#676 – Dick Bernard: The Gun "Conversation" one month after Newtown.

This is the one month anniversary of Newtown CT massacre. It seems a good time to look back, and ahead.
The day of Newtown – it was a Friday – I wrote a blogpost in this space, which was also carried in the local Woodbury Patch. There were 45 comments on that post. They speak for themselves.
A few days later I did a second post, with some recommendations. It is here. I included in the post the following graphic, which is very pertinent at this point in the conversation about guns.
(click to enlarge)

Handout from a circa 1972 workshop.

This old graphic demonstrates a general truth: if you seek change – good or evil – after a crisis, there is a narrow window of opportunity. If you wait for the perfect moment to act, the opportunity is lost, since people have a short attention span. Both heroes and villains need to pay attention to this.
I could give many examples from both good and evil, but these would deflect attention from our need to act on this issue, now.
There are so many opinions already out there, another one may seem superfluous, but here are some very brief thoughts:
1. Attempting to introduce more arms into any setting, especially schools, is insane. More weaponry simply introduces more possibilities for more tragic mayhem. If one only considers schools, in the United States there are about 14,000 school districts, 133,000 schools (ranging from one room rural, to immense structures serving thousands); with 55,000,000 or so students and perhaps 5-6 million staff, mostly teachers.
Solving this problem with more lethal weapons is no solution.
The NRA attempted to exploit post-Newtown hysteria on this.
2. The National Rifle Association (NRA) does not deserve the power it attempts to exercise.
It is useful to learn about the NRA. Here is an article that seems to summarize the bases well, though not from the official NRA perspective.
NRA claims to enroll about 4 million members at $35 dues. This translates into approximately one NRA member per 60 adult Americans, and by no means do all NRA members subscribe to the credo of the current leaders.
If we look at NRA leadership as it is, rather than what it pretends to be, it is nothing more than a “skinny 90 pound weakling” who, exposed, is no more powerful than the exposed Wizard of Oz. It has only the power the rest of us choose to give it.
NRAs big money backing may talk, but only possesses the same single vote influence that every one of us has with the people we elect to represent us. We have the power on this issue, if we choose to exercise it.
3. Those who demand the right to be armed and dangerous are fools, exposing their short-sightedness and, yes, impotence.
I am trained in firearms – Army years. But I’ve never owned a gun, and I have no intention to get one now.
In a ‘gunfight at the OK Corral’ I would be un-armed and dead.
I don’t need to go to the OK Corral, but if I did, and I was killed, my problems would be over, but my well-armed assailants problems would just be beginning.
Last I looked we have little laws in this country which frown on murder. And we have technology with which to find murderers that wasn’t available during the OK Corral days.
Someone lethally armed is potentially more a danger to him or herself than to any intruder or the hated government.
I don’t need to list examples. They abound.

The struggle for sanity in gun ownership is by no means over. It is just beginning.
Be on the court.
It is your legislators, national and state, who will have to enact the policies that are needed. They depend on you.

from Peter Jan. 14:

Well since you put it that way…
Just guessing you should strengthen the connection between NRA-fear and legislators. They are the ones who are afraid of NRA, because it looks as if it can get them un-elected if they don’ play along. Also it would be well to look into the history of that, has anybody been un-elected by the NRA? Cause they sure have swung a lot of weight in DC. Power in DC is a very individual matter. Relationships between less than three or four people can have the effect of thousands of votes. NRA is probably as hollow as you say, but to let the air out of them you have to expose this, and that means revealing the actual mechanism of how this (tax exempt!) outfit pulls the strings it pulls, and what those strings are made of.
I don’t actually believe the rank and file membership does a whole lot in the way of lobbying. Lobbyists are all presenting themselves as representing a lot of voters, or a lot of jobs in your district. But day-to-day they don’t really have to trot them out. It’s like the filibuster.
Dick, to Peter, and all: If one feels they have no power, they have no power. We are far more powerful than we think we are; and the adversary is far weaker than it would admit it is….
From Phyllis Jan 15:
Good article! I honestly think most of our senators and congressmen are wimps/weaklings when it comes to the NRA. I wish they would all get a spine!! They cannot answer yes or no, but dance around a question when it comes to gun safety. So they get a F rating from the NRA, who really cares….and what does it mean to have the A+ rating??? Does that make them a better person?? Just asking….

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