Yesterday, a man fired an AR-15 into the air near a checkpoint at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. According to reports, the shooter managed to get off two shots before an air marshal opened fire on the man. Those shots missed, so the shooter pulled out a handgun and committed suicide.
Today, the National Rifle Association begins its 142nd annual meeting in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Gun control advocates couldn’t resist drawing a connection. Twitter has exploded with a flurry of caustic gun control rhetoric as gun control advocates throw blame at the NRA.
One user wrote, “Sorry to hear the rumor that someone going to the #NRA convention had a negligent discharge at the airport.” Another user wrote, “#SarahPalin / Youre wanted at #TerminalB at #IAH / Something about Some #AssClowns? / FU @NRA! GTFO of Houston! #GunControl #uniteblue #ctl”
The most popular joke revolves around the opening ceremonies. Insooutso wrote, “Looks like the Opening Ceremonies for the NRA meeting in Houston have begun” and user TBogg added, “Calm down.Guy shooting guns & himself at the Houston airport is just part of the opening ceremonies for the NRA's meeting there this weekend.”
Obviously, the NRA is not responsible for the suicide – at least not directly. At most, NRA-backed policies could have made it easier for the shooter to get a gun, so the link between the NRA and the incident is tenuous at best. Nonetheless, these tongue-in-cheek remarks draw attention to the prevalence of gun violence in the US and the alleged apathy of organizations like the NRA.
In fact, suicides are the number one cause of gun-related deaths in the US. The incident in the airport adds one more number to the ever-growing pile of statistics.
What do you think? Is the shooting incident merely an unfortunate coincidence that has no real, tangible connection? Or should the NRA truly feel partially responsible for the thousands of gun-related suicides each year?