Friday, September 11, 2015

How The NRA Observes 9/11

I remember when the Twin Towers fell on that awful day, September 11, 2001.  3000 people died at the hands of terrorists, and the nation fell into mourning, super-nationalistic thought, and political moves that lead to two wars, the Patriot Act, and many other downstream national changes.

But, primarily, we stop this time each year to think and reflect on the loss of life -- the innocents in those buildings and planes, the valiant emergency responders who died in the destruction, and those who helped with rescues and cleanup.

All over the nation, including in my town, people are taking moments of silence, holding vigils, and generally taking some time to think about what happened.

But how does the NRA respond?  By celebrating a gun that "survived" the falling of the Twin Towers.

No, really, that's how they responded.  They trotted out a donated, burned-out revolver that was
Officer Weaver's gun
carried by a New York police officer who died at the scene.  From their article:

Weaver’s revolver holds a place of honor today and serves as a somber reminder of the law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line daily. It’s an ordinary firearm that stands as a symbol of extraordinary bravery.  
There's nothing wrong with remembering a fallen officer.  He was, indeed, a hero.  But to hold up a lethal weapon as some sort of patriotic symbol is, simply put, sick.  But it illustrates quite nicely the real motives and thought processes of the NRA.  The same super-nationalism that fueled those two wars and the Patriot Act is the same super-nationalism that they try to appeal to, wrapping a flag around the ugly act of killing and lethal weapons to appeal to their followers (and sell more guns for the manufacturers who bankroll them).

The NRA's sick fascination with their weapons needs to be put aside today.

Instead, in our thoughts about the event, let's take a moment to put 9/11 in the correct perspective, when it comes to the issue of guns and gun violence.  I blogged on this once before back on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.  As I stated in that post:

But while we are today mourning the loss of the 3000 who died in 9/11, I ask that you please keep another thought in mind.  The United States loses the same number of people to gun violence every 35 days or so.  That's around 31,224 people a year -- ten times the number who died in 9/11.  Another 66,768 a year are wounded but survive.  In the 10 years since 9/11, that equates to around 300,000 killed and 670,000 injured to gunfire on our streets and in our homes (compare that to the 5800 American soldierswho have died in that time in Iraq and Afghanistan wars).  Imagine, a million people shot in ten years!  But unlike the dramatic results that came after 9/11 -- the wars, the Patriot Act and other legislation, the trillions of dollars spent -- practically nothing has changed to slow the rate of civilian shootings in the U.S.  In fact, with cuts to the ATF, the lapse of the assault weapons ban, and numerous state-level legislative changes around the nation to relax gun laws, our nation has only become more dangerous.  To the NRA, these alarming numbers are collateral, insignificant compared to a warped sense of Second Amendment freedom.

In fact, if anything, the NRA has done more to arm terrorists on our soil than the terrorist organizations themselves.  The NRA has staunchly opposed adding those on the Terrorist Watch List to the NICS background check system.  The NRA has opposed any and all regulation of guns, such as background checks for private sales, making it insanely easy for terrorists to get guns.  And the NRA has pushed hard to reduce any restrictions to overseas sales of guns, meaning that the gun manufacturers are profiting from sales to the very groups that the U.S. and its allies are fighting.

Terrorist groups know this, and they have publicly encouraged their followers to take advantage of our weak gun laws to arm themselves here.

There have been very few deaths in America at the hands of foreign terrorists.  Let's focus were the real problem lies, with the tens of thousands killed each year in America by guns, and make a new trajectory for our nation away from gun violence.