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Robert S. Becker
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 20 February 2013
What does it say about dinosaur gun makers that they hired, now cheer on what NRA’s LaPierre is doing to their image? Talk about the “stupid party.” Here, we have the “stupid industry” and I posit more buffoonery only adds to the rightwing GOP’s woes. And more is coming.

Backlash to NRA Rampage Reloads Gun Reform

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Here's the easy answer to three questions no one expected a year ago: "NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre."

1) Whose sleazy, million-dollar-a-year gun lobbyist perfectly reflects in tone and messages our most predatory consumer industry (whose sales surge after school massacres)?

If raging NRA assaults are the gun makers' notion of good PR—warding off political intrusion—they're as loony as the terrified arms collectors they profitably equip. Hiring the NRA as industry lobbyist recalls W. pushing Colin Powell out to sell WMDs, and the backfire forces the impossible only last November: actual gun reform. The fiery recoil to LaPierre's shrillness, from children's safety to the looming (ethnic) apocalypse, fills this huge election void by focusing endless media crosshairs on violent gun surges.

2) What earsplitting shill has achieved a second, incredible threshold: to position garden-variety, rightwing obstructionists (from Boehner-McConnell to Romney-Ryan, plus every GOP Primary clown) on the normal side of derangement?

Few bulldoze the airwaves like LaPierre, slavish to my ex-favorite political hack's war cry: "Don't Retreat. Reload." Of course, the literate Sarah Palin spoke in metaphor, not so with the NRA. Beware talk radio goons; Wayne's nightmare vision trumps even your blithering! Sorry, West, Bachmann, and Steve King: your delusions are toast, crumbled by this walking, talking, self-caricature of the loudmouth, rabid gun nut.  

3) Finally, whose farrago of fear-mongering undermines the "vast, rightwing conspiracy" meme, putting the lie to projections some reactionary cabal masterfully "runs the show," let alone can save the NRA-Good Old Tea Party from growing irrelevance?

Check out three months of rightwing triumphs. Building on its self-inflicted, credibility-busting election debacle, the goon squad top dogs misfire with crude, cliff dwelling blackmail. And now, as Karl Rove splices his reactionary millions across party primaries, alienating every Tea Partier worth the tea, LaPierre blasts ahead with his house of horrors, pandering to the same extremism that unnerves Rove's billionaires. And throughout, GOP leaders let the bedlam play on, without restraining NRA rants. Oh my, if this is the party's notion of "rebranding," then "bring it on" as the exiled W. often croaked. What did spineless Democrats ever do to deserve such free blessings?

What, No Assault Ban Against the NRA?

The winter of LaPierre's discontent darkens, for the more operatic his fulminations, the weaker his apparent leverage to protect the gun status quo. The unintended NRA impact on "the gun debate" (undermining this still formidable wedge) mimics what nutcases Akin and Mourdock did to their wedge favorite: they shot the "abortion debate" in the head. Who dreamed the two most divisive, gaseous barrages on America would self-destruct, or the NRA would torpedo old-time GOP religion?

All in all, party-wide fiascos remind us that GOP self-immolation as the "stupid party" continues apace, even accelerates. "Extremism in the defense of stupidity is no virtue," I say, shredding the lobbyist's own outlandish lying. Testing limits of ridicule, Wayne's world proves that "Derangement in the defense of the gun culture is no virtue," as NRA rebel yells echo George Wallace on segregation: "Gunfire now, gunfire tomorrow, gunfire forever." Let us, nonetheless, correct LaPierre's worst deviations from reality.

Four Retorts to NRA Grotesqueries   

1) In Wayne's world, weapon-laden "good guys" are the only defense against "bad guys with guns." This battle cry died an instant death, didn't it? First, wouldn't that mean arming every teacher in every classroom—all the time disregarding that Columbine had armed guards? Wouldn't that lock out our gentlest teachers, suitable for our youngest munchkins? Second, if unstable serial killers, quick to dramatize outrage by mowing down the most defenseless, upgrade their automatic weapons (to offset fully-armed teachers), imagine the terrifying subsequent bloodshed. Finally, consider the astronomical costs for security, in multiple billions: oh, that's outsourced to private mercenaries, right.

2) WL: "we need to look at the full range of mental health issues, from early detection treatment, to civil commitment laws, to privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included from the national list." Sure, this will delight the hate-big-government gang.

Let us note:

1) The mentally ill aren't any more prone to violence than "sane" gun owners.

2) The right, from W. through defiance of the Affordable Care Act, vetoes mental illness funding, especially proactive "intrusions" on our freedom.

Oh, the contradictions. Oh, the irony.   Oh, the nutcases in power. As if guns aren't hard enough to regulate, let's authorize state bureaucracies to detect, then commit, all with sacrosanct secrecy? More prisons? Oh yeah, the astronomical costs, in multiple billions: right, outsourced to private operatives.

3) WL on background checks: "Let's be honest. They will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them." And worse: [Obama] "wants to put every private, personal firearms transaction right under the thumb of the federal government. He wants to keep all of those names in a massive federal registry. There's only two reasons for a federal list on gun owners: to either tax "’em or take "’em."

So, government "sanity tests" are just fine, but jamming guns under the dire Obama "thumb," no, no, no. In fact, background checks cover a range of undesirables, not just criminals. "Let's be honest" rings especially hollow, from today's most undeniably dishonest talking head, nothing less than a "paid liar" (Lawrence O'Donnell).  

4) WL's opposition to assault/automatic weapons bans, alleging the '94 law had "no impact on lowering crime," is cravenly baseless. Logic first: does cherry-picked data on an 18 year-old law warrant doing nothing?

Fact: that law was undermined badly with loopholes and grandfathering. Any new assault ban law would do better. Politically, a huge majorities (including NRA members) support background checks plus banning clip-laden military-style arms.

Judging by public rejection, LaPierre is zero out of four in the gun debate sweepstakes, immortalizing the LaPierre Backfire Effect (LBE). Republicans willfully ignore NRA excesses, as defenders are conspicuous by their absence. And Alternet headlines, "Tea Party Group "Deeply Embarrassed' by Failure to Plan Pro-Gun Rallies." Overall, with mounting party blunders -- on abortion, tax giveaways, tickle-down nonsense, "safe" deregulation, immigration resistance, and now the tarnished glory of guns, will the right have any sane pitches by '14? "Rebranding' looks like maximizing GOP losses and, incredibly, digging bigger holes.

Palin Exiled as Top GOP Fibber

Finally, LaPierre is now the poster child that really stupid lying boomerangs. As the Rove-Bush-Cheney-Rice conspiracy proved, lying is no simple art, whether enacting bad laws, installing primitives in top jobs, or redefining what "overseas debacle" means, as in Iraq. Thus, no political carnival barker today matches LaPierre ability to cloud public policy and make himself the issue, especially now that Palin is fading away quicker than melting ice caps. The NRA is reloading itself into irrelevance, shooting it and its GOTP allies in the trenches.

LaPierre proves again that to be a serious national menace, you have to lie better, or avoid eminences like Paul Krugman (even Joe Scarborough) dismissing you as "insane." Let us distinguish blundering political hacks impaling themselves on their own bayonets from gifted demagogues, like myth maniac Joe McCarthy, whose deceptions lasted longer and brought about more damage (well, maybe less actual bloodshed).

And since LaPierre sees his slash and burn tirades as insuring job security, one almost imagines him a plant, seeded by God to offset decades of divine miscues. Really, how else do you explain making a gun easier to take home than prescription drugs, tobacco, or alcohol? Months more of mortifying LaPierre face-time, and featherweights like Herman Cain or Donald Trump will be remembered as less noxious to our children's welfare. Now that's one legacy no spittle-covered, gun lobbyist will brag about to his grandchildren, assuming they all mercifully survive grammar school. 

ABOUT Robert S. Becker

Educated at Rutgers College (BA) and UC Berkeley (Ph.D, English) Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, U. Chicago) for business, founding and heading SOTA Industries, high end audio company from '80 to '92. From '92-02 he did marketing consulting & writing; since 2002, he scribbles on politics and culture, looking for the wit in the shadows.

Good grief, Mr. Becker. It's

Good grief, Mr. Becker. It's not good policy to write an essay then wage a word-war with those commenting on it. I don't think anyone else but you does something like this. Just write what you think is a good piece and then go on to something else, ignoring the comments, pro or con.

The NRA is one of the true villains in my world-view, but I do think they represent - and influence, of course - the views of many hot-blooded gun owners who fear that the feds will deprive them of their deadly hobby toys. Sure, the NRA gets money from the gun-makers and gun-owners , but there must be millions of yahoos who are solidly behind this organization, even when they are critical of Wayne's many mistakes.

An "arm" Should be easier to

An "arm" Should be easier to take home than a prescription drug, etc., as an arm is a Constitutional Right to Americans. "Arm" is not defined as hunting or sporting gun. By definition an "arm" is a weapon useful for war. I doubt that the actual definition of arm is included in the "whole smear" of gun ownership that you do not oppose. Don't like it, then support a Constitutional Amendment. The US form of government is a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy. A Democracy is rule by a majority, which only works well in near mono-istic societies.

Who is prone to mass murder and suicide? Sane people? If they are not clinically mentally ill, they certainly are mentally distraught to clinical proportions.

If LaPierre's campaign is as stupid and unfounded as you claim then let it be, as it does nothing but damage his/their cause.

So guns are protected by the

So guns are protected by the Constitutional but not life-saving health interventions, as in "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"? Hard to be happy when you're dying of a totally curable disease.

And there should be fewer laws on guns than drugs or tobacco or even recall of toy guns? Why have any licensing of doctors or surgeons, as that's not in the Constitution either? Why organize government on behalf of the people vs. a select minority? Goodbye FDA, safety or food inspectors, air travel controllers, FBI, drones, aircraft carriers, etc. (not mentioned in the holy Constitution).

No where in the Constitution does it forbid registration of guns (or even oversight, with mandatory safety classes, considering the modern firepower of former muskets) -- only that ordinary folks, presumably part of some fictional militia, have the right to own guns. Where does the NRA distinguish weapons, arms or sporting guns, even pop guns?

Whether we are a democracy or a republic is utterly irrelevant to whether the government can set rules for certain behavior, in the public interest, whether traffic laws or gun running or against killing.

Unless we have more crazy people than other countries, which is not true, then the huge, over-riding difference between us and, say, Europe, is ten or twenty times more guns available to those unhinged or not, esp. suicides, the highest category for gun deaths in the USA. And why should they not get as much access as possible, you might say?

I do think there's a backlash happening, that the NRA is overplaying its hand and there will be direct political ramifications, though at first no great gun reforms. This is a political thesis open to proof. Why don't you enter that discussion-- do you agree or not? Is the NRA being smart or stupid in serving its interests? Are you a member and do you endorse its extremism, as I see it? Now that would be an interesting debate, not irrelevance about amending the 2nd amendment or what kind of system we have, which goes nowhere and misses the point.

It pains someone like me who

It pains someone like me who feels the same way about these sociopathic freaks of nature to have to point this out, but: there is literally nothing wrong with the m.o. being pursued by Wayne LaPierre and the NRA. Not one single thing.

Whether or not the "mainstream" has come to understand the following is irrelevant, but the NRA represents ONE and only ONE constituency: the GUN MANUFACTURERS.

If we just stipulate that this special interest is amoral, and concerned only with enhancing their own coffers, it becomes obvious that their obnoxious methods are 100% successful. They say things publicly which outrage and offend the majority of Americans, and THEIR specific constituency responds by purchasing ever more weaponry. Which, in a supply-and-demand model, is now overwhelmingly tilted toward the demand side. And the profits multiply.

Gun control advocates (okay, "gun safety"! Weasel words for politicians, anyone?): stop wasting your angst on how "outrageous" Wayne LaPierre is, and wake up and realize that nothing is wrong, currently, in Wayne's World. From his POV, everything is a bowl of cherries.

And you? You're just spinning your wheels, when you walk around trying to convince more members of the choir to sing. The NRA can hear you sing just fine, thanks. And they totally love it: the louder you sing, the more gun nuts buy more guns. Q.E.D.

Disrupt the scare-the-idiots-and-be-rewarded cycle of the NRA's business model, and you might actually have something. But do yourself a favor and stop telling the snake that he's a snake.

You obviously missed last week's entry, above, in which I made clear the dynamic between school massacres, cries of reform, cries of paranoia, then a march straight down to the gun shot to load up. By your standard, if my article doesn't change the world (even of gun owners), it's a flop. Au contraire: if five people better articulate their feelings and thoughts about gun massacres, and the consequences, then I have succeeded. Also, I look for humor.

No, I agree LaPierre sells guns on fear but that doesn't mean his gross distortions, even outright lies about gun behavior and history and policy, or racist rants (his NRA "enemy" list is anti-Hispanic, anti-black, and anti-semitic), don't provide perfect grist for my weekly mill. By your logic, inventing WMDs was just fine, as they achieved their war ends. Nothing wrong with overt public lying and blood-soaked propaganda?

I don't know whose "wheels I might spin," but I object to your cynical negativism that one need not define one's opposition clearly, if not an enemy to the health of kindergarteners. You are not in touch with the outrage against the NRA for its grandstanding, hysteria, and stone-walling against even modest reforms. Short of banning guns, there is no way to "disrupt" the cycle so that seems a very lame objection -- and you ignore my point, which is about Wayne's political impact on the wounded GOP. Gee, missed that in all "pain" you claim to feel.

Don't be silly... you know

Don't be silly... you know (or should, from my opening sentence) that I both abhor everything about the NRA, and fully understand their business dynamic. Therefore, your assertion that I'm "not in touch with the outrage" of the dead children at Newtown (I'm PART of it, Ace!), or that I somehow am trying to make an argument that "the end justifies the means", is merely your having a fit of pique, because you weren't sufficiently dittoed.

The point I was attempting to make (chalk this one up, I suppose, to one of my failures in life) is that enough attention is not paid to the fact that when Wayne speaks, he is not making a mistake. This is not a bunch of thoughtless rhetoric on his part. He is focused as hell. He is pursuing a strategy.You want "outrage"? SO DO THEY. They want your outrage, my friend.

Have you ever seen a right-wing bumper sticker which begins with the instruction to do something socially irresponsible, quote, "... and PISS OFF A LIBERAL"? What Mr. LaPierre and company have managed to do is to turn that into a business model.

And THAT was my point: your righteously indignant public reaction to the perpetual outrage machine that is Wayne LaPierre probably just sold a couple of thousand more guns to the haw-haw'ing amateur Constitutionalists whom you'll hear daily, calling into right-wing radio programs, swaggering in their certitude and expounding on the things they comprehend much clearer than any "libs".

I truly believe that your reaction to my comment is indicative of nothing more than a lack of understanding of the nuts and bolts of guerrilla marketing in the year 2013. Were I of the same, what, absolutist? purist? what-have-you, progressive sensibilities that you seem to possess, perhaps I'd condemn you personally for unwittingly selling the gomers all those new weapons and thus being responsible yourself for killing all those future children, when you opened your word processor and gave Wayne's minions yet another "pissed-off lib" target.

Aren't you glad I'm cooler than that? I knew you would be.

Fine, so that means never

Fine, so that means never questioning lying or deception because our analysis only eggs them on. I am fully aware, and so would be had you read my piece only a week ago, that the gun lobby plays off the reform outrage by gun control folks to stimulate sales. Got it, totally. You are repeating a straw man as I don't really care how the RIGHT nutcases, all three of my readers at N of C, react to my ANALYSIS, utterly in political terms, about the actual, real world backlash that occurred AFTER a wingnut intentionally said what he wanted to, but misconceived the impact.

I got that you think my piece is growing gun sales (tepid point at best) and by extension I serve the gun makers, even increase the chance, to go to the logical extreme, of causing gun violence. I think you are not a progressive (intuition) but someone trying to discredit what is wholly a POLITICAL analysis, and I never doubted LaPierre knows what he is doing. I sense you are not what you appear because you have failed to agree or challenge my single-minded, repeated thesis: is the backlash to what millions see as craziness going to inspire more gun reform than had LaPierre not seemed overwrought and dangerous? Like read the title, dude.

Your ad hominem guesses about my motivation, or the impact of my essay in a liberal journal, are the tactics used by gun owners to discredit opponents. That's my opinion based solely on YOUR two full comments that utterly ignore my thesis for your version of unlikely distractions. No, you aren't cool because you don't respect, or understand, my fairly conventional logical analysis. I frankly sense a bit of troll energy here but that is a guess, much less potent than my observation you don't address my actual essay but your projections. And I am far less emotional or "righteously indignant" than you allege as I do this every week and find rightwing buffoonery grist for my writing mill.

Well, I'm sure glad you

Well, I'm sure glad you haven't engaged in any ad hominem guesses about MY motivation [g].

Actually, I'm not going to lift a finger to convince you I'm not an anti-progressive troll. Think whatever you want. That will be fine.

But let me challenge the effectiveness of your entire effort to, quote, "inspire more gun reform":

So what if you DO?

As you well know, the number of Americans owning guns has declined. By the normal laws of economics, this is known as "losing market share". And by extension... money.

What the NRA has done is to make this statistic irrelevant; perhaps permanently, perhaps until some inevitable national disgust over the proliferation of firearms starts eliminating guns altogether (yeah... all 300 million or whatever of them). Whatever. The gun manufacturers have met the challenge by motivating a smaller constituency to multiply its purchases.

Whether the drop in what media types call "cume"was caused by a creeping revulsion in general on the part of most Americans over firearms, or a bigger revulsion due to the tastelessness of LaPierre and company in the wake of Newtown (and Aurora, and...), doesn't mean a thing. They shorted their problem to ground. Broad appeal is just not the deciding factor in sales, anymore. It's a smaller universe of firearms owners, and they are making up for the loss with religious fervor, fear of impotence, and a blithe willingness to spend even more of their families' disposable income irresponsibly on their obsession (I love when I see them have second thoughts about paying their rent and their bills, when they attend those "gun buy-back" events).

So let's say, Mr. Becker, that this campaign to repulse Americans over gun violence is successful (as you and I both would like to see happen). And gains enough traction that we see modest or even substantial gun reforms enacted. How stringent will those laws be? How many fewer guns will be sold?

Will it MATTER? Are you kidding?

The gun nuts aren't listening to anyone admonishing them not to buy a gun illegally. Furthermore, when the number of Americans owning guns goes down even further, those who are left in the true believer demographic will go from tripling their stockpile of guns, to octupling it. As the universe of gun owners decreases, the gun manufacturers' bottom line will increase yet again.

Can this go on forever? Probably not forever, but Wayne LaPierre does not care about forever. He's just making sure that whatever the shelf life of the gun craze turns out to be, there will be increasing profits in the interim until the gravy train grinds to a halt. You know, like any tightly-run yet amoral corporation, killing the citizens in a third world country to maximize profits.

Get this through your head, sir: if 90% of all Americans personally descended on the nation's capital to protest gun violence, and the overflow filled the Beltway and all up and down I-95 from Maine to Miami, and this were followed by the passing of the most stringent set of laws the government has passed in years... all Wayne LaPierre and the gun lobby would be concerned about is SALES. Sales go up... no problem. Keep protesting, chumps. We have one million gomers who just spent little Ashley's college fund on 5 more AR-15's.

And if you're not this cynical about it all... you're not paying attention.

Fine, I was incorrect and you

Fine, I was incorrect and you are a progressive, by your assertion.

But your apparent refusal to support any challenge to gun laws as useless or counterproductive, stimulating sales in a shrinking market, leaves you with no viable political, legal or practical venues. What in the world do you think we should do to decrease, even by one or three bloodbaths, how many children get shot in schools? What is your solution to virtually unregulated access to machines that kill more people than auto accidents? If laws can't affect access, nor peer pressure over years remove appeal (as with cigarettes and alcohol, if not heroin), then what options are there, other than to endure massacres?

I find your logic, even when I agree, to drive us into a corner and get stuck. I am not protesting, by the way, but writing articles to keep folks to consider options. You still stubbornly refuse to address whether LaPierre may be a PR disaster, for HIS gun makers, in the long run, or not. That leaves you at more than arm's length from what may be happening to the gun debate, and I see nothing progressive in denying what I see as changing.

It wasn't too long when

It wasn't too long when people noted that the NRA represented a very small percentage of American gun owners. So why do gun control advocates use LaPierre as the spokesperson for responsible gun owners? Because he is an easy target--a straw man for another ideological rant.

Gee, it can't have anything

Gee, it can't have anything to do with WL's non-stop public appearances where he normally gets low PR grades from almost everyone. Hey, I only read the news and exactly what's the core of my "ideological rant"? It's not like I am pushing specific policies, though I agree some control on guns, vs. say the greater control on toy guns, would be good for civilization and children. Not once did I oppose gun ownership, hunting, practice shooting, the whole smear.

Yikes, jackwenayscott, one

Yikes, jackwenayscott, one could postulate that you moved to LA, got chewed up and spit out, and now are reduced to writing crybaby tirades against the place and what it is seen by outsiders as standing for. I'd try to come up with alternate / improved theories if I could comprehend this particular rant. ¡Que te vaya bien!

jackwenayscott's picture

My, my, what a tirade. Have

My, my, what a tirade. Have we saved the worst rhetoric for the WORST OFFENCE? Yup, the NRA correctly assesed that America's violent culture is due to "movies, television, and video games"! Not that we'd care to mention this in the above article, no, simply call lunacy on the NRA..... Now the performers cast their eyes on a lunatic culture, which steadily declines in reason and sanity due to the constant watching of the television, some on the radical right are beginning to suspect the horrible truth, L.A. is in charge! Others, like American Free Press, start to echo film-maker Chris Hedges' cry that all politicians are dishonest, and "the only people we can really trust" are film-makers and others in the Evil Entertainment Empire who prey on the weak minds of the American people. Meanwhile the lunacy increases, mentally unhinged by years of gazing at the artificial imagination, the public looks around for the answers to the mess we're in, like: Who's in charge here??? With the source of the lunacy being what is the biggest expense in the typical American family budget (entertainment) how likely is the crazieness to magically subside, theoretically giving way to calm, reasoned approaches to our common problems- overpopulation, pollution, and mass lunacy? I've noticed that the radical left saves it's worst venom for those who call out the television Empire on what it really does, our childhood cartoons cry out in our head to go get Lassie for help, Hollywood is under attack! So, the Entertainment Empire dispatches a few clever manipulators to control the leftist outbreak, to guide well meaning humanitarians away from blaming L.A. for the way things are. Look into Chris Hedges' eyes, is there something cold there? Now look at my pictures in Facebook (found by searching Jack Scott in Facebook), which one simply looks more trustworthy and well-meaning? When my life-story is known, it will tell a little story about L.A. ShowBusiness power that will change the political philosophy landscape of the world!

Not a single study has ever

Not a single study has ever shown a connection to movies, tv or video games to violence, otoh, many studies have shown that religion starts more wars an causes more violence in history than anything else (although lets face it, greed is the at the true heart). Studies have actually shown that in countries where violent video games are more common than the US violent crime is lower.

The NRA wants you to think EVERYTHING is a threat, so own a gun!

At least my "tirade" stayed

At least my "tirade" stayed on subject. I could have sworn I wrote mainly about LaPierre's impact on the political debate over gun control, and I then posited the NRA is simply another version of the stupid that typifies the right for the last year or so. I offered a thesis, then supported it. Why can't you?

Note, this ranter ignores utterly anything I wrote, dragging in Chris Hedges (really, where are his quotes?). Unclear to me why is he bothering to add his wanderings when he never points out their relevance. I don't argue that violent media has no impact on our culture so this rant is also wrongheaded. Troll warning? Got anything called evidence supporting your barrage, that is, bad media induces bad behavior? I'll wait in the wings.

What does it say about

What does it say about dinosaur gun makers that they hired, now cheer on what NRA's LaPierre is doing to their image? Talk about the "stupid party." Here, we have the "stupid industry" and I posit more buffoonery only adds to the rightwing GOP's woes. And more is coming.

And one dropped word, as with "The mentally ILL aren't any more prone to violence than "sane" gun owners."

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