Friday, December 21, 2012

LaPierre wants you to be afraid of monsters

I thought about going through his speech to count every time he used words like "monster" or "predator." But seriously, I can't stomach it. Here's the crux of this man's totally depraved view of the world.
The truth is, that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters. People that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons, that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them. They walk among us every single day, and does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school, he’s already identified at this very moment?
I could write thousands of words about how sick and depraved Mr. LaPierre's solutions to gun violence are. But they all stem from this view of humanity...we need to be afraid of and arm ourselves against the "monsters" among us. Without that - he has no case to make for his recommendations.

This has always been at the crux of the argument against gun control...that the world can be divided up between the "good guys" and the "bad guys." Its all black and white (literally sometimes) for them. And since the "bad guys" are irredeemable, our only recourse is to arm ourselves so that we can kill them.

Of course this flies in the face of evidence that says that a gun in the house is more likely to be used on yourself or someone you love. But it goes much deeper than that.

As I said the other day, there are consequences to any effort to label other human beings as "monsters." It gives folks like LaPierre the footing to tell us that they are expendable and we simply need to arm ourselves to be protected from them. It shuts down the doors of contemplating our society's responsibility for the deprivation that leads children to become capable of monstrous acts. And thereby opens the door to more children dying in the future. It also promotes the idea that we lead with fear - especially fear of each other.

It all reminds me again of what David Simon wrote about the "stand your ground laws" in response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Despite becoming the most incarcerative society in the history of the planet, despite spending more and more of our national treasure on prisons and probation officers, drug courts and sentencing judges, despite the elimination of parole and the proliferation of mandatory sentencing, we are still ever more angry, ever more lethal, ever more afraid. Based on the scope and reach of our criminal justice system, Americans are now either the most evil people in modern history, or our view of ourselves, our neighbors and our national collective has been utterly corrupted by our own cowardice and rage.
And so - to Mr. LaPierre and anyone else who buys into his depraved world view - I want to say that I DO NOT see "monsters" amongst us and I WILL NOT buy into your craven exploitation of fear.

There is another way...

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