Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The NRA's "Good Guys" Propaganda Video

(UPDATED -- See below)

I'm laughing today at a propaganda video put out by the NRA for their convention, which is happening right now.

Here, see if for yourself.  I want everyone to see the sort of fearmongering they are pushing...

Did you notice that one of the narrators is a black man and another is a woman?  I wonder why they chose them for this?  Could it be because gun ownership is incredibly low in those demographics?  Probably because women who live in a home with guns are FAR more likely to be victims of shootings in domestic violence incidents, and Blacks are FAR more likely to be shot to death than Whites.

Let's take a moment to analyze some of what they say in the video.  See below for some selected quotes uttered by the three, very-sincere narrators in the video....

Do you still believe in good guys?
Why yes, yes I do, but that doesn't automatically count anyone who can legally buy a gun.  I've seen too many reports of the sort of people whom the NRA labels as "good guys" go on shooting rampages.  Consider, for instance, the 475 shooters who had legal conceal carry permits, whose shootings led to 636 deaths, as chronicled by the Violence Policy Center.

You are surrounded by a world where madmen are famous and good ones forgotten
Madmen?  Like the racist, insurrectionist rancher, Cliven Bundy, who has gathered together a bunch of armed militia to help him continue illegally grazing his cattle without paying for it?  And good ones?  Like Jordan Davis, the unarmed teen who was shot to death by an armed "good guy" who didn't like Davis' music being played too loud and who wasn't convicted for the crime of killing the boy?  No, sadly, the NRA and their followers reverse that order.

Doors are locked and streets have gone silent.
Where the gates of success swing open for hypocrites, chameleons, bullies, and yes-men.
Where filthy crimes go unpunished, and killers and con artists prey upon anyone who still follows the rules.
Wow. That's a really bleak picture they paint!  The NRA loves to roll out their circus of fear!  Makes me afraid to go out my locked door into the silent street.  From the sound of it, killers and con-artists (why not throw in zombies, too?) are waiting to prey on me.  I'd better arm myself!

Can you think of any "filthy crimes" that have gone unpunished?  I certainly can.  But if the crime involves a gun, you can bet the NRA has turned its head and done nothing to keep it from happening again.  It couldn't possibly have been committed by one of their "good guys."  And who are they thinking of when they refer to hypocrites?  Maybe THIS GUY?  Surely, when they mention "chameleons," they aren't thinking of THIS GUY, right?  And when they say "bullies," are they talking about THESE GUYS, who stalked unarmed women out to lunch?  Somehow I doubt it.

[The video then evokes heroic personas of police, soldiers in battle, and firefighters, putting themselves in harm's way -- the implication, of course, is that anyone who carries a gun can be like those people!]

It takes courage to be free.  A special kind of backbone to reject the world that surrounds you.
Yes, let's evoke words like "courage" and "freedom" to sell your guns, NRA. It's a recurring theme.  But be sure to reinforce the anti-government propaganda that you've been spewing.  Make it seem "courageous" to reject the world surrounding you.  I mean, it takes a "backbone" to be fringe, right?

Normal, everyday people who aren't drinking the NRA Kool-Aid can see this video for what it is: 
fearmongering with lots of patriotic dressing, intended to rile up NRA members into buying more guns. 

How do you identify a "good guy with a gun" anyhow?
I've seen lots of reports in the last few days that make me question who the NRA thinks of as "good guys."  Like THIS GUY, who strapped on his handgun and terrorized kids and moms at a little league baseball game.  Thanks to the NRA, the police couldn't do anything to stop him.  Or THIS GUY, who opened fire on police with an AK-47 assault rifle when they knocked on his door to see if he had witnessed a car crash in front of his house.  Or THIS GUY, who had a loaded, unsecured handgun in a bag and, dropping it, unintentionally shot his wife in the ass.  Or the parents of THIS TEEN, who allowed their AK-47 assault rifle and other guns to get into his hands and take them to school with him to threaten others.  Or the parents of THIS 8-YEAR OLD KID, who allowed their assault rifle to get into his hands so that he shot at people with it.  As far as I can tell, none of these "law abiding gun owners" had been prohibited from owning their guns.  Are they NRA "good guys" too (until they weren't)??

It's time to reject the NRA propaganda and expose it for what it is and take REAL steps to keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys!

UPDATE (4/29/14):  No sooner had I posted this when a news report came in:  Six people were shot by a deranged and armed man at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw, Georgia.  Two people are critically injured, and the shooter then shot himself to death.  Why is this relevant to this post?  Because Kennesaw is a town which passed a law REQUIRING every household to own a gun!!  If you followed the NRA "logic", then a shooting of this magnitude just shouldn't be possible.  With all those armed "good guys" around, the shooter shouldn't have been able to kill before being killed, and in a state which recently passed the "guns everywhere" law, no less!

From the article:
The Georgia facility is located in Kennesaw, near Atlanta, a quiet suburb unique in the U.S. for mandating every household own at least one gun. The law is not enforced, so the Kennesaw gun ownership rate hovers around 50 percent, according to its police chief. That’s still higher than the average rate of gun ownership in the U.S., estimated to be about 34 percent. When the law was enacted in 1982, Kennesaw had only 5,000 residents. Today, it has a population of 30,000. 
The incident comes just one week after Georgia enacted what may be the nation’s most expansive concealed carry law. The National Rifle Association-sponsored “Safe Protection Act” allows gun owners to bring firearms into most public spaces, including schools, bars, churches, airports, and government buildings, even though researchers have generally found that more people die from gun homicides in areas with higher rates of gun ownership.

So much for all those "good guys with guns."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Where To Find First-Hand Accounts Of Shootings From Survivors And Families Of Victims

(UPDATED -- see below)

Here at New Trajectory there have been a number of survivor story postings, both as guest blog posts from survivors and the families of shooting victims, and as mentions of where to find such stories.  You can find these HERE.  The first of those was my own account (I was not wounded, but was intimately involved in a shooting in my youth).

But since the Sandy Hook shooting, there has been renewed attention on the issue of gun violence in general, and the dramatic impact that the daily shooting carnage has wrought on our society, including the posting of survivor stories at a number of sites, usually by the survivors themselves or families of victims.

Here are some important pages where you can find these (Click on the name of the page to link to it):

FACES OF COURAGE:  Put together by Moms Demand Action for Gunsense In America, this is a
Screencap from the Organizing for Action page.
collection of accounts by surviving family members for all sorts of shootings, including suicides.  You can add your own story here.

STORIES ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE:  A page put together by Barack Obama's organization, Organizing for Action.  Here you can find accounts, and even videos, by survivors of shootings and families of victims.  You can add your own story here, too.

I DEMAND ACTION:  A page set up by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which has a number of videos by people giving their first-hand accounts of how gun violence has affected their lives.

HOW LONG WILL I CRY?  VOICES OF YOUTH VIOLENCE:  This is a collection of first-hand accounts of gun violence in Chicago put together by students from DePaul University who fanned out across the city to collect and publish accounts from survivors and family members.

If you are a shooting survivor, or are the family of a survivor or shooting victim, I urge you to add your voice to the first two websites.  Yours are the most powerful voices calling for a reform to our out-of-control culture of gun violence.  

Let's work together to create a new trajectory for our communities away from gun violence.

UPDATE (4/18/14):  A new gun violence prevention site, Everytown for Gun Safety, also has a section for Survivors where you can share your story (scroll to the bottom of the page).  If you are a survivor or family of a victim, please add your story here.  Presumably these will be public at some point in the near future.

ADDENDUM (6/12/14):  Read in an article by Slate.com about family members of those lost to gun violence who continually advocate for changing our nation away from gun violence.  Said one family member, Sandy Philips, “You allow your heart to be broken every day you tell your story because you need someone else to understand the heartbreak that is part of this.”

UPDATE (7/14/14):  Rolling Stone online now has a page for "America's Gun Violence Epidemic."  There you can find a large number of survivor stories as well as a form where you can describe how gun violence has affected you.

UPDATE (3/14/15):  Photographer Joe Quint has put together moving photos of shooting survivors and victim families.  See here:  http://www.ittakes.us/faces-of-gun-violencehttp://www.ittakes.us/faces-of-gun-violence .

UPDATE (11/16/15):  Some survivors are sharing photos of themselves and family members as part of the #NotOneMore movement.

UPDATE (6/21/17): More survivor stories from the "Journey of a Bullet" site: http://www.nbcnews.com/specials/journey-of-a-bullet

UPDATE (12/30/17): Everytown has a page of first-hand accounts from those who have lost loved ones to suicide:  https://everytown.org/suicide-prevention/