Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Could Newtown Be a Government Conspiracy?

Last night Wayne LaPierre spoke to members of the organization he leads, the National Rifle Association, at a function in Las Vegas.  When preachers are talking to the faithful you get a real taste of their passion.  Passion was evident.  Passionate statements about the government ready to register your guns and take away your second amendment rights.  LaPierre said:
"There's only two reasons for a national registry [for guns].  To tax 'em or take 'em."
This week I switched my auto insurance provider.  Providing a VIN and drivers license number resulted in the agent being able to give me a quote based on my driving record and vehicle specific information. I could see this as government intrusion into my personal life. I prefer to see it as the regulation of a convenience that I use to commute and travel, but that could also be used in the commission of a crime, to flee law enforcement or recklessly to endanger the safety of others. If I had certain disabilities that might impair my ability to use a vehicle then I would, for the safety of others, have my license withheld or revoked.  Had I proved my inability to operate a motor vehicle responsibly the same thing would occur.  This is a responsibility of citizenship.

Registration of guns and background checks for gun ownership is no different.  The fact that "arms" are mentioned in the US Constitution is often used to move this to a different level.  Of course the "regulated militia" part is often ignored, but that not withstanding, one wonders, given the love affair we have with cars today, if the framers would not have mentioned automobiles in the the Constitution as well.

There is a huge chasm between what the majority of NRA member believe and what the organization defends.  Filling that gap with an group that represents these people is needed.  I do not hunt, do not own a gun and feel no need to have a gun in my house.  I do completely support those who own guns to hunt, use as sport such as skeet, collect historic firearms and protect themselves (regardless of the the statistics which reveal that to be more dangerous than helpful).  I would join this new organization in support of those who responsibly own registered and regulated firearms just as I belong to the AAA to support those who responsibly own registered and regulated motor vehicles.

But these are wild times and the radical right encourages completely fact free positions.  From The National Memo:
Conceived in a dream of reason, what the Internet too often reveals is mass credulousness and fathomless irrationality. According to Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald, a video depicting the Newtown, CT elementary school massacre as a government-sponsored hoax has drawn 8.5 million views on YouTube. 
No doubt many viewers were drawn by idle curiosity or sheer incredulity. What would “evidence” for so transparently preposterous an allegation consist of? Nevertheless, there appear to be thousands of True Believers. 
Try googling “Emilie Parker alive,” to sample the crazy. 
Adepts claim that a photograph of a young girl sitting in President Obama’s lap reveals that six-year-old Emilie Parker was not murdered along with 19 classmates at Sandy Hook elementary as reported. Supposedly, the photo reveals a telltale blunder. 
In reality, the child in the photograph is Emilie’s little sister, Madeline. 

Some will say, "But The National Memo is a left wing blog."  Fair enough.  But it's positions are supported by facts.  I know that "facts" can be selectively chosen, but facts and conspiracy theories are not the same thing.

Sure, publications use a grabber headline to pull in the reader.  I used that in the title of this blog post  but I know that my readers are capable of distinguishing fact from opinion.  This is not to say that others are not capable of this, but too many are too lazy to look beyond their reliable sources.  I encourage my readers to look at opposing points of view.

There is a great deal of difference between stupid and ignorant.

1 comment:

  1. I love the irony that the NRA was once very much in favor of gun control, as were the Founding Fathers, who ensured that you could only carry a firearm if you were white, male, sworn to the cause of the Revolution, and had your gun registered with the government.

    But I wouldn't worry too much. The far right is fast slipping into obsolescence. And in all its guises: homophobia, gun rights activism (a term which still makes me laugh), racist ideology that labels minorities as moochers, etc etc.

    And for all the press coverage that fringe extremists like the NRA get, there are millions of sensible, decent people who think the NRA is batshit crazy. But we don't hear about them, because that doesn't sell.