundraise for themselves. I understand the importance of the first goal, though they are all too willing to use it as leverage to meet their second and third. So be it, that’s one of the problems lobbying has created, and I do believe that lobbies can, if they are ethical, manage to add to the American dialogue without exploiting us.

But today’s NRA is not ethical. They pretend to uphold the Constitution but currently really represent the needs of arms makers and dealer, and they are willing exploit those in mourning on their behalf.

Almost worse, they are selling out the Constitution they say they honor in order to direct attention away from the dangers of lax gun laws. It’s scary how in their desperation to stay alive, the corrupt gun lobby has begun to eat itself. The Constitutional rights they say they defend would erode in the police state that would be evolving if every public institution and school deployed more armed security as NRA head Wayne LaPierre suggested. Instead of gun control laws, they want controls put on free speech and free press by redirecting attention to violence in movies and video games.

As a parent and citizen, I’m appalled by their gall, callous disrespect, and heinous willingness to use fear in the tragic aftermath of Sandy Hook Elementary’s massacre to sell more guns.

The NRA is becoming an extremist outlier, though, because many ethical proponents of Second Amendment rights and personal gun ownership agree that more controls on some weapons and gun acquisition would be healthy for this country. My hope is they stand strong against the irrational exploitation of the NRA and join others in telling Congress the NRA doesn’t represent them. We have some complicated issues to resolve in our sorrow, and the NRA is hurting our abilities to thoughtfully resolve this harrowing issue.

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