A Facebook friend and fellow gun writer (one far more published than I) shared the link to this article published by the British paper, The Guardian, and against my better judgment, I clicked on the link and started to read it. As with all other anti-gun propaganda, the author sets the tone of her article with her title. This particular title comes across as just a tad incendiary: “The NRA has declared war on America”
Wow, as a longtime NRA member, I did not realize we were declaring war on our own country? Perhaps I missed something in the membership paperwork? I must read on and see what I am missing.
In her opening two paragraphs, the author, Ana Marie Cox, sadly starts off on a really bad foot when she erroneously says a comment the gentleman seated next to her made was false. She says the NRA has no legal obligation to have an annual meeting, which unfortunately for her, is factually incorrect. The NRA was first chartered in the state of New York, and New York law does indeed require an annual membership meeting for nonprofit corporations (New York Not-for-profit Corporation – Article 6 – § 603 Meetings of Members).
After that, Cox really gets fire up when she selected a quote from Wayne LaPierre, which she describes as “exaggerated dystopianism”. The quote she selected?
“We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping-mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all.”
Now, not to counter her apparently supreme intellect, but as an average working schlub in the field of law enforcement, I respond to crimes on a daily basis. Not only do I know what crimes are occurring in my area, because I respond to them, but I try to pay attention to the crimes going on throughout the country as best I can, because it directly impacts both my job and my ability to go home safe to my wife and kids. Now, I do not pretend to know what sort of idealistic, utopian ivory tower the author lives in, but for those of us that live in the real world, just about everything (save the chemical attacks) Wayne listed in that quote is something that we can encounter any day of the week. And sadly, many people do encounter those very crimes every single day of the week.
Acknowledging the fact that those horrible crimes can and do happen daily is not “exaggerated dystopianism”, it is called being realistic. Sadly, unless you stay in your home and do not answer the phone or the door, the possibility of being the victim of violent crime is a very real possibility for the vast majority of Americans.
Even the incidents that sound overly sensational, such as the attacks on our power grids, have actually happened. Just last year, there were two incidents that I am aware of. There was an attack on a nuclear power plant in Tennessee where a guard was involved in a shootout with intruders and there was an attack on a power station in California where someone shot out 19 transformers. Just because Miss Cox either does not know about these incidents, or refuses to acknowledge them, does not mean they did not occur. Hiding your head in the sand does not make the bad people go away.
Cox goes on to say “At its convention in 1977, the NRA rejected its history as a club for hunters and marksmen and embraced activism on behalf Second Amendment absolutism.” Apparently Cox chooses to ignore the NRA’s long history as a group dedicated to protecting the gun rights of all American’s, including many groups of minorities that our very government sought to disarm. But to hear her tell it, it is all about hunting, much like the reason the anti-gunners try to attribute the original reason for the second amendment.
Cox then proceeds down a path I have trouble following, and likely because our world views are so entirely different. Cox says the following:
“The NRA is no longer concerned with merely protecting the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms – the gun lobby wants to use those arms on its fellow citizens. Or, as the NRA thinks of them: ‘the bad guys’.”
I can only assume when she refers to the “ bad guys”, that she is referencing one of the NRA’s latest videos titled “Good Guys”, in which three NRA commentators discuss the “good guys”. If you have not yet seen that video, I highly recommend watching it.
How Cox manages to come away from that video with the opinion that the NRA wants to turn our guns on fellow citizens is completely beyond me. Seriously, I cannot fathom how she came to that utterly delusional conclusion. I suppose it is the same mindset as a person that watches a documentary on 9-11 and takes it as an attack on Islam.
Cox then singles out another LaPierre quote in and twists the meaning until it is no longer recognizable. “’I ask you,’ LaPierre grimaced at the end of his litany of doom. ‘Do you trust this government to protect you?’” If you continue reading the next couple of paragraphs, she seems to insinuate that Wayne is suggesting anarchy with that quote. However, to those of us that view the world through honest eyes rather than through her rose colored lenses, what he is talking about is being self-sufficient when it comes to personal protection. I can unequivocally, without any hesitation, tell you that as a representative of the government, who is specifically tasked with protecting society, I absolutely do not trust the government’s ability to protect me. It is statistically, numerically, and physically impossible for the government to protect everyone all the time! All one need do is to turn on the local evening news for proof of that.
Cox continues her rant against Wayne by saying:
“LaPierre’s description of the world is demonstrably untrue, and not just in concrete, objective terms. To cite just one example: crime rates in the US have been falling for 20 years – a statistic that some gun rights advocates brandish as proof of the selectively defined cliché”
In that quote, she provides an embedded link, I suppose in an effort to substantiate her “concrete, objective” disagreement that the crime rates have fallen as gun ownership has increased. The only problem is that the article to which she linked does not actually discuss gun ownership numbers at all, and does in fact show that the violent crime rate has indeed been falling for the last 20 years. In other words, she essentially says “he is totally wrong, and here is an article which shows he is right”. I guess Cox was hoping the reader would just take her word for it and not follow the link?
Cox continues to rail against LaPierre, attacking his choice of other topics such as Benghazi, because I guess in her mind the NRA cannot be concerned about anything except gun rights. But wait, I thought they were only supposed to be defending hunters and marksmen and not our second amendment rights? Did someone mention not being able to have it both ways? Drat! Now I’m totally confused…
After all that, Cox throws in the obligatory “NRA is paid by the gun industry” and “NRA are arms dealers” comments, you know, because. Then she follows those generic assaults with a couple of paragraphs talking about how nice, friendly and helpful everyone she encountered at the NRA annual membership meeting was. Honestly, after reading everything prior to this, I was actually caught off guard. She actually seemed to be saying the NRA members she met were seemingly good folks. But, the good feeling was fleeting because right after actually complimenting the NRA members she encountered, she ruins that by asking “Why are they so incredibly frightened?”
Apparently Cox is unfamiliar with the concept of always being prepared. Just because someone chooses to carry a firearm, or even own one, does not in fact mean they are frightened. As a cop, I carry a gun every day at work. Cops do not carry handguns because we anticipate being in a gun fight. If we anticipate a gun fight, we would grab our rifle. We carry a handgun because we are prepared, just in case. It is no different for the lawful gun owner. I do not have a spare tire in my car because I plan on getting a flat tire, just like I do not have a fire extinguisher in my home because I plan on having a house fire. Certain things we have “just in case”.
The main difference between Cox and the lawful gun owners who buy guns for home defense and/or personal protection, is that we choose to view the imperfect world in which we live for what it is, while Cox appears content to remain in her imaginary safe utopia where “bad guys” do not exist.
To Ana Marie Cox, I extend an honest offer. If you would like to see the real world I am speaking about, the world in which I work every day, the world in which many people on a daily basis are the victims of violent crime, you are welcome to spend some time in my squad car with me. The only caveat I have is that you spend at least one week doing so because you cannot hope to gain a sense of what truly happens in just one day.
Matt is a writer at The Bang Switch – click here to visit them. The Bang Switch - www.thebangswitch.com/author/