I don't often address myself to members of the National Rifle Association, but today, I can't resist. I realize that once more, I'm summoning up a doodoo-storm of online contempt. It would appear that the NRA maintains a perpetual search engine dedicated to sniffing out any reference to "gun nuts" that might pop up. I don't know how else to explain that every time I write about gun nuts, I get responses from creepy corners like Texas, Virginia and Caldwell, all yapping the common theme of how stupid I am.
However, my skin is sufficiently thick to being called stupid, particularly by anyone who would belong to or defend the NRA. If you accept the notion--as I have--that the Republican Party has become the clearing house for all the dumbest ideas that all the dumbest Americans have to offer, then you might agree that gun nuts are the dumbest of the dumb. In Venn diagram terms, they are the circle entirely within the larger circle.
My friend Badger Bob is convinced their obsessive behavior is some sort of weird sexual deviation, that they substitute an abnormal attraction to firepower for normal, healthy relationships with other human beings. Maybe so ... maybe so. But I prefer to focus on their most obvious feature--the thing we can all see without having to consult Freud--that being, their stupidity. Best example: How could anyone not dismally dumb believe anything that comes out of Wayne LaPierre's mouth? As the NRA's spokesman, he has been insisting that this president is going to be the death of the Second Amendment. This, in spite of not one single action taken by Barack Obama to separate the hillbillies from their shoot-'em-uppers, or one single indication he intends to do so.
And now, with all the contrived hysteria over the Fast and Furious debacle (see the July 4 column), the NRA's deviltry is on full display. As publicly claimed by LaPierre and the slimy Darrell Issa, Obama actually designed the whole affair in a ploy to strip gun nuts of their lethal toys, even after accurate reporting has shown they are either abysmally ignorant about the details of Fast and Furious or are flat-out lying about them.
To that last point, I turn my attention to those NRA members who are so eager to get to their Internet connections and shower me with their scorn. Bubbas, before you unleash your mighty wits on me, I invite you to read Katherine Eban's outstanding piece of investigative journalism, "The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal," in the June 27 Fortune magazine. It can be found online, but I warn you, it is much longer and a great deal more involved than a bumper sticker. And it contains some big words. To get all the way through it with any noticeable degree of comprehension, you might want to set aside a weekend in a quiet room without distractions.
Herein, I will include a few of the salient truths about the affair you might miss if left on your own. Fast and Furious was never about letting guns "walk" their way to drug cartels. It was an earnest attempt by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to stop the flow of powerful weapons to those cartels by identifying links in the chain. It is estimated that 2,000 military-grade guns are flooding into Mexico daily. Up to 55,000 people--Mexican cops, soldiers and innocent civilians, as well as drug thugs--have been slaughtered in the past five years, all with guns supplied through American dealerships.
Phoenix, where Fast and Furious took place, has more than 850 licensed gun outlets. Arizona gun laws are so slack, if you're 18 and don't have a felony record, you can walk into one of those outlets, plunk down $20,000, and walk out with 20 or more automatic weapons. Then, even seconds later, you can resell what you just bought to another guy out in the parking lot. That is the murderous daisy chain our ATF was trying to break up.
What went wrong is that prosecutors could find so little that was illegal in the practice that they would not prosecute. Imagine that: 200 miles from the Mexican border, one man can buy as many assault rifles as he has cash in his pocket--no limits whatsoever--pass them on to another man minutes later, and there is no law broken.
And now, I ask those NRA members who haven't wandered off to shoot something, why are there no laws in Arizona that might stop this travesty? How is it that such an obvious pipeline of arms into the hands of savages cannot be stopped?
Because of the stinking NRA. That's why, you dopes. Together with their fellow aiders and abettors in the Republican Party, the NRA has weakened guns laws in this country, has weakened the ATF itself, has tied prosecutors' hands, has politicized the issues so thoroughly, that any attempt to slow the carnage not only in Mexico but in America's cities is doomed to failure, just as was Fast and Furious.
Sooner or later, if you have any integrity left, you boobs who brag about your membership in this mess are going to have to ask yourselves: Just who does the NRA represent? You? Or the drug lords south and north of the border? Where does all that big NRA money come from with which it buys politicians like you buy watermelons to blow off fence posts? Your membership dues? Or those who profit from the tools of mass slaughter? Perhaps even the monsters who buy them at a rate of 2,000 a day?
You, the children of the NRA, are a dim-witted front behind which an incredible evil hides, but I hold little hope you'll ever figure it out.