"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It Doesn't Stop (Updated)

Well, the NRA has finally spoken.

The National Rifle Association broke its silence Friday on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.

The group's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference that "the next Adam Lanza," the man responsible for last week's mayhem, is planning an attack on another school.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said.

He blamed video games, movies and music videos for exposing children to a violent culture day in and day out.

"In a race to the bottom, many conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society, by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes," LaPierre said.

In other words, it's everyone else's fault. That's becoming the standard reaction on the right any time their policies backfire.

I've only seen snippets of LaPierre's "press conference," but it's been characterized as meandering, incoherent, defensive, and combative. From what I have seen, I smell desperation.

(Update: Found a video of the whole thing:

Jason Linkins has a slightly different take on LaPierre's speech (because it was a speech).

Granted, if you believe that what LaPierre was trying to do today was to sincerely join in a national conversation over school shootings, or offer a coherent set of preventative policy options, or even just demonstrate some baseline sensitivity for the lives that were lost, it is easy to see why you'd deem LaPierre's press conference to be an ineffective, tone-deaf failure. But what you should remember that the National Rifle Association does not exist to offer sensible public policy or participate in conversations or pretend to be sensitive about tragedies. The National Rifle Association exists to assist the manufacturers of guns and gun-related accoutrements in selling guns and gun-related accoutrements to people. That is their job, summed up, in its entirety.

The NRA are lobbyists who represent a bunch of gun retailers, and this is what lobbyists do -- they help their clients sell their products. And every action that LaPierre took today can and should be viewed through that prism.

There are people who claim to be legitimately gobsmacked today that LaPierre did not come to Washington, D.C., and say, "You know, I honestly think we can give ground on the assault weapons thing." Those people need to ask themselves: Why would a guy who is paid to help assault weapon manufacturers sell assault weapons to people who want assault weapons say, "Hey, let's restrict the sales of assault weapons?" If you thought that the NRA was going to sign on to any sort of weapons ban, then you have not been paying attention to what the NRA is all about.

John Aravosis has a post with some of the post-infomercial (his term) Twitter reactions.

And in the meantime, the shooting deaths continue. From HuffPo, the Top 100.

Here's a screen cap via AmericaBlog (for some reason, I can't do print screen on this computer) of the headline for that story:

This is since Sandy Hook -- one freakin' week. Go ahead -- tell me we need more guns.

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