There is so much to like about this letter from the National Rifle Association to open carry demonstrators, not the least of which is its jaunty opening sentence. “Here at NRA, we are big fans of responsible behavior,” it begins, “legal mandates, not so much.” For a moment I hoped it would continue in that vein, and the NRA had released a letter written by Jackie Mason. But it quickly adopts a more serious tone, suited to its purpose as maybe the first ever public communication from the National Rifle Association urging people to be a little less nuts for guns. It detours into a long, slippery-slope argument about a particular kind of new safety device, but mostly it sends a message to Open Carry Texas: ” just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.” Now that’s a thesis.
It’s the little things in life that make a difference: microbes, for example, or an extra line of code in Target’s credit card security, or those ants that probably live in your DVD player. In art, too, as in nature/the DVD player, the nuances are often more important than the long lines. Today is Friday, and the difference between buttermilk and cream is no more than a few drops of lemon juice. Won’t you curdle with me?
“After Hurricane Sandy,” Wayne LaPierre writes in an essay for the Daily Caller called Stand and Fight, “we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.” Ah, yes—the hellish world of a gun-free South Brooklyn. That’s just one of the nightmare scenarios the NRA spokesman invokes in his call to gun owners to Stand and Fight.
That’s former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, delivering the opening remarks at today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence. As you may remember, Giffords was shot in 2011 by Jared Lee Loughner, whose list of complaints against her included her failure to completely answer his question, “What is government if words have no meaning?” at a 2007 campaign event. Something is wrong with Loughner’s brain. Thanks to that and his legally-purchased Glock 19, something is wrong with Giffrords’s brain now, too. After she struggled to speak on an issue that affects her and thousands of other Americans on a very personal level each year, Wayne La Pierre took the stand to disagree with her, because that is his job.
For my money, the most amazing paragraph in the New York Times‘s account of yesterday’s shooting at Lone Star College is the last one, about a teacher administering CPR to a woman who seems to have collapsed in panic:
As Mr. Thomas was trying to revive the woman, she told him that she was more frightened than the others. She said she had survived the Virginia Tech shooting. “She said, ‘I went through this already at Virginia Tech, and I just don’t like this feeling.'”
Now there’s a robust analog. America has become so rattled by the recent string of arbitrary mass shootings that we can’t even handle regular, one-on-one gun violence.