Sharing Grace with the NRA in a Parking Lot

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The NRA was once a wholesome organization.

It was dedicated to safety, teaching firearms use, hunting, and sport shooting. It radicalized in response to calls for gun control after the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Members of extremist John Birch Society popularized a slogan, "Register communists, not firearms.." A myth was created the government was seriously considering registering private firearms. Some advocated such but it was not going anywhere.

In 1978 the board of the NRA was taken over by a right-wing coup in an official election (democratically, as the right-wing organized the voting members and out-hustled the business-as-usual types). One extremist board member elected then and still serving was the minor rock guitarist Ted Nugent, who advocated execution of political opponents. Since then the NRA has been essentially a shill for the Republican Party. The bulk of its advertising amounts to fearmongering. Many members join to support sport shooting, hunting, and safety, but many are enmeshed in the fantasy of a government collecting private firearms.

Recent news of the NRA's ties to Russian operatives merely confirm that what has been called "conservatism" is merely window dressing on authoritarianism and official-esque bullying like the aforementioned Nugent's ill-tempered remarks. Yes, there are good people in the NRA and the Republican Party. But it is increasingly difficult to act ethically and support either. For there to be meaningful compromise, the NRA would have to abandon its extremism - which ironically its far-right critics like the more extreme Gun Owners of America (GOA) view as not going far enough. The writer's observations the NRA members described in the piece probably did not share a positive encounter with a member of an opposing faction, is astute. Much of the right-wing's success is due to people who disagree fearing to speak out.

It appeared the Democrats' strategy of failing to offer significant gun control legislation did not work, because they were demonized whether they did it or not. The rise of Hate Radio and such just made meaningful legislation less possible. Then the idea those with that "mental health" issues be prohibited from gun ownership is also problematic given such care is rare and most mental health patients are not a problem, and most dangerous people with guns have never been diagnosed. Plus those who actually believe paranoid illusions are the ones afflicted thus, yet they blame "the other."

Some who buy illusions of a need for gun ownership for safety from miscreants imagine a nostalgic past in which good men with guns defeated bad men with guns, but in reality such cases were rarities.

George Nixon Shuler 159 days ago

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