Opinion

Opinion

Opinion: NRA offers freedom to live in fear

January 6, 2013

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“Everybody’s got a pistol. This must really please the NRA” — from “Gun” by Gil Scott-Heron

So maybe the NRA is about to get its wish.

Here we are, a little over three weeks after the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., a little over two weeks after the National Rifle Association said there should henceforth be armed guards at every school, and at least one school system, Marlboro Township in New Jersey, is taking its advice. Under a pilot program in partnership with local police, students who returned to school last week found their campuses patrolled by armed officers.

But here’s the thing. If this is truly a good idea — “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre in a news conference — then why stop there? After all, it is not just our schools that are being shot up. So let us follow this advice to its logical end.

Consider:

Four firefighters in upstate New York were shot, two of them killed, on Christmas Eve when they responded to a call and were ambushed by a man with a semiautomatic rifle. So we should have armed guards on all our fire trucks.

Two customers were killed two days before Christmas when armed men opened fire with semiautomatic handguns inside a grocery store in Delray Beach, Fla. So we should have armed guards at all our grocery stores.

Two people were killed and one injured on Dec. 11 by a gunman who started shooting at a shopping mall near Portland, Ore. So we should have armed guards at all our shopping malls.

Two people were killed and two others injured Nov. 6 when an employee started shooting inside a chicken processing plant in Fresno, Calif. So we should have armed guards at all our chicken processing plants.

One man was killed and five others wounded in a shooting at a New Year’s Eve party in a private residence in Lakewood, Calif. So we should have armed guards at all our private residences.

One man was killed, a pregnant woman and her unborn child wounded, in a Dec. 9 drive-by shooting on a street corner in Miami. So we should have armed guards on every street corner.

That list, by the way, represents only a random sampling of recent shootings, most so run of the mill, so plain vanilla ordinary, they didn’t even make news outside their local areas. Which should give you an idea how common gunfire in this country is. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, nearly 98,000 of us are shot each year, a figure that includes law enforcement activity. That’s 268 a day, 11 every hour.

By the reasoning of the NRA, you do not address that sad state of affairs by crafting laws that strive to balance the rights of responsible gun owners with the need to block the irresponsible, the dangerous, the criminal minded, the unhinged, from access to these WMDs. No, by the NRA’s reasoning, the solution to too many guns is more guns still.

The organization frames this as a defense of freedom. To which the best rejoinder is provided by Gil Scott-Heron in the song quoted above: “Freedom to be afraid is all you won.”

It is a trenchant observation. Just the other day, two seventh graders in Tillamook, Ore. found a handgun, with a round in the chamber and the safety off, on the floor in a movie theater. It had apparently slipped out of the holster of one Gary Warren Quackenbush, 61, who said he felt the need for protection as he watched “The Hobbit.”

Quackenbush reportedly feared someone might shoot up the place — as happened in Aurora, Colo., last July during a Batman movie. So add movie theaters to the list of places we should have armed guards. We are a people shot through with fear, a nation under the gun.

And one wonders how much more of this “freedom” we can take.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CST each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com.

Comments

Laus_Deo 2 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Pitts gives pertinent reasons why some people, cultures, should not have guns. I wonder if he knows the history of the NRA? http://www.nrahq.org/history.asp Or, if he is able to understand this organization was developed by military men Church and Wingate?

I can only venture to speculate why Pitts would not, can not, or refuses to understand the history of the NRA. But, he should at minimal, have the diverse decency, to try an use critical thinking to understand firearms, which apparently he is not inherently adept at, before communicating his beliefs to the public.

uncleandyt 2 years, 2 months ago

If there is a problem with the current state of things, the stuck will point to history. Looky there !, Lincoln was a Republican ! Muskets don't kill people... The dead are silent.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

Side note: Illinois has some fairly restrictive gun laws, not as restrictive as California or Connecticut, but comparable to New York. . .

Things that make you go hmmm. . .

grammaddy 2 years, 2 months ago

Glad to see Leonard back here. It's been a while.

msezdsit 2 years, 2 months ago

Right, the young man should be applauded for not using a gun. It isn't just about other ways to kill people, it is about killing people with guns. Guns are a much more efficient tool to kill with. You can kill from a distance and kill faster and be more accurate.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

Guns aren't really that efficient. Viruses are about as efficient as you can get.

Now go outlaw viruses.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

You mean, like the laws already on the books against biological warfare?

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

No, I mean he should make it his life's mission to outlaw all viruses. If he can't see the difference between an AR15 and an M4, then how can he make a distinction between anthrax and the carrier for the treatment for a genetic abnormality.

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

You are more likely to be killed by a hammer than a rifle. (latest FBI stats)

msezdsit 2 years, 2 months ago

OH, and that brings everyone back to life that died from gunshot(s).

Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

As Len has failed to provide a solution to the problem we are basically left with 2 options.

1) Be the victim

2) Fight back

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

There is only one option:

1:) Prosecute criminals.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

The NRA is primarily a trade organization representing weapons manufacturers. Everything else is just window dressing (and fearmongering.)

msezdsit 2 years, 2 months ago

Maybe or maybe not, but as long as the NRA is promoting guns guns will be more available to these youngsters to get their hands on, stealing or however.

Jim Phillips 2 years, 2 months ago

Your comment proves just how ignorant you are of the NRA and how quickly you regurgitate the party mantra.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

That's called freedom of association and is guaranteed by the constitution. I realize you care little for the constitution, but you can't do anything about it.

If you are scared, go hide under a couch.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Why hide under a couch when I can just arm myself to the teeth because I'm so scared?

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

If you are afraid of guns, you won't be able to use them anyway. Under the couch is your only option.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Guns don't scare me, allowing idiots to have free access to them does.

So take cover behind your gun ... the boogey man is coming to get you.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

Then go buy all you want. You can buy them over the internet.

As for the boogey man, he knows to stay away.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

Arm yourself, it's the prudent thing to do, then hide in the closet.

Cops: Mother of two surprises intruder with five gunshots.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/mother-of-two-surprises-burglar-with-five-gunshots/nTnGR/

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

How many stories of children accidentally being shot by those who keep guns in the home should I post to counter this one? Arming yourself is not always the answer.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

Disarming yourself is not always the answer either.

Post one million stories "of children accidentally being shot by those who keep guns in the home" , I'll read them until I die and will never abandon the constitution.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

Accidents happen! Now what? Outlaw accidents? Hear me: You will never stop accidents or disarm the USA. . .count on it.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Well, good thing I never said we could or should disarm the USA. Making a statement like that is as ridiculous as saying the gun rights folks won't be satisfied until gradeschool children are going to school armed.

But thanks for the hyperbole. It really helps the discussion.

msezdsit 2 years, 2 months ago

Guns vs gravity. lots of laughs on that one

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

So G., do you support the NRA's opposition to Democratic Supreme Court justices who never ruled against guns?

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

Yes. Oddly enough, I support your right to to oppose whatever it is you are opposing at the moment.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Here is a story about using a gun to commit suicide. The police returned it to a woman with mental illness after they had confiscated it. Her name was Kristi Stadler. It helps put a human picture to the abstract of gun suicide and the ease with which guns help those who do commit suicide. http://www.azcentral.com/insiders/laurieroberts/2013/01/05/the-insanity-of-arming-the-mentally-ill/

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

Please pay attention! Notice question 11F. Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes a determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that you are a danger to yourself or to others or incompetent to manage your own affairs) OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution?

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/industry/042012-draft-f-4473.pdf

If the mentally deficient person had no gun they could have killed themselves via gravity or Tylenol. Restricting law abiding citizens rights could not have saved Kristi Stadler.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Read the story. The woman attempted suicide before. The final time she used a gun, which had been returned by the police. The gun made the suicide successful. Read the story.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

Read my comment. She wanted to die and would have found a way regardless of whether or not the police gave the gun back. We need to address the country's health care system! By the way, was the gun she used to off herself a semi-auto rifle with high-cap magazine? Welcome to reality.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Since she attempted suicide several times before, you can't really say she would have found another way regardless. In fact, that is as careless a statement as the police giving back the gun was careless.

No, it wasn't a semi-auto rifle with a high cap magazine. It was a handgun. She only killed herself. If you want to look at mutliple murders combined with suicides done with a semi-auto rifle with a high cap magazine, those examples are mutliple and available. Several involve the murder of children. Welcome to the obvious.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

No one, let me repeat, NO ONE is advocating for supplying firearms to the mentally ill! Not even the dreaded NRA. . .The article you've posted is retarded (pun intended).

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

But it is a real-life event. It really happened. The police really gave her back her gun. She had issues with depression, not mental retardation. Here is a quote from her final call to the suicide prevention hotline: “I went and picked up my gun today because they gave it back to me because they’re very, very stupid and now I have my gun and it’s loaded and I’d like to shoot myself,” she told Luis, the crisis counselor. “So there’s my dilemma. I’m a little drunk … When I try to kill myself I’m usually drunk. It makes it easier. I’ve tried this many times and I’ve been unsuccessful but a gun makes it very easy to be successful in killing yourself. “

msezdsit 2 years, 2 months ago

Consider:

Four firefighters in upstate New York were shot, two of them killed,..........................................................................One man was killed, a pregnant woman and her unborn child wounded, in a Dec. 9 drive-by shooting on a street corner in Miami. So we should have armed guards on every street corner.

The NRA's answer to your questions is not yes but hell yes. The more gun violence there is the more guns we need. brilliant.

In_God_we_trust 2 years, 2 months ago

The bigger the fire, the more water and fire fighters you need to put it out.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Great idea. It'll be a much better world when we're all armed to the teeth, and we can swallow a few bullets to bring in the new year, and drive our AR-15 to work

In_God_we_trust 2 years, 2 months ago

This world will never achieve peace, until Jesus rules in everyone's heart and mind.
When the USSR put arms in Cuba aimed at the USA, did President Kennedy say: Lets show the peaceful path and disarm ourselves, even though an enemy can and will destroy us. The President wisely strengthened our military stand to resist the evil that threatened the country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Are you in the national guard? That's what the second amendment is about, not your ability emulate the hillbillies in "Deliverance."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

The Supreme Court is often wrong (quite often for purely ideological reasons.) Including this ruling.

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

The SCOTUS has ruled otherwise, but of course they are surely wrong and someone who calls himself bozo is here to enlighten us.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Seriously RoeDapple, you are going to pick on someone for their logon name? : )

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

I can handle it. I'm sure bozo can too.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

"Ban alchohol and save 75,000 lives per year. Ban automobiles and save 40,000 lives per year"

Oddly enough, neither of those items are protected by the constitution.

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

Just to save you the trouble of a Freedom of Information Request, I own 28 hammers. Some are antiques, a few claw and ball peen, a finish hammer, rubber and wooden mallets, a dead hammer (oh, that sounds scary!) and several pneumatic (semi-auto) nail guns. None are registered. Unlike my firearms, I have caused bodily harm with my hammers. Damn near ruined my thumb and pointy finger roofing the house in '89.

Even though hammers cause more deaths than rifles my neighbors have not indicated they fear me going on any sort of rampage with one. Probably because they have hammers of their own . . .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

That's some of the most idiotic statistical mumbo-jumbo I've ever seen.

Firstable, it's blunt objects, not hammers, and it compares the death rate against that of only rifles, but excludes shotguns and handguns.

And really, do you think Lanza (or any other mass murderer) could kill 27 people in a couple of minutes with a hammer?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

If they are such effective weapons, why do you need an AR-15?

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

Oh yeah, forgot the hammer in the AR-15. 29 hammers

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

Firstable ? Sounds kinky, not interested. And as far as mumbo-jumbo goes, I'm guessing you haven't opened an NRA magazine (or would that be clip?) in 20 years, if ever.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't need to read their propaganda rag to know their true agenda. Far and away their primary funding source is the firearms industry, and they use it by the $millions to buy off Congress to make sure there are no restrictions to scaring people like you into buying ever more deadly gear under the fantasy that it'll make you safe.

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

"I don't gotta know nuthin' bout nuthin' to spew my undeniable bias"

There. Fixed it for ya.

Jim Phillips 2 years, 2 months ago

Well bozo, if you don't like those stats, try these from the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooa98F...

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

Here's a hint on posting youtube vids: look below the video and there's a "share" button...click it...then click "embed" button...copy and paste the link into the ljworld comment window and...voila!

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

Jesus was a carpenter. No one thought badly of him. For that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Yea, just think how much more effective the Prince of Peace could have been if he and his disciples had had bushmasters.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

RoeD, I'm sure people don't fear you with a hammer because they can outrun you with your hammer. They can't outrun you with a rifle. Analogy fail.

RoeDapple 2 years, 2 months ago

If that's the best you've got then you came with nothing.

lunacydetector 2 years, 2 months ago

question: did the Connecticut shooter use handguns or a bushmaster? there were conflicting reports right after the shooting...the first claim - they found a bushmaster and ammo in the trunk of his car and used handguns to kill the children. it wasn't until later the story changed. so what is the truth?

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

I noticed that as well. . .initial reports were that he used two handguns! And that Lanza had killed his father too. Oh look, it's the main-stream-media twisting the facts to manipulate the masses as usual.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Shame on those evil media types for not knowing exactly what happened in a school building to which they had no access.

But what's your point-- that the availability of semi-automatic handguns with large clip capacities should be more greatly restricted?

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

"Opinion: NRA offers freedom to live in fear"

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

From a source, Google it if you have to.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

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uncleandyt 2 years, 2 months ago

You can have guns. You can have guns. You can have guns. We do have guns.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

What about the remarkable list of lies by the NRA on Obama's agenda to do things such as "ban use of firearms for home protection," or "close down 90 percent of the gun shops in America."? Those are blatant lies.

Why support any lobbyist group that blatantly lies to you?

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/nra_targets_obama.html

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

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Kathy Getto 2 years, 2 months ago

Not to be construed as either pro or con, I love Gil Scott Heron. B-movie being a favorite.

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FsLtRHN7fsgY&h=nAQEa5oRI&s=1

An excerpt:

"As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here's a look at the closing numbers – racism's up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot - the House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce – and common sense is at an all-time low with heavy trading. Movies were looking better than ever and now no one is looking because, we're starring in a "B" movie. And we would rather have John Wayne...we would rather have John Wayne. "

uncleandyt 2 years, 2 months ago

On the questions of guns, can we please just talk about hammers? Now where were we?, oh yes, Gravity ! Let's ban gravity. This previous sentence could perhaps be offered as solid proof that there is a proposal out in the world to keep us from not floating. Change the question. Change the subject. My beef is not chicken. The U.S. has too many guns. And just like Coke and Pepsi, the weapons makers are expanding their markets. More guns absolutely leads to more shooting. Each shooter has a first time for shooting, so you can save your law-abiding-citizen arguments. What are we talking about?, guns?...guns?.....We're talking about guns !

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

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beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

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beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

To the point of the article (which everyone is missing):

Pitts is correct. The NRA's logic will mean we need to have armed guards simply EVERYWHERE, since shootings happen everywhere. Gee, why would a lobbyist firm for gun manufacturers want that?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

And once we have all those armed guards in all public and private spaces, we'll need guards for the guards.

Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

Len, you have done another stellar job of rousting the crazies for the cause of the week.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Hey Armstrong, I guess gun control is one of those things that will happen since Mitt Romney lost the election. (By the way, did you know Mitt lost?)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm sure glad I have the freedom to point out how idiotic what you just posted is.

Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

Gosh boz you're so fast and clever. Any more jewels of wisdom today - or any other day for that matter.

Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

Proving you don't have either on a daily basis seems to be your trademark

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

NAMBLA? Oh good god, how stupid.

Of course, I guess a comparison of one radical group with another makes sense on some level.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

I find it comical that all the hardcore gun freaks have to fall back on their total misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment and their ignorance (willful?) of the history behind it to justify their position in favor of a totally unchecked proliferation of guns and weaponry of all kinds.

The founding fathers were certainly some pretty smart guys, but they were by and large aristocrats looking to maintain or improve their position in the world. They saw getting rid of the King and his taxes as the best way to do that. But they didn't have an army, and they were very afraid of what the hoi polloi might do after the King and his army were out of the picture-- the slaveholders in the south in particular were quite concerned about slave revolts. They didn't have the money to have a standing army, and the self-financing militias envisaged in the 2nd Amendment were the best they could do.

So, if you're a gun freak, please just make the best argument you can for why we should spend half our collective income on guns and ammo. But you can't do that with the intellectually fraudulent assertion that that's what the founding fathers wanted us to do.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

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beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

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