“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun,” says Wayne LaPierre, “is a good guy with a gun.” This seems to be the favorite statement of NRA members, fans and boosters everywhere. Those who utter it are usually white men draped in American flags, camouflage shirts or flag-themed outfits, and they assume we know they are the Good Guys. I’m not so sure.
LaPierre, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association, responded (a week later) to the tragedy of the Newtown school shootings with the recommendation that we put armed teachers and staff in all schools along with armed guards; the answer to gun violence being, as always, more guns. In short, everyone with a legally purchased gun is a good guy, ready to stop the bad guy. Seriously?
I wonder if these guys ever read Alice in Wonderland? The part about the rabbit hole?
Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, despite the unspeakably terrible thing he did, may not have been a bad guy. A sick guy, troubled guy and ultimately terribly dangerous guy indeed, but who knows if he was a bad guy? What we do know is that he had easy access to a variety of guns.
One of the best assessments of the craziness of LaPierre and some NRA members is in a recent New York Times editorial aptly titled The NRA Crawls from its Hidey Hole. “(W)e were stunned” said The Times, “by Mr. LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant.”
Perhaps LaPierre and the NRA will have the decency to go back into their hidey hole while the country has a rational conversation about how to protect innocent children. But I’m not holding my breath.