The NRA: Still America’s Cosa Nostra
The UCSB shooting is yet another monument to the cowering silence the NRA has forced the U.S. public into.
- A society so in the throes of an organization like the NRA issues a death wish upon itself every day .
- Nobody in the US is afraid of Russia anymore — but nearly everybody in power is afraid of the NRA.
- In the U.S. one can get coverage of every possible angle — except for the one that really matters.
- The U.S. media will talk about every potential factor in a mass shooting except the guns.
- There were 11 fatal mass shootings in the US in the first 5 months of 2014.
Another week, another mass shooting. There are, in fact, so many mass shootings now — the U.S. government has reported a big increase — that only a few, truly elaborate sprees make the national news anymore. The shooting at the University of California at Santa Barbara is actually the 11th fatal mass shooting in 2014, but only the second to get wall-to-wall coverage.
With the exception of the UCSB shooting and Fort Hood shooting, the other killing sprees that left at least four dead in each of the 2014 mass shootings happened in these U.S. cities and towns: Spanish Fork, UT; Cypress, TX; Defiance, OH; Alturas, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Glade Spring, VA; Oak Lawn, IL; Jonesboro, AR and Tampa, FL.
The real question at hand
The U.S. media cover every conceivable angle about the perpetrator and the circumstances — except for the only question that counts: Why did the individual have such easy access to guns?
Truth be told, nobody in the United States is afraid of Russia anymore — but virtually everybody in power is afraid of the NRA — the National Rifle Association. It acts as the ruthless countrywide enforcer of gun libertinism, the perverse and irresponsible, completely self-absorbed love of guns.
A society that is so much in the throes of an organization like the NRA, as the rest of the world is quick to point out, is getting tragically close to issuing a death wish upon itself every day.
And a death wish upon its children: There have also been more than 40 dead children under 14 killed so far in the United States in 2014 by “accidental” gun deaths. That matches the 2013 child casualty pace like clockwork.
If not now, when?
To paraphrase Primo Levi, chronicler of the Holocaust and author of “Survival in Auschwitz”: if not now, when? Is this moment not enough for a groundswell of opposition against the non-existent gun laws in the United States? Was even the slaughtering of elementary school students not a spark either? When will this society ever show the will?
Of course, the U.S. media are not the only ones who studiously avoid the issue.
So do U.S. Democrats. They, too, are avoiding the issue. Why? Because they believe that taking the only ethically and morally correct stance — to ban most hand guns — keeps them from winning elections. Even military-grade gun bans seem to be off the table to the public.
The fact of the matter is that U.S. opinion elites fail to speak up in time and with clarity. This deafening silence, of course, is the real issue. U.S. society — so determined to bring the gift of democracy to far-away lands completely unprepared for such a venture — does not have the democratic rigor and courage to speak up on its own behalf at a time when it really matters.
The people murdered at the University of California at Santa Barbara — and so many other sites — should be a national catalyst for an agenda committed to changing the subject to gun control immediately.
Instead of any of these events inspiring action, everybody is hushed, expresses surprise — and says if only somebody had the courage to step forward to lead on the issue — and take on the Herculean forces of the other side.
As in Italy
All of this reminds one of an Italian television series describing the corroding influence of the Cosa Nostra. Everybody knows full well that what they do is highly illegal — or at least ought to be illegal.
And yet, most of the folks in Sicily and the south of Italy go along with the decrepit activities of the mafia. As the logic dictates, silence is golden — and speaking up might result in one being murdered.
In the case of Italy, there are a few courageous people trying to fight the beast. Some judges and prosecutors in Italy showed extraordinary courage in pursuing the mafia — and, yes, some of them ended up murdered.
But they made a conscious choice. They realized that fighting a longstanding cancer in their home society was the only choice they could ethically make — even if it meant paying the ultimate price.
The same applies in the United States today. The NRA is as pervasive and destructive a cancer on American society as Cosa Nostra is on Italian society.
And all people of moral rectitude ought to stand up to defeat this monster.
“Enough is enough”
Most poignant at the moment is the call by Richard Martinez, father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez who was slain at UCSB. Martinez’s calls have been clear and focused: “Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live? When will this insanity stop?”
This is potentially significant because Hispanics, a rapidly growing population in the United States, are far less likely than other demographic groups to own guns. If they start speaking up, as Mr. Martinez now does, it could have a growing, positive influence on gun control. Of course, the NRA knows this and probably has or will target this particular demographic with new “programs.” The odds are that Hispanic Americans are smarter than to fall for that line “re-education.”
If Americans fail to act, they will have to shed their innate sense of moral righteousness. Until they get the gun issue under control by severely restricting access, theirs is not a nation that anybody in the civilized world is willing to follow.