By Dan Gross
Don’t get me wrong, I blame George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin. But I also blame the NRA and the politicians who do their bidding for putting the gun in his hands.
George Zimmerman had an arrest record and a history of violence. Yet he was allowed to carry a loaded, hidden handgun in the state of Florida. This was the way the NRA wanted it, and this was the policy that the Florida State legislature created on the gun lobby’s behalf.
Make no mistake, the gun lobby wanted George Zimmerman to have a gun, and to be carrying his gun the night he shot Trayvon Martin. They worked very hard to make it so. It is all part of the NRA’s ultimate vision – a vision they proudly admit – of guns just about everywhere, in just about everyone’s hands. George Zimmerman is the creation of the gun lobby.
George Zimmerman is the NRA.
Don’t look for logic or science to support the gun lobby’s arguments. It relies on highly discredited research and questionable anecdotes, tinged with just the right amount of racism, to create the fear and paranoia it uses to justify why everyone should carry around guns, everywhere.
The NRA glibly says “an armed society is a polite society.” Tell that to Trayvon Martin’s parents. Tell that to the families of the thousands of others killed unnecessarily every year because of the guns that the gun lobby and, worse, our elected representatives have put on the streets and in the hands of dangerous people.
The NRA wants an America where conflicts – however petty or imagined – are “resolved” at the barrel of a gun, as they were that February night in Sanford, Florida. It wants an America where people like George Zimmerman are armed with the mentality of taking the law into their own hands and the guns to make that mentality lethal.
That is not the America most of us want to live in.
The gun lobby says it is fighting for a right to bear arms, or self-defense. But it is not.
The gun lobby is just that, a lobby. It fights for an industry whose goal simply is to sell more guns – and they don’t care who buys the guns, or how they are used. It reflects the perspective of a small group of political extremists, not even the average NRA member.
I would imagine that most Americans don’t even realize that today, a convicted felon can walk into a gun show in most states and buy a gun without a background check. So can a convicted domestic abuser or aterrorist. And virtually anyone, including those same people can also arrange a private sale over the internet and legally buy guns, also without any background check.
As a result, thousands of Americans are injured or killed, every year. That is the work the gun lobby is doing and it is the America that the gun lobby wants. They claim they are protecting your rights or helping you defend yourself. Those are lies. They are selling more guns. And they are killing our citizens.
Even, worse, perhaps, are the politicians who do the gun lobby’s bidding. These are people who put the agenda of the gun lobby ahead of the lives of the citizens they have been elected to represent. I have talked with many of them. They know the difference between right and wrong. Yet they make decisions that they know are going to cost lives, and they do it out of political expediency.
Too bad we can’t arrest people for that!
What we can do, however, is to hold our elected leaders accountable for the lives that are lost as a result of their support for the gun lobby – lives like Trayvon Martin. We can ask our elected officials simple questions like, “Do you believe a convicted felon, domestic abuser, or terrorist should be able to legally buy a gun anywhere in our country?”
And if their answer is not to your satisfaction, and they will not commit to stop willingly arming dangerous people, you may not be able to arrest them, but you can vote them the heck out of office.