Though my political views lean left, I do not want to take away the rights of American citizens to own guns. But, as a father and in the wake of the series of mass shootings in December that started with the deaths of 20 children and 6 brave educators at Sandy Hook, I want guns to be harder to get. According to a recent Gallup poll, more than half of the country (58 percent) agrees with me.
I don't own any guns, but I enjoy heading to the shooting range and doing my best Dirty Harry, though I often end up looking more like Don Knotts. When my wife and I discuss guns with our boys, we make the distinction that they are tools -- for hunting, for protection -- and were integral in the formation of our country as we know it. But, when James Madison drafted the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights, he and his fellow legislators probably weren't picturing a classroom of dead children, let alone multiple classrooms of dead children.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) had an opportunity after Sandy Hook to use its position as an authority on gun rights to acknowledge that measured reform must come and have a seat at the big kids' table to present an educated counter-argument, ensuring both sides of the debate walk away pleased. Instead, the organization's CEO Wayne LaPierre used his time in the global spotlight to regurgitate the same useless rhetoric about how the solution to gun crime is more guns.
Using LaPierre's dated logic, the solution to ending rape is to give Viagra to rapists. And so, in a single press conference, he wasted what George W. Bush called "political capital." Here are some solutions to other issues using LaPierre's logic:
- Avoid skin cancer by lying in the sun longer
- Prevent hair loss by shaving your head
- Protect your computer from viruses by clicking all the links in your email spam folder
- Cut sugar from your diet by drinking milkshakes
Do you have any ideas how LaPierre's reasoning could solve other problems? Tweet them using #NRAlogic.
Anyway, since the NRA's leaders demonstrate an unwillingness to evolve and a disregard of the duty to guide their members through the inevitable political process of measured gun control, they should not be welcome at the discussion. This necessary debate must involve intelligent insights and historical perspective, not the mewling of an angry toddler who fears dinnertime means the toys go away forever.
Thankfully, no one seems to be listening to LaPierre after his offensive suggestion that we put armed guards in our schools. Because that would mean we expect school shootings to continue, that your right to own a semi-automatic rifle is worth 20 dead children and countless others murdered.
I'm not going to use this post to rattle off a bunch of statistics about gun violence, especially that one about how more bullets were fired inside Sandy Hook Elementary then by all the police in Germany during 2011. (Oops, looks like I did it anyway.) I will, however, say this to LaPierre: Guns are not welcome in my boys' school. And if that is genuinely your solution to gun violence and not some poorly thought-out talking point that hasn't been updated by the NRA board for a couple of decades, you may want to check yourself for signs of head trauma. Perhaps your rifle recoiled and bumped your skull the last time you used an AR-15 assault rifle to make venison burgers. And to any paying members of the NRA, I suggest you look for an alternate organization -- one that cares to truly look out for your rights, rather than pick a fight during a national tragedy.
Every time innocent people are shot, we ask: If now is not the time to examine and change our gun laws, when is? As of December 14, 2012, if your answer is "never," you and LaPierre can go home and let us adults handle the important stuff like protecting the children of this country.
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