It was probably foolish to think something useful would come from watching the NRA “news conference”. This “news conference” allowed for no questions from the press.
Following a transparent expression of grief for the families who lost loved ones in Newtown, the “news conference” proceeded into a blame game that held everyone responsible for the tragedy. Everyone, that is, except the NRA. The one thing the NRA did not do was take any responsibility for its policies or demonstrate any reflection on its positions or how any of those policies or positions may have contributed to gun violence in America. If you believe in taking personal responsibility, you did not see it from the NRA today. But, boy did they blame everyone else.
They blamed an “unknown number of monsters” in our society who heard voices in their heads. Understand this. They are referring to the mentally ill as an “unknown number of monsters.” They also made reference to the criminal element. And, so you appreciate it, reference to criminals was different than the “unknown number of monsters”. To equate mental illness with monsters is, in one word, inexcusable.
The NRA then blamed the media, accusing them of rewarding mentally ill monsters with the “wall to wall attention” they crave. Later in the presentation, the media would again be blamed for demonizing lawful gun owners.
Then video games were blamed. Then film makers were blamed. Then politicians were blamed for trying to exploit the tragedy “for political gain.” Federal prosecutors were blamed for not being vigilant enough in prosecuting federal gun crimes.
The NRA’s solution? Put armed guards in schools. And that helps in movie theaters and shopping malls, how? A “program” was announced called the National School Shield Program to be headed by former congressman Asa Hutchinson. At its core was, you guessed it, armed personnel in every school.
What never came into question? The proliferation of firearms in America and the NRA’s own policies. Yes, by all means, let us send our children to be educated in armed camps. But, God forbid the NRA should take a look in the mirror.
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UPDATES by JG: [THIS IS BEING ADDED TO AND EDITED AS YOU READ IT SO REFRESH TMV OFTEN]
The NRA just wrapped up a long-awaited press conference to address the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook. The event was hyped as containing a major announcement for the organization who has come under fire for its agenda as the number and severity of mass shootings continues to rise in America.
So, what would the big announcement be? Would they finally be willing to admit that assault weapons aren’t necessary for hunting? That people don’t need extended magazines in machine guns for personal protection?
Please, the answer is more guns, of course.
I’m writing about this here, in our little corner of the site, because in the speech, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice-president of the NRA, cited violent video games as a contributing factor in tragedies like these. ”Guns don’t kill people.” he said. “Video games, the media and Obama’s budget kill people.” He even called out a few by name:
“There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games with names like “Bulletstorm,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Mortal Kombat,” and “Splatterhouse.”
No form of media was sparred however, as he also mentioned “bloodsoaked” movies and even violent music videos as influencing young minds. Because we’re still enjoying the gangster rap of the ’90s, after all.
The message here was clear, blame everything but guns. Why bother considering that violent video games are played in all corners of the world, yet somehow it’s only the US with its lax gun laws where tragedies like this happen at this frequency? Video games are an easy target, almost as easy as the NRA itself who is doing everything it can to act like they’re the solution to the problem, not one of the primary causes.
The press conference went from standard stump speech to truly bizarre when the NRA’s big idea to help protect children in school turned out to be a national program to enlist an army of volunteers to patrol the corridors of high schools, junior highs and elementary schools, keeping the kids safe from potential shooters. A direct quote from LaPierre: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
He is literally suggesting that retired police and military members patrol schools with guns. The program would be nationwide, and schools could opt out of it, but that would be up to the faculty and the parents. You know, those freedom-haters who who WANT their children to be at risk.
Go to the link to read it all.
—A cross section of Tweets
Seth Meyers ?@sethmeyers21 suggests the group has now done HUGE damage to its image and given its opponents political…ammunition:
NRA: If we banned schools there would never be another school shooting.
4m Slate ?@Slate
Shooting in Pennsylvania kills at least four during NRA press conference:
11m DC Debbie ?@DCdebbie
A national registry for the mentally ill should include any NRA member who doesn’t shred their card after watching that press conference
11m Salon.com ?@Salon
The @NRA said they want to have a conversation — but refused to accept a petition signed by +235K Americans http://slnm.us/uyV1ISL
14m Invisible Obama ?@InvisibleObama
“What if we actually weren’t humans…just characters in an NRA video game?” – Keanu Reeves
14m Jamie Dupree ?@jamiedupree
Rep Chris Murphy D-CT on NRA statement today: “The most revolting, tone deaf statement I’ve ever seen”
18m several_ ?@s3v3ral
Shorter NRA: We just wanted to remind everyone that we are the most sociopathic organization in all of US politics.
21m AmberTozer ?@AmberTozer
.@NRA I just added u to my mentally ill database bc you’re responsible for the guns good guys buy that bad guys use to kill the good guys
23m Gavin Juniper ?@GavinJuniper
#nra already damned by history with their kindergarten cop plan. Columbine HAD an armed peace keeper during school
24m Steve Silberman ?@stevesilberman
Important: NRA called for “active national database of mentally ill.” O RLY. Depressed folks? Autistic kids? Who draws lines?
24m Mediaite ?@mediaite
Michael Steele Left Speechless By ‘Very Haunting And Very Disturbing’ NRA Press Conference (VIDEO) http://www.mediaite.com/tv/michael-steele-left-speechless-by-very-haunting-and-very-disturbing-nra-press-conference/ …
25m Michael Moore@MMFlint
I now see what the Mayans predicted about today has come true. Except that the only world that’s going to end is the NRA’s.
26m The Fake CNN ?@TheFakeCNN
Breaking: NRA offers to send Liam Neeson to your school
28m davidfrum ?@davidfrum
RT @SovernNation: NRA imposes a 3-day waiting period on reporters wanting to ask questions at its “news conference.” Background checks too?
That press conference is exactly why I’m a *former* NRA member.
Something truely shocking about seeng the US NRA in the flesh: A real whiff of the Taliban about their irational love of the gun.
34m John Elerick ?@johnelerick
NRA: “the issue isn’t guns, it’s children, so we want to ban children. in 18 years… problem solved. thank you, no questions please.”
34m Anonymous ?@YourAnonNews
Are you a @NRA memeber and their PR pisses you off as much as it did us? Send back your card to show them that they don’t speak for you.
34m Sir Michael ?@Michael1979
Residents of Pompeii: “We’re worried that Mount Vesuvius is going to erupt.” NRA: “Have you considered adding more volcanoes?”
36m davidfrum ?@davidfrum
NRA message: Higher taxes for more guns in school.
NRA says we need armed guards at every school. Well, since NRA IS SHILLING FOR THE FIREARMS INDUSTRY, this makes good sense for them.
39m Seth Meyers ?@sethmeyers21
NRA: If we banned schools there would never be another school shooting.
45m Megan Ganz ?@meganganz
Why don’t we just put an armed NRA member in every classroom? That way there would either be fewer school shootings, or fewer NRA members.
45m davidfrum ?@davidfrum
NRA is imagining Marshall Will Kane guarding every US school. I’m imagining an armed Barney Fife.
46m Chris Majewski ?@MagicWhiskey
#NoWayNRA Thanks, NRA for using the death of children as a means to promote your personal agenda of ignorance. You’re all asses.
47m Amanda ?@Manda_like_wine
The NRA’s only contribution this morning was yet another nail in the coffin of logical thought.
52m Kyle Lippert ?@Kyle_Lippert
Following the NRA’s logic, cigarette companies are now blaming lung cancer on lighters.
52m Reuters Top News ?@Reuters
NRA goes on offensive as Americans mourn school shooting http://reut.rs/T1XvwE
56m Mike Drucker ?@MikeDrucker
“The only way to stop shootings is to give more people guns to shoot with.” – NRA
56m Lu Lippold ?@lulippold
If you haven’t already donated to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, NOW IS THE TIME. http://bit.ly/epSmcz @bradybuzz #nra
57m Josh Marshall ?@joshtpm
I didnt expect NRA to change stripes, core policies. But that stunned me. Didn’t expect a screed. Left me wanting to throw up. Upset.
57m Chase Mitchell ?@ChaseMit
Just want to point out the NRA’s plan to stop school shootings is literally the plot of Kindergarten Cop.
59m Justin Wolfers ?@justinwolfers
Advice for the @NRA: Next time, have Oprah do the press conference. Much more upbeat: “A gun for you! And for you! And for every school!”
59m davidfrum ?@davidfrum
NRA “shield” plan, if taken at all seriously, means TSA everywhere, forever.
59m Clara Jeffery ?@ClaraJeffery
NRA speechwriters < Romney internal pollsters. @davidfrum Fiscal cliff + NRA = a movement unable to achieve even instrumental rationality. 1h Michael Moore ?@MMFlint "@jayrosen_nyu: Exact quote frm NRA press conference. "This is the beginning of a serious conversation. We won't be taking any questions."" 1h Boing Boing ?@BoingBoing Shorter NRA: the solution to gun killings in schools is gun battles in schools. 1h Jeremy Littau ?@JeremyLittau If I follow correctly, LaPierre is advocating regulation of video game guns but not real ones. Konami NRA might have a problem with this. 1h Invisible Obama ?@InvisibleObama NRA: "The only way to fight obesity is with more cheeseburgers." 1h Lydia DePillis ?@lydiadepillis Kudos to the @NRA for the ballsiness of proposing the government reward it for Sandy Hook with a giant gun-industry stimulus package. 1h Eric Boehlert ?@EricBoehlert between the Boehner fiasco last night and the NRA's meltdown today, we're watching the condensed destruction of the conservative movement 1h Jeff Green ?@Greenspeak Congratulations to the @nra for grotesquely encapsulating everything wrong with this country today. An utter embarrassment to humanity. 1h Anonymous ?@YourAnonNews Republican congressmen are now free to talk about gun control, now that they've been given their official position by the @NRA. #YAN 1h Anonymous ?@YourAnonNews George Zimmerman was an armed volunteer "watchman" do we really want this in our schools, @NRA? 1h TJ ?@TeamBBN If guns don't kill people, and violent videogames kill people, why not just put violent videogames in schools instead of armed guards? #nra 1h Josh Greenman ?@joshgreenman THIS IS NOT THE DAY TO POLITICIZE THE NRA'S PRESS CONFERENCE. 1h Russ Pitts ?@russpitts Dear @NRA: As a result of your failure to lead on the critical issue of reasonable gun controls, I hereby resign my NRA membership. 1h Michael Moore ?@MMFlint NRA head says everyone is to blame but them. The most deranged, delusional "press conference" I've ever seen. 1h Jay Rosen ?@jayrosen_nyu That the NRA's CEO had a press conference at which no member of the press was allowed to ask him questions settles the legitimacy question. 1h Jim Norton ?@JimNorton Watching Wayne LaPierre's press conference. The NRA is right on the money with this issue. 1h Jonathan Capehart ?@CapehartJ An extraordinary statement by NRA's Wayne LaPierre delivered from an alternate reality. Arm everyone everywhere. 1h Stephanie Cutter ?@stefcutter NRA press conference is sad day for our democracy. If we're all to blame, then accept your share and get out of the way of our safety. 1h Carey Hart ?@hartluck Love me or hate me, I back @NRA. Dude spoke a lot of truth and is making valid points. 1h ThinkProgress ?@thinkprogress FLASHBACK: The NRA repeatedly responds to massacres by lobbying for weaker gun safety. http://thkpr.gs/V71AhR 1h Rex Huppke ?@RexHuppke FUN FACT: The NRA's Wayne LaPierre is a recent graduate of the Mitt Romney School of Empathy. 1h Ben Fenton ?@benfenton I think the NRA just shot itself in the foot. 1h Matt Seaton ?@mattseaton This NRA presser is not train wreck. It's an asteroid impact. Media profs will be teaching it for years as epic 'how not to' do crisis comms 1h Ezra Klein ?@ezraklein It's amazing how much damage LaPierre is doing to the NRA without even allowing questions. 1h John Fugelsang ?@JohnFugelsang Guns don't kill people, NRA people who own Congress people just make it easier for crazy people to get guns & kill people 1h John Fugelsang ?@JohnFugelsang #NRA head Wayne LaPierre is explaining how all of our allies with substantially lower murder rates are less safe than us. 1h Christopher Hayes ?@chrislhayes This is a colossal fail for the NRA. Just total PR disaster. 1h Anonymous ?@YourAnonNews Breaking: @NRA just got renamed to Not Rational Adults. 1h Steve Marmel ?@Marmel "Remember, Guns Don't Kill People… Fictional Guns Do." - LaPierre, NRA. 1h Indecision ?@indecision NRA, shorter: Guns don't kill people. Reporters, courts, video games and hurricanes kill people. Oh, also movies. 1h Rachel Maddow MSNBC ?@maddow The NRA has rickrolled the whole country into watching just another standard Wayne LaPierre stump speech saying we need more guns.
As this mess unfolded, I found I was as angry at the media as I was at the NRA. Is there any wingnut so crazy that the librul media will refuse them a national platform? Of course not! LaPierre will be Dancing Dave Gregory’s guest on Press the Meat this weekend, and he will be accorded the same respect and thoughtful consideration as a Bishop Desmond Tutu.
In a way, though, Wayne may have done us all a favor. Normal people, anyone except the dyed-in-the-wool gun worshippers, will be repulsed by his rationalizations, and appalled by his “School Shield” program to put ARMED VOLUNTEERS IN EVERY SCHOOL.
As my mother would have said, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, he’s just plain crazy.”
–Former RNC Chair and current MSNBC conservative contributor Michael Steele seemed almost in a state of shock over the press conference:
This morning, NRA president Wayne LaPierre held a press conference—occasionally interrupted by protesters—in which he explained where the organization stood in light of last week’s violence. But rather than stand behind the modest gun-regulation efforts brewing in Congress or even offer a simple message of condolence, LaPierre decided to go on the offensive, blaming everything from video games, movies ,and music—Natural Born Killers, a 20-year-old film, received a shoutout—to Obama’s budget for the proliferation of mass shooters.
In fact, the media came in for wide criticism: “A child growing up in America today witnesses 16,000 murders, and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18,” said LaPierre, “And, throughout it all, too many in the national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.” The obvious implication to all of this was that someone ought to limit what media outlets can show, lest it leads to further violence—this despite the fact that there is no known connection between violent media and actual acts of violence.
But those statements, evasive and disingenuous as they were, paled in comparison to LaPierre’s proposal for dealing with school violence. Taking a page from Republican politicians like Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, LaPierre has proposed a plan for mass arming of the nation’s schools
Any doubts that the NRA has been overtaken by paranoid, conspiracy theorists who live in a cartoon world of good guys and bad guys had to be put to rest by the appalling press conference just held by the organization’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.
The upshot, 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut were killed last week because politicians passed gun-free school zone laws that made them sitting ducks and the only solution to prevent more massacres of children is to have—yes, this is really the proposal that the NRA has come up with in the wake of the tragedy—armed guards at every school in the nation.
It would be very difficult to overstate the appalling insensitivity LaPierre showed; the paranoia, the victimhood, the passing of blame onto every other possible entity—Congress, the people who fight the NRA, the video game manufacturers, Hollywood, the medical community….
…The NRA might have just done the one thing necessary for real progress on work on gun violence: exposing to a national audience that, as an organization supposedly representing responsible gun owners, it has completely lost its bearings. This should be the end of the NRA’s influence on the coming debate. It should, but only if the national media continues to react to LaPierre’s national meltdown with the shock it showed in its immediate response on twitter. LaPierre gets more attention from the Very Serious People this Sunday, when David Gregory gives him the national microphone.
Armed NRA wingnuts in every school – including every inner-city High School – in America, deputized by the local cops so they get to play goosestepping clown legally. What could go wrong with that plan?
—The Politico’s piece shows how BADLY this is playing:
The National Rifle Association stunned Washington observers Friday when the group’s CEO announced a plan to install armed guards at every school in the country — its response to the Connecticut shooting last week that left 20 children dead.
Wayne LaPierre called the idea the National School Shield program, which would rely on local police forces. It will be led by former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.).
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said. “Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away … or a minute away?”
One week after the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre took to a microphone to deliver a defensive, crackpot speech that didn’t fully grasp the impact of the murder of 20 first-graders at the hands of a madman with an assault rifle. Everyone was to blame. The media and their corporate owners. The political class in Washington. Video games. Violent movies. The mentally ill. But at no point did he point his finger back at the NRA, the one institution that has made it difficult, if not impossible, to bring about common-sense firearms legislation in the country….
…..When the NRA broke its silence on Dec. 18, the gun rights group promised it was “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” LaPierre failed miserably at that task. What he had to say was not what the American people wanted to hear, needed to hear. What he said was an insult.
Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice