For regular readers of the gun blogosphere, the meme of some gun advocates posing as “victims” of the so-called “bigtory” of people who disagree with them is not new.
Sebastian, for example, wrote a coda to Friday’s back-and-forth over a piece written last week by columnist Mark Morford, with Sebastian invoking the “bigotry” defense of gun advocates versus people who effectively argue against them.
In fact, the notion of “bigotry” is perhaps the pillar upon which the National Rifle Association itself has built its whole bogus empire. That is: “Aren’t you mad at those coastal elites who look down their noses at you and your ‘way of life’? You should be mad as hell. GET MAD AS HELL AT THOSE ELITES! Donate to us today.”
That’s basically the NRA’s pitch in a nutshell.
Some adherents of this mantra have taken it to bizarre extremes, in fact, likening their position to African-Americans in the Civil Rights movement. No, not kidding. Look at this latest stemwinder by Joe from Idaho.
In order to think this way, the key assumption such gun advocates have to make is that their guns and gun use are functionally identical to race, or sexual orientation — such that one’s status as a gun advocate is essentially an immutable characteristic.
From that flows the conclusion that anyone who disagrees with the effects of their gun advocacy — such as forcing families and children to accept semi-automatic pistols or assault weapons in the local Starbucks or other restaurant — is the same as those who refused service to African-Americans at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.
It is mind-boggling, but you’ve got to hand it to them: It takes a very skilled strategist to perform the social ju-jitsu necessary to turn what is, in essence, armed political bullying into victimization (after community members reject their tactics) and get others to nod their heads in agreement.
The truth, of course, is that guns and gun carrying are obviously not immutable characteristics of people, and that the whole cultural framework around the issue of gun violence prevention is a sham. (Brady Center Vice-President Dennis Henigan has exposed this most recently here and here.)
Guns are guns. They are tools designed to kill people, and are clearly the best tool for the job. In America each year guns are used to fulfill their function 30,000 times, while injuring another 80,000.
Yet regardless of what NRA propaganda might have us believe, Americans are not born with guns in our hands, and the regulation of where guns can be carried; what kinds of guns should be out of civilian hands; how guns should be stored; and whether suspected terrorists, felons, fugitives, wife-beaters or the dangerously mentally ill should be screened out of the gun-buying process by the strongest possible background check, have absolutely nothing to do with “culture” or “bigotry.”
It has everything to do with public safety, public health and common sense.
That, of course, is why gun advocates who oppose gun regulation of any kind — led by NRA strategists — do all they can to cloak themselves in the mantle of “civil rights,” pretend they’ve suffered trials even remotely equivalent to racial segregation and homophobia, and pose as “victims” of “bigotry” whenever people interested in a peaceful community free from the constant presence of guns so powerfully and effectively call out gun advocates on their political bully tactics.
There will always be some individuals who dislike other individuals for who they are. But when it comes to gun policy in this country, calling for a gun violence prevention safety net is not hatred for people with guns.
It is a hatred for the effects of guns in the hands of dangerous people who never should have had them in the first place, bound to the deep empathy we have for victims and survivors of gun violence who will never get their loved ones back, and fueled by a fierce determination to reduce as many of those horrific stories as we possibly can.
Currently, gun advocates — led by the National Rifle Association — are standing in the way of that progress.