uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The NRA's Fantasies of Violence

So we finally got to hear what the National Rifle Association thinks about the horrific shooting deaths of twenty children in Connecticut last week. The answer: not much. Certainly nothing that would make it rethink any of its pet ideologies or standard sloganeering in favor of any meaningful reforms on how easily people can obtain guns in this country.

The remarks made by Wayne LaPierre, the vice president of the NRA, were astonishing in their tone-deaf reaffirmation of rigid ideology. What was less astonishing, however, was the use of paranoia and fear throughout his speech to drive home the statistically absurd notion that every American should own a gun.

But the most absurd moment came as LaPierre attacked video games and violent entertainment, and suggested, "Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?"

Yes, the spokesman for the gun industry said that. Out loud.

What makes this statement hilarious is how many times, even within this very speech, LaPierre also fantasized about moments in which gun-toting "good guys" could shoot and kill "bad guys" if it ever came to that -- and if you live in LaPierre's world, it can and should come to that all the time.

Case in point: "And when you hear your glass breaking at three a.m. and you call 9/11, you won’t be able to pray hard enough for a gun in the hands of a good guy to get there fast enough to protect you."

Or how about: "That wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger, more lethal criminal class -- killers, robbers, rapists, gang members who have spread like cancer in every community across our nation."

Or: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

The NRA's entire narrative revolves around fantasizing about killing people -- killing the "bad guys." It is propped up by fear and paranoia about runaway "gang members" (which as a bonus is probably racial coding) who are going to break into your home while you're there (also statistically unlikely) so you need a gun to protect your family -- protect them by blowing away the bad guys. To purchase a gun in the unlikely chance that you would need to use it against an armed intruder or in a public shootout is to fantasize about violence in a much more real and dangerous way than those who fire up their video-game consoles. 

Meanwhile, when LaPierre isn't fantasizing about taking out "gang members," he's apocalyptically intoning that the president or the U.N. is about to come take everyone's guns.

There's a filthy form of pornography going on, all right, but LaPierre is its chief purveyor. 

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