JOHN DOWNS

What the NRA doesn't get about liberty

Posted By: John Downs · 1/16/2013 5:25:00 PM

About a half dozen times over the past month I've had my body scanned and my shoes ordered off my feet. There have also been demands for the removal of my belt as well as a couple of thorough pat-downs of my intimate areas.

I hardly felt free or liberated.

The National Rifle Association is screaming to whoever will listen that Barack Obama's gun-control initiatives are an affront to their Second Amendment rights – a stifling of their liberty under the United States Constitution. The noise from that side of the table has become so deafening that even gun supporters can no longer hear their own message.

For the most part, that's because the message is nonsense. It also has to be an example of some of the worst priority setting in American history.

The United States in the 21st century is a far cry from the utopian democracy envisioned by the founding fathers 250 years ago.

The powers of law enforcement are greater reaching than ever. The democratic system is easily controlled and corrupted. Congressional neglect appears to be at an all-time high, while accountability by that same body is at an all-time low.

For so many years, the economic system has assured that those who are well off can continue to prosper, while those who belong to a diminishing middle class are left to count their remaining bourgeois days on one hand. The picture is bleak.

But even these realities combined cannot illustrate how far the glorious story of America has turned to tragedy.

Today, parents are sending their kids off to school with bulletproof backpacks. The fact that such a product even exists is a sad testament to how secure mothers and fathers believe schools to be.

The gun murder rate in the U.S. is almost 20 times higher than the next 22 richest and most populous nations combined, ABC News reports on a study in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. Among the world’s 23 wealthiest countries, 80 percent of all gun deaths are in the United States, and 87 percent of all children killed by guns are American. In short, outfitting your child with a bulletproof backpack in the United States is not an overreaction.

It is true that a ban of military-style assault rifles will not guarantee fewer children will be victims of school shootings. But with firearms deaths of children in the U.S. reaching such ridiculous levels, one has to question the NRA's priorities when it comes to protecting liberties.

Surely the right for a child to go to school without fear of being shot is a more fundamentally necessary freedom than owning a weapon that has a singular purpose: to kill.

The onus now falls on the NRA and its members to explain how curbing gun rights will make Americans less safe. It's time for the gun lobby's rhetoric to give way to reality.

 

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