Sharia Law vs. The NRA: The Politics Of Beheading And Guns

The news of a grisly murder in Oklahoma has once again brought out the panic peddlers who are always watching out for any gruesome event that they can exploit to advance their nightmare scenarios. While there is still a deficit of actual facts, knee-jerk Islamophobes leap forward to cast aspersions on people whom they regard as universally barbaric. Therefore, any chance to defame a Muslim is quickly pounced on and embellished in the most hostile manner. However, according to the Washington Post, all that is actually known about the murder at this time is that…

“A man who had just been fired by an Oklahoma City-area food processing plant allegedly severed the head of one of his former co-workers and attacked another before being shot by the company’s chief operating officer, according to police. [...]

But the FBI, which is assisting in the investigation, has so far found no links to terrorism, the officials said. There was also no indication that Nolen was copying the beheadings of journalists in Syria by the Islamic State, the officials said, adding that they are treating this as an incident of workplace violence.”

The fact that the investigation is in the early stages has not prevented the Fear Merchants from going totally overboard with their hysteria. Undoubtedly Sen. Lindsey Graham, who warned that ISIL is on their way to America to “kill us all,” is probably thinking, “One down, 359,999,999 to go.” And the folks at Fox News are doing their part by boldly declaring in all caps that “SHARIA LAW IS COMING!!!”

Fox Nation

Fox posted their warning on their community website, Fox Nation (See the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality to learn more). The alarmist story was sourced to the uber-rightist blog, The Daily Caller, which is run by Fox host Tucker Carlson. The exclamation about the coming of Sharia law was taken from the Facebook page of Alton Nolen, the suspect in the Oklahoma crime, but Fox doesn’t disclose that in their headline or their article. They leave it to appear that there is just some sort of impending doom that is approaching that will foretell the end of civilization as we know it.

The Daily Caller’s article was written by Patrick Howley, a disreputable hack who has confessed to unethical and unlawful tactics to smear his ideological foes. Howley includes ridiculous and irrelevant observations such as the fact that Nolen had a tattoo that read “as-salaamu ataikum,” a Muslim greeting meaning “peace be upon you.” Nolen also had a tattoo of Jesus and a pair of Christian praying hands. So what does that say about Christianity?

Of course, it is utterly absurd to imply that a murder, even if it is determined to be related to terrorism, suggests that Sharia law is about to be implemented in America. What happened in Oklahoma was a crime and will be treated as such. It will never be tolerated as lawful in this country under some warped interpretation of Islam. So even if there are additional crimes linked to terrorists, Sharia law is most definitely not coming to America.

If Americans are determined to be afraid of something, they may want to put this recent crime into perspective. In 2014 so far, there has been one beheading in the United States. Compare that to the more than 8,000 deaths by guns this year. [Estimate based on data from 2012]

Guns vs. Beheadings

That’s more than double the fatalities of 9/11. Which makes it all the more ludicrous that right-wingers are now clamoring for unwieldy and unwarranted measures to address their fantastical notions about domestic terrorism. They propose strengthening border security, spying on mosques, prohibiting immigration from Muslim countries, and even building concentration camps.

However, you will not hear any similar commitment to eradicating the true epidemic of deaths and injuries by guns. To the contrary, conservatives are pushing for more guns to be carried and for fewer restrictions on firearms. They are against regulations to keep guns out of the hands of felons or spousal abusers. They fight efforts to prohibit cop-killer bullets. They oppose smart-gun technology that would prevent unauthorized persons from using a firearm. They are even against laws that prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.

Nevertheless, a single beheading, as horrific as it is, whips wingnuts into a frenzy, while 8,000 deaths, many of them children, doesn’t move them to lift a finger. This leads to a fundamental question that needs to be asked by the American people and the media: Who represents a bigger threat to the country, ISIL or the NRA?

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Gun Nuts Fight For The Rights Of Nuts To Own Guns

The debate over regulating firearms that has erupted following a series of horrific mass shootings has been mired in partisan arguments for and against measures such as universal background checks, bans on assault weapons, and limits on high capacity magazines (although the public at large favors all of these by significant majorities). But one frequently discussed solution has always seemed to attract bipartisan support: Mental health checks.

That is until it was actually proposed by Democratic members of Congress (Rep. Lois Capps and Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein) in the “Pause for Safety Act.” This legislation has three primary functions, as described by Capps…

“Through establishing a new grant program, the bill would help ensure that family members can go to a court to seek a ‘gun violence prevention order’ to temporarily stop someone who poses a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a gun. The bill will also ensure that a court can issue a ‘gun violence prevention warrant,’ allowing law enforcement to step in if the court determines the individual poses a threat to themselves or others. Finally, the bill ensures that law enforcement can make full use of all existing state and local gun databases when investigating a warning or request from a family member.”

This bill is a creative attempt to empower family members, the people who are in the best position to know whether someone is a danger to themselves or others, to take action to prevent a tragedy. It also protects the rights of the subjects by affording them a fair court hearing to respond to the allegations raised. In the recent shootings in Isla Vista, the parents of the shooter were aware of his disturbing state of mind and reported it to the local sheriff. But neither of them had the authority to go farther than a brief conversation with the soon-to-be murderer. This bill addresses that legal flaw in a rational way.

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Unfortunately, the gun fetishists at the NRA, and their PR division Fox News, are already lining up to oppose the bill. Fox News posted an article on their lie-riddled Fox Nation website sourced to the ultra-rightist Breitbart News with the panicky headline “Dems Introduce Firearm Confiscation Legislation.” The obvious intent of their wording is to incite the NRA-Theists into a mouth-foaming tizzy at the notion that government stormtroopers will be coming for their guns. Needless to say, that is an outright lie that is easily debunked by the language in the bill.

The truth is that only persons who are identified as dangerous by family members (or other close associates), and who are affirmed to be so by a court, would be subject to any sanctions on purchases or ownership. Which is precisely what the gun nut crowd has been clamoring for. When any other form of regulation is proposed, they viscerally object and claim that the only thing that’s relevant is the emotional stability of the person seeking to obtain firearms. But now that a bill has been proposed that addresses exactly that, they are trying to slither out of supporting it. In effect, they are arguing on behalf of mentally unstable people to acquire, maintain, and ultimately use guns.

This is pretty good evidence that they have no intention of supporting any regulations on guns for any reason. They are so enamored of their weaponry that they will willingly accept tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths every year in order to maintain access to any weapon for anyone at any time.

Consequently, it is clear that they are utterly disingenuous when they speak of compromise or bipartisanship in the effort to find solutions. It is now justified and necessary to ignore them and go directly to the people and our representatives and insist on concrete action. The American people want something done, and compassion for the past (and future) victims demands it. We no longer need to be concerned about what the gun fetishists say because we know they don’t mean it and won’t help. So now the only question is, will our representatives in Congress help?

Craven, Irresponsible Politicians And The NRA

So we have another tragedy, another crowded morgue, and another group of inductees into the sorrowful assembly of grieving families. The shootings in Isla Vista, California, have forever changed the lives of the victims and their loved ones in ways only they can comprehend. However, there is nothing unique about the profusion of these horrendous events that are occurring with ever greater frequency. And the father of one of the victims was crystal clear about who is to blame for the devastating rampage. [Video below]

Richard Martinez, the father of 20-year-old UCSB shooting victim Christopher Martinez, gave a heartbreaking statement about his family’s loss, but he included a plea to all who were listening to “Stop this madness!” He plainly felt empathy for the victims of similar attacks in the past and those who are destined to become victims in the future. And he let it be known where the responsibility lies.

“Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live?”

To be sure, the NRA is craven and irresponsible. They are currently lobbying to block funds for research by the Centers for Disease Control to better understand the public health crisis of mass shootings. They oppose the sale of “smart” guns that prevent unauthorized persons from using stolen firearms. They fought for the availability of “cop-killer” bullets that have no sporting or self-defense purpose. They advocate radical positions that even their members repudiate. Their agenda is diametrically opposed to that of the American people according to a poll by (gasp) Fox News.

Fox News Poll

These facts demonstrate how out of touch the NRA-theists are with the public at large. Yet, in some sense, the NRA is not really the problem. They are just doing what their benefactors pay them to do. And make no mistake, their benefactors are not the nation’s gun owners. The bulk of the NRA’s support comes from the firearms industry. Gun manufacturers and retailers are bankrolling the NRA to be their lobbyists in Washington. So who can blame the NRA for shilling for their financiers?

On the other hand, politicians are supposed to be representing the voters. If there is craven and irresponsible behavior going on, it is on the part of the congressmen and senators who do the bidding of the NRA. That’s a choice they make to betray their constituents in favor of the gun lobby. No one is, as they say, putting a gun to their head. It is long past time for our so-called representatives in Congress to do their damn jobs. And the media needs to inform their audience as to the relationship between the NRA and the gun industry, as well as the relationship between politicians and the NRA.

Where’s The NRA? GOP Rep Wants To Take Guns Away – From Law Enforcement

The National Rifle Association has a long record of defending the rights of every American to own firearms of any type and to carry them everywhere. It’s an agenda that enriches the NRA’s financial backers in the weapons trade, but endangers millions of citizens.

Now there is a new effort to restrict access to guns that would ordinarily get the NRA riled up in opposition. It follows the recent standoff at the Cliven Bundy ranch in Nevada where the Bureau of Land Management sought to hold Bundy accountable for violating the law and refusing to pay customary grazing fees for his cattle. In response to the BLM’s efforts to enforce the law, Bundy issued threats, saying that he had guns and was willing to use them. He was backed up by heavily armed militia members who stormed in to confront the BLM.

This is the backdrop for a legislative proposal by Utah Republican Chris Stewart who has analyzed the situation and concluded that there were too many guns in the mix and that steps must be taken by the federal government to disarm — the law enforcement officers.

Disarm the Cops

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That’s right, unaccountable, and likely unstable, shady characters, who dashed across the country to defend a racist criminal, must be permitted unrestricted access to guns and munitions, even when they threaten to use them against their own government. But it’s the government agents who need to be relieved of their firearms. That’s the lesson that Stewart learned from the Bundy ranch episode.

This is where the NRA would usually step in and declare that anyone who wants to take away guns will have to “pry them from my cold, dead hands.” However, it seems that that sentiment only applies to lawless posses and murderers who were standing their ground. When it comes to the first responders who uphold the law and keep America safe, at great personal risk, the NRA has no principles or sympathy.

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It is not surprising to find this sort of hypocrisy by the NRA-theists who are opposed to even the most common sense reforms that the American people favor by large majorities. But it is surprising to find that a sitting Republican representative can observe the disturbing events at the Bundy ranch and come away believing that it’s our law enforcement officers who should be disarmed.

SlayStation: Fox News Pushes Regulation Of Video Games – Not Guns

Fox News has been a reliable advocate on behalf of the National Rifle Association and its mission to insure that even the most lethal types of guns are readily available to just about anyone. They even opposed legislation that would prohibit people on the terrorist no-fly list from buying firearms. Let’s face it, they love them some guns, and any attempt to interfere with their fixation is sacrilege.

Gun Nutz
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Today Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the newest member of the Fox & Friends crew, proposed what she regards as an alternative solution to the tragic mass murders that have plagued the nation (video below). Her suggestion had nothing to do with background checks, or limiting access to dangerous individuals, or barring military-style weapons and magazines that hold dozens of bullets. She and her curvy-couch potatoes think that video games, and the people who play them, are the crux of the problem.

Hasselbeck: “What about frequency testing? How often has this game been played? I mean, I’m not one to say get in there and monitor everything, but if this indeed is a strong link to mass killings, then why aren’t we looking at frequency of purchases per person, and also how often they’re playing. Maybe they time out after a certain hour on this.”

So according to Hasselbeck and her pals, the government must never engage in responsible registration of firearms, or keep databases to alert authorities when someone has amassed a dangerous stockpile of munitions, or check to see if a prospective buyer is guilty of a violent felony or has a record of mental health problems. However, the government ought to keep track of video game purchases, as well as the amount of time individuals spend playing the games. She is actually proposing databases of game buyers and some sort of control mechanism on every game that measures the time it is used. Get ready for the nanny state to shut down your XBox after an hour or two in order to insure that you don’t murder a few dozen people. What’s next? Access to books, web sites, felafels? And none of that seems to intrude on their right-wing aversion to Big Government.

The Fox panel also displayed a graphic showing some of the perpetrators of mass shootings and alleged that they were all video game aficionados. Wow – what a startling revelation that young men in America were found to be fond of electronic gaming. Who knew? What they did not mention is that all of the same people were also obsessed with the guns that they actually used to, you know, actually kill actual people. But Guns couldn’t be part of the problem, could they?

Gunarchy: How The NRA-Theists Have Descended Into Madness

Ever since the gruesome killings in Newtown, CT, there has been a rancorous debate over the 2nd Amendment and the role of firearms in our society. Last week was the six month anniversary of Newtown and most Americans have come to terms with a common sense approach that would subject prospective gun buyers to a simple and quick background check in order to assure that they are not violent felons or mentally unstable. Unfortunately, this rational initiative has been supplanted in the news cycle by a bevy of trumped-up scandals that don’t have nearly the real-world impact on the lives of average Americans.

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Gunarchy

The UN recently released for signatures an arms treaty that would curb access to weapons by terrorists and rogue nations, but the advocates of unfettered access to firearms are already circling the wagons to oppose it. They have abandoned all respect for reason and empathy. The magnitude of their fixation on the broadest possible interpretation of gun rights has exceeded all boundaries of rational thought. They promote a near-total absence of laws regulating gun ownership that amounts to what could be called gunarchy (gun+anarchy). To say that some of their arguments border on lunacy would not be an overstatement. The following examples reveal just how devoted the NRA congregation is to their mission.

The UN Arms Trade And National Sovereignty Abolition Treaty

The United Nations recently approved an international treaty aimed at prohibiting the free-flow of military-grade weapons between oppressive dictatorships and terrorist organizations. This treaty was supported by more than 170 member-states with only Syria, Iran, and North Korea dissenting. Nevertheless, the gunarchists in congress decided to align themselves with that elite trio of naysayers and blocked ratification in the senate. The reason given was that this treaty had the potential to infringe on the sovereignty of the United States, despite the fact that such an infringement was explicitly prohibited in the treaty. So while the UN attempts to make the world safer, right-wingers in the U.S. are serving the interests of defense contractors (even those in China), who favor unencumbered free trade.

Prevent School Shootings By Putting More Guns In Schools

NRA's AmericaThe first response from the NRA to the tragedy at Sandy Hook was to propose the placement of armed guards at every school in America. The folly of this suggestion is all too apparent. The proliferation of guns will never be the solution to the problems they produce. It would merely turn every campus into a potential war zone. The gunarchists never explain how armed guards would prevent a mad man like Adam Lanza, who would still have had greater firepower than a school guard. Plus, he would have had the advantage of surprise and would likely have made his first victims the guard and any nearby teachers. This “solution” also fails to address the rest of our allegedly imperiled communities. There are also children at the beach, in shopping malls, at church, in restaurants, and parks, and playgrounds, and libraries. Would they propose to have armed security at every Chuck E. Cheese and Disney movie? Would they advocate that we have innumerable George Zimmermans patrolling our neighborhoods and slaughtering the innocent?

The NRA-Theists On Buying America

Earlier this year, NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, publicly rebuked New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for spending heavily to promote his campaign for gun safety legislation. Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns was reported to have raised $12 million for advocacy and advertising. LaPierre pounced on that disclosure accusing Bloomberg of trying to “impose his will on the American public,” and insisting that “He can’t buy America.” What LaPierre neglected to mention was that his own campaign had just spent more than twice that amount leading up to the November elections last year. So if Bloomberg is trying to buy America then the NRA is brazenly outbidding them. At least Bloomberg’s campaign is sync with what the American people already believe by huge majorities.

Let’s Disarm The First Responders

As gun safety activists started to make strides in state legislatures, the infuriated gunarchists struck back by taking their vengeance out on state and local police. Weapons retailers vowed to refrain from selling their wares to law enforcement agencies in states that strengthened their safety regulations. Clearly this was not very well thought out because the effect of this reverse boycott, in the unlikely event that it was successful, would leave police unarmed as they endeavored to protect the public from evildoers. That’s the sort of radical response that harms people who have nothing whatsoever to do with the issue under protest. Yet conservative media from Fox News to Glenn Beck’s The Blaze to Breitbart News, all bragged about how this was snowballing into a movement.

Comparing Gun Rights To Civil Rights

Ted NugentNRA board member, and washed up rock burnout, Ted Nugent, has never been at a loss for utterly deranged and offensive words. He has engaged in violent rhetoric suggesting his desire to shoot President Obama, and California’s senators Feinstein and Boxer. And were he more reliable, he would currently be either dead or in jail today according to his own promise. But if it’s possible for him to cross a line that he has not already thoroughly erased, he did so when he placed himself in the same heroic company as Rosa Parks saying “There will come a time when the gun owners of America will be the Rosa Parks and we will sit down on the front seat of the bus.” Never mind the obvious absurdity of juxtaposing the non-violent civil rights struggle for equality with the desire to hoard munitions. Nugent and his ilk even suggested that things would have been much better had civil rights activists been armed to the teeth. Of course that would have violated the principles of non-violent civil disobedience practiced by Martin Luther King. It would also have contributed to a blood bath in the streets if protesters were actually stupid enough to do what Nugent proposes.

The Heartbreak of Hoplophobia

Not satisfied with merely rebutting the arguments of gun safety advocates, the gunarchists have invented a psychological disorder that they can use to dismiss the heart-tugging appeals of real people who were victims of gun violence. Hoplophobia, which they define as a morbid fear of guns, is not recognized by any mental health authority, but it is now being used to assert that anyone who has undergone a traumatic experience associated with guns is psychologically impaired and unfit to participate in a policy debate. There is only one purpose for this made-up malady, and that is to try to get effective spokespeople like Gabrielle Giffords, Jim Brady, the Sandy Hook parents, etc., to shut up.

The advocates for unrestrained proliferation of weaponry of all kinds have simply stopped trying to make coherent arguments. They are pursuing an absolutist course wherein any opposition is tantamount to tyranny and justifies armed rebellion to resist. These are the immutable positions of the gunarchists who represent the arms manufacturers, but not the American people. Polls have repeatedly confirmed that even NRA members do not support the positions of the NRA leaders. And eventually our representatives in congress will have to recognize that their best interests are served by serving the people and not the lobbyists.

Guns vs. Shoes

How Screwball Conspiracy Theories Can Rescue America’s Economy

For some time now there has been a delusional right-wing fear that President Obama and his socialist henchmen were plotting to confiscate every firearm in the nation and force the patriopathic gun-lovers of America into servitude. These NRA-theists are the weapons version of Birthers and Truthers, and since they believe that the government intends to seize their armories, I am calling them “Seizers.”

Setting aside the fact that there has been no effort to prevent any law-abiding citizen from exercising their right to keep and bear arms, the psychotic fervor that is present in these fanatics has been so emphatic that it has overflowed the banks of wingnuttery and flooded the media and even congress. One of the latest and looniest theories is that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been buying up bullets as part of a scheme to deplete the market so as to deprive citizens from having access to ammunition. That’s actually a softening of their prior theory wherein they thought that the DHS was preparing for warfare against a rebellious population.

The DHS has explained repeatedly that they are not buying any more bullets than prior administrations and, in fact, their purchases have declined (from 148.3 million in fiscal 2010 to 103.2 million rounds in 2012). But that hasn’t stopped the Seizers from frantically squealing about the imaginary conspiracy. What really makes this notion epically inane is that in a free market the only thing panic buying would do is motivate the manufacturers to increase production to meet demand. And now Fox News has gotten around to reporting this simple economic reality. But not without editorializing it in a false and negative way:

Fox News

The article interviews an employee of - get this - Stockpile Defense by the name of - not kidding here - Steve Warholic (I wish I could make up stuff this good). This article goes to great lengths to advance the conspiracy theories of the Seizers before eventually getting around to reporting a bit of truth. They lead off with with some familiar Fox fear mongering:

“Massive government purchases, including a plan by the Department of Homeland Security to buy more than 1 billion rounds of ammunition, have further stoked fears – and suspicions.”

However, later in the article they get to what is truly at issue:

“Ammunition manufacturers are reporting record profits and sales, with increases that number in the double and sometimes triple digits. Olin, which owns Winchester, reported last week the company’s first quarter earnings climbed 190 percent over the same period last year.”

There you have it. This whole escapade by the administration was actually an effort to enrich the weapons industry. They were probably in cahoots with the NRA the whole time. Consider this: Since we know that the NRA is not a grassroots organization of citizens, but rather a lobbying group for arms manufacturers, then they have an interest in pumping up sales for guns and ammo. And the Obama administration has been struggling with weak job growth even as the economy has been heating up. So they would welcome anything that puts more people back to work. Therefore, news like like this would benefit both Obama and the NRA:

“Ammunition manufacturers are struggling to make enough and have hundreds of millions of dollars in backorders. They’ve added hundreds of employees and equipment and increased overtime, and, in some cases, are running factories around the clock.”

It’s a win-win. And accomplished courtesy of crackpots who are easily persuaded that their world is falling apart and they must stockpile munitions to protect them from their ravenous neighbors and the jackbooted thugs they used to revere as first-responders.

This sort of economic stimulus could be replicated with any number of other conspiracy theories. Reaching back to some golden oldies, why not reprise the Birther craze, but this time add a profit component that would convince people that they need to get their own documents in order. That would create a demand for paper to print new birth certificates and spur hiring at Kinkos and other quick copy emporiums. Or how about priming the climate change “hoax” in conjunction with oil companies to jump start the sales of gas guzzlers and petroleum products.

With the abundance of lunatic conspiracy theorists out there we could bring unemployment down to 4% in no time if we manage these nut cases efficiently.

[Update] Apparently unsatisfied with the response they got to this article, Fox republished the exact same piece five days later. They are really pushing to make something of this clunker.

NRA-Theism: Glenn Beck’s Jesus Was A Pistol-Packin’ Messiah

The keynote speaker for this year’s NRA convention in Houston was a real crowd pleaser with experience riling up weak-minded right-wing sheeple. Glenn Beck’s sermon was delivered with his usual flair for phony emotion and theatrics. Here is the video if you have the stomach for it.

Glenn Beck

Beck set up his speech by fluffing the audience with praise for what awesome, charitable, courageous, sexy, patriots they all were. Of course, they lapped up this drooling approbation like thirsty puppies and rewarded Beck’s pandering with masturbatory applause. Beck gave the people exactly what they wanted and even titillated them with a teasing hint of a new project he would be announcing “in the coming days” with “major partners.”

The primary message of Beck’s program, however, was a more overarching appeal to the grand province of the Lord, with whom Beck frequently reminds folks that he is in close communication. Never mind that Beck’s interpretation of the divine is in stark contrast to that of most theologians. Take, for instance, how he inexplicably juxtaposes the mission of the NRA with that of the Prince of Peace by saying “Our right to keep and bear arms will not be infringed. We will follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ.” And while Beck never reveals where in scripture he learned that Jesus’ footsteps were fortified with firearms, he returned to the theme several times with pronouncements like this:

“Jesus was a man of God. He was a man of peace. He was a man of forgiveness. But make no mistake, Jesus Christ was also immoveable. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. And we will win by strapping on the full armor of God.”

Perhaps someone should remind Beck that Jesus ordered his apostles to lay down their weapons when confronted with Roman soldiers who came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Or maybe they just dismiss it as that old “live by the sword, die by the sword” nonsense that their savior mumbled while under duress. Or, much like the 2nd Amendment, they just heed the half of the text that appeals to them and throw out irrelevancies like “die by the sword” and “well regulated militia.” And where he gets this business about the “armor of God” that he’s so anxious to strap on (an unfortunate phrasing), is anybody’s guess. The closest similar rhetoric would come from the Crusades. In the end, it belittles any notion of a divine power that certainly doesn’t need to rely on the defensive accoutrements of mortals.

Beck railed on interminably, punctuating his evangelical bluster with warnings of end-times alarmism. He insisted that we are in a “precarious situation” and that “the hour grows late.” He feverishly hammered into the heads of his assembled masses the apocalyptic angst that is the hallmark of his nightmarish doctrine.

“Our freedom is under attack. Our liberty, our way of life is being legislated out of existence. Our rights are being diminished by a ruling class of power of elites. They’re growing out of control. We have a government of radical revolutionaries actively working against the Constitution and the American people.”

And after that upchucking of fear and darkness, Beck was steadfast in his determination to fight the left’s tactics of fear and darkness – with love. Because, as we all know, love is best expressed behind the muzzle of an assault weapon that was acquired without any background check. Just ask the children of Sandy Hook, the students of Virginia Tech, the movie fans of Aurora, or even the church-goers of Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Hoplophobia: Pro-Gun ‘Doctors’ Invent Psychological Disorder To Discredit Victim Activists

This may one of the most repulsive moves yet by gun worshiping extremists bent on preserving the legitimate rights of the 2nd Amendment for murderers and madmen.

The Daily Caller, a web site run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, posted an article that posits a theory about people who have survived gun violence or the families of deceased victims. The authors propose that such people are mentally unfit to express their opinions about the tragedies that they and their loved ones endured. These committed reformers, the authors allege, are suffering from “hoplophobia,” a fake condition that is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association or any other mental health authority.

Hoplophobia

The term was coined by the late Jeff Cooper, a former board member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and is defined by him as “a morbid fear of guns.” TheDC argues that people who have had traumatic experiences involving gun violence cannot construct rational opinions about public firearms policy because they have been damaged psychologically. The article falsely asserts that hoplophobia is “a real, extremely dangerous, widespread, and clinically recognizable complex specific phobia.” No, actually, it is none of those things. It is the creation of a politically motivated lobbyist for weapons manufacturers. Which makes this statement from the article all the more absurd:

“Many doctors are guilty of ‘boundary violations’ when they, with some frequency, inject anti-gun political opinions or content into their clinical work as health-care providers. It is our assertion that this constitutes several serious ethical violations including at least: mixing politics and health care.”

As a representative of the NRA, and not a medical professional, it is undeniable that Cooper’s conflation of politics and medicine is an outright ethical violation that the article itself later condemns as “practicing outside one’s recognized fields of expertise.” As the article progresses interminably through its jargon-laden mush of pseudo-science, it never makes a coherent argument to support its premise that victims are not credible witnesses or activists. Yet it does glorify its own intellectual silliness with the hyperbolic claim that “Hoplophobia is far and away the most dangerous of all phobias.”

It is easy to assert that a phobia you make up yourself is the worst one ever, but it is much harder to support such a claim. In fact, hoplophobia is a cognitive disaster area that makes little sense. One of the obvious flaws of this crackpot theory is the assertion that gun violence victims have a generalized fear of guns. To the contrary, many are themselves gun owners and continue to endorse the right to keep and bear arms even after their traumatic episodes. There is nothing inconsistent (or insane) in advocating reasonable regulations for obtaining dangerous weapons and supporting legislation to keep such items out of the hands of those who will misuse them.

Which brings us to another glaring flaw. The authors attribute opposition to unfettered access to any type of weapon as evidence of hoplophobia. Were that the case it would mean that in excess of 80% of the American people are sufferers, because that’s how many support the expanded regulations currently being debated in congress. Obviously, 80% of the country has not been victimized by gun violence, so TheDC will have to come up with another theory to explain this discrepancy. And luckily, they have one handy:

“The large-scale support such a program sometimes finds, including within the media, implies a mass-hysteria or mass-hypnosis effect.”

See? We’re all hypnotized and/or hysterical. Never mind the fact that many of us own guns and happily concede that right to others in an environment that is responsible and filters out felons and other unstable individuals. And set aside the reasonable perspective that a certain measure of managed fear is appropriate when dealing with instruments that are so potentially injurious. Far too many devastating accidents have occurred when people failed to respect the inherent destructive force that guns possess.

In the end, it seems that the inventors of the phony phobia are themselves the ones who suffer from irrational fears. They consider any approach to public safety that addresses guns is a covert attempt to disarm them, enslave them, and confiscate their guns and other private property. They explicitly state in this article that hoplophobia “can compromise the U.S. Constitution and human freedom itself.” If that isn’t an expression of a hyper-phobic personality, then what is?

Gun Shmucks: Right-Wingers Joke About Knife Attacks In Texas

You would think that it’s bad enough that innocent people at Lone Star College near Houston were assaulted by a maniac with a knife, but the last thing they need is some right-wing jerk-holes exploiting the tragedy to make an idiotic political point about gun control.

Sadly, that’s exactly what happened yesterday as aforementioned jerk-holes like Michelle Malkin, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, Glenn Beck flunkies, and others made light of the horror experienced by the victims of the attack. The common theme addressed in their juvenile attempts at humor was that Obama would propose some sort of “knife control” now that there had been a mass-stabbing at a school.

Malkin: Coming soon: Limits on length, serration & sharpness.

Starnes: Does Obama have Air Force One gassed up and ready to head to Houston to launch his “War on X-acto Knives”?

Beck Flunky: Will there be calls for stricter knife control following today’s horrific attack?

Alex Jones: Government, Protect us! Ban knives now!

The problem with their non-funny, non-logic (aside from the rank insensitivity) is that there is a glaringly obvious corollary to this story that they are incapable of comprehending.

Fox News

As tragic as it is to be a victim of a crime like this, there is some solace to be had by having survived. That’s a sentiment that is surely shared by friends and relatives. I’m pretty sure that every one of the people who were stabbed are grateful that they were not shot and killed. And the simple fact that there were no fatalities in Houston contrasts vividly with the deadly consequences of last Decembers shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

If anything, the results of this crime spree are an argument in favor of stricter regulations on guns. NRA apologists are fond of saying that criminals could simply use knives if they were unable to get guns. Well, as we’ve seen here, that would be step in the right direction if your objective is to save lives.

Unfortunately, the objective of the NRA, their bought and paid for legislators, and the dupes they have deceived, is to sell ever more guns and ammo. They work for the firearms manufacturers, not any rank and file constituency of citizens. And they are advocating a policy that guarantees more grief and suffering. It’s time to do something about it and, but for the efforts of the gun worshipers, we could pass sensible legislation that would make our society safer without imposing on anyone’s rights.

By the way, there already is knife control, as well as restrictions on many other dangerous weapons. It’s a pretty sorry situation when the American people overwhelmingly support legal solutions to the problem of gun violence and can’t get it, but silliness like “shoe control.” is imposed in all of our airports.

NRA vs. NSA

What Do The GOP And The NRA Have In Common With Syria, Iran, and North Korea?

The American ultra-rightists in the Republican Party like to associate themselves with an unwavering patriotism that borders on psychosis. They revere the flag as if every one of the Chinese-sewn banners had wrapped pieces of the True Cross. Granted, their unctuous adoration is mostly vacant rhetoric that disguises a deeply held animosity for real liberty and justice, but it is worn as garishly as papal vestments.

This makes it all the more startling that senate Republicans have declared their opposition to a recently approved UN Arms Trade treaty that would regulate the transfer of tanks, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, warships, missiles, etc., between member nations. There were only three votes against the treaty in the UN: Syria, Iran, and North Korea. Consequently, the GOP is aligning itself with three of the most brutally oppressive regimes in the world.

Buttheads

The treaty has been debated for more than a decade and contains language that explicitly prohibits it from regulating any domestic transactions within any country. The whole purpose is to stem the traffic of military grade weapons to rogue nations and terrorists. So obviously Syria, Iran, and North Korea have easily discernible motivations to oppose the treaty. The question is: What reasons do senate Republicans have?

The short answer to that question is: The NRA. The National Rifle Association has come out against the treaty claiming that it will infringe on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. They offer no evidence of how the treaty could interfere with our Constitution. They simply oppose it out of a blind distrust for any institution that seeks to put limits on the transfer of weapons. The position of the NRA, and their allies in Washington, is that any entity, person, corporation, or nation, should have free reign with regard to weapons acquisitions, and sales, including weapons of mass destruction. They believe this fervently despite assurances like this one from Secretary of State, John Kerry:

“As the United States has required from the outset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.”

This is perhaps one of the clearest delineations of the differences between extremists on the right and rational progressives with regard to sensible gun safety measures. Progressives favor keeping dangerous arsenals out of the hands of tyrants and terrorists, while right-wingers, serving the interests of defense contractors (even those in China), favor unencumbered free trade. And this manufactured controversy over a much-needed international treaty parallels perfectly with the domestic debate. The right has no intention of engaging in an honest debate or representing the wishes of the people, who overwhelmingly support new regulations.

Fox News Poll

The more this sort of insanity is revealed to American voters, the more they will continue to reject the short-sighted, falsely skewed servants of the gun lobby. But the media needs to be more responsible and point out the loony alliances that are forming between mad dictators like Assad, Ahmadinejad, and Jong-Un, and our own congressional leaders like Mitch McConnell.

Evidence Tampering: Fox News Covers For The NRA On Newtown Massacre

Police investigating the shootings at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut, released a stack of documents today that reveal many previously undisclosed details about the crime and the perpetrator, Adam Lanza. Among the items made available to the press were inventories of a well-stocked cache of weapons and ammunition, a variety of notebooks and journals, and various computers, books, and gaming devices.

Also disclosed in the warrants were materials from the National Rifle Association including an NRA booklet on the “Basics of Pistol Shooting” and a certificate from the NRA in Lanza’s name.

Fox News NRA

Curiously, when Fox News broadcast a story on these documents they omitted any reference to the NRA items listed therein. Reporter Rick Leventhal had sufficient time to note that Lanza was an avid gamer, but he said nothing about the NRA. The report even included prepared graphics with three screen-fulls of bullet-pointed lists of the contents of the documents, but no mention of those related to the NRA.

Fox News Lanza Docs

Either Fox News doesn’t think that the presence of NRA training books and certificates are relevant to the story (although samurai swords and books on autism are), or they are deliberately protecting the NRA from the bad publicity that could result from disclosing all the facts.

This casts a whole new light on Fox’s slogan, “We report. You decide.” Perhaps it should read “We report some things but withhold those that reflect poorly on our ideological allies. You decide based on the censored set of ‘facts’ we choose to reveal.”

The result of this sort of journalistic chicanery is that viewers will always make decisions based on the prejudices imposed by Fox’s editors and reporters. Ironically, their overtly biased story construction only makes matters worse. Were they to have included the information about the NRA, they could have also pointed out that the NRA cannot be held responsible for crimes committed by anyone who purchases their books or takes their training courses. However, by omitting the facts completely, Fox makes it appear that the NRA has something to be embarrassed by and that they benefit from Fox’s malfeasance. Perhaps they are even complicit in influencing Fox to alter their reporting.

In the end, it is just another reason that Fox viewers are so grossly ill-informed and hold views that widely diverge from the majority of Americans who have a more common sense perspective on gun safety issues and many other political and social matters. It explains the existence of the Fox Bubble World and the pathetic drones who reside therein.

NRA Says Bloomberg ‘Can’t Buy America’ After They Spent Twice As Much

The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre appeared on Meet the Press this morning to lambaste New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to educate voters about the gun safety legislation currently being debated in congress.

LaPierre is furious that the Mayor is joining with other mayors in an advertising campaign (video below) to help convince voters and congress to adopt responsible gun safety reforms. What outrages LaPierre, and what Fox News made the headline for their report, is that Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) is planning to spend $12 million on the campaign. LaPierre pounced on that disclosure accusing Bloomberg of trying to “impose his will on the American public,” and insisting that “He can’t buy America.” That stretches the boundaries of irony to stratospheric new levels.

Fox News - NRA

The budget for MAIG is less than half of what the NRA spent in the last election cycle, $2 million of which was spent directly on lobbying members of congress. If MAIG is trying to buy America then the NRA is brazenly outbidding them. It takes a double-barreled load of gall to accuse someone of something you are doing to a far greater degree, but that’s the sort of dishonest hyperbole that LaPierre is known for.

The allegation that MAIG would impose Bloomberg’s will on the American public is also blatantly false. In fact, the public overwhelmingly supports the proposals in the MAIG’s platform that include universal background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. One needs look no further than the Fox News poll released this week for confirmation.

Fox News - Guns

The issues advocated by MAIG have broad support from the American people in general, and some are also supported by majorities of gun owners and even NRA members. LaPierre purports to represent the entire membership of the NRA, but that is clearly not the case. The NRA is primarily a lobbying organization that serves the interests of firearms manufactures, not citizens.

If anyone is trying to buy America and impose his will on the people, it is LaPierre and the NRA. And Fox News is happy to help them deceive the public by reporting the MAIG expenditure but not put it in context by reporting the NRA’s spending.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Video:

Gun Nuttiness Royale: Refusing To Sell Guns To Police In Pro-Safety States

So exactly how deep is the vein of idiocy that runs through the NRA gun worship crowd? Just have a look at this item from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze (and associated wingnut media): 44 Gun Companies Have Stopped Selling To Law Enforcement In Anti-2nd-Amendment States.

Blaze - Guns

This is the sort of thing you expect from lie factories like Fox Nation. But the evil genius in this meticulously plotted protest is not readily apparent at first glance. However, if you let it sink in for a minute it becomes hilariously inept. In fact, it’s rather astonishing how they could get so much wrong in one short headline. Let us count the ways:

1) No states are anti-2nd Amendment.
The gunnies are trying to portray any state that dares to seek solutions to rampant gun violence of the sort that took the lives of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, as contrary to the right to keep and bear arms as stipulated in the Constitution. However, reasonable regulations and background checks have been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court and are supported by majorities of the American public, and even by majorities of NRA members.

2) There’s no evidence that any of the listed vendors were ever state suppliers.
The article on TheBlaze lists 44 munitions vendors who are taking an oath to refuse to sell their products to law enforcement agencies. But in no cases have they provided any evidence that they are presently engaged in such sales. And in at least some cases it seems pretty unlikely. I’m not sure that Old Grouch’s Military Surplus or Controlled Chaos Arms are sacrificing much in the way of revenue from police department clients. None of the major arms manufacturers like Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, or Glock are participating in the boycott.

3) Other vendors will happily take up the slack.
These eager activists don’t seem to grasp the concept of boycotts. Generally they are carried out by refusing to buy certain products, thus hurting the targeted vendors by using their financial clout to affect policy changes. Instead, the gunnies are refusing to sell their own products to willing buyers, thus hurting only themselves. It’s a little like demanding that the bank teller hand over all the money and threatening to shoot yourself if they don’t.

4) If effective, the boycott would endanger the lives of citizens.
Setting aside the fact that this protest is pitifully ill-conceived, let’s imagine how it would unfold if it had any chance of succeeding. The apparent goal is to pressure states not to implement gun safety initiatives by, in effect, disarming the officers who are there to protect the people. That seems like a reckless course of action and one that the public would disapprove of in droves. Gun advocates may enjoy fondling their weapons and pretending to be superheroes, but most citizens are not anxious to confront desperate criminals on their own. Grandma is not likely to hear the call on the police scanner, start up the Rambler, and head down to the mall to foil a gang of jewelry store thieves.

5) The law enforcement agencies don’t make the laws.
Perhaps the most tunnel-blind facet of this folly is that the dimwitted gun vendors are aiming their protest at the police, despite the fact that they are only responsible for enforcing laws, not drafting them. So the gunnies are taking a stand to refuse to provide service revolvers to local police because of something that was done by governing legislatures and executives.

Like so many harebrained schemes by far-right extremists, this protest action is not very well thought out. It harms first responders who are innocent parties in this debate; it puts citizens at risk; it blows up in their own faces financially; and it makes no strategic sense whatsoever. Yet it is being heralded by the wingnut press including Breitbart News, and Fox Nation. And in addition to the article on TheBlaze, Glenn Beck addressed the subject on his webcast escalating it into pure conspiracy theory delusion. He warned that the gun dealers…

“…are not going to provide anything to a state where those weapons are going to be used against the citizens to possibly take guns and gun rights away.”

So Beck is afraid that states are plotting shooting rampages by police against residents in pursuit of their firearms and, therefore, the police must be disarmed. This is another demonstration of conservatives leaning so far out to the right that they fall overboard and make asses of themselves. And as if to underscore their dementia, note the ad on TheBlaze about “FEMA Coffins.” Those should come in handy after the cops have killed everybody.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Gun Lobbyists Don’t Shoot People – Their Kids Do

Today Fox Nation went after Joe Biden’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force by reporting that one of the members is the father of a young man who was convicted in 2008 of plotting a Columbine-style attack at his school. But that was only half of the story.

Fox Nation

Thomas Nee was president of the Boston Police Patrolman’s Association. He was selected to be a member of the task force due to his life-long career in law enforcement and his 30 year association with Biden. Unfortunately, he also happens to have a son who ran afoul of the law.

Joseph Nee was a teenager when he reportedly conspired with his friend, Tobin Kerns, to commit an assault on the students and faculty of his Marshfield, MA, school. He was convicted and sentenced to nine months, with another two years of probation. The defense noted that it was Joseph who went to the police to report the plot, which resulted in his arrest and that of his friend. Consequently, due to Joseph’s renunciation of the activity and cooperation with law enforcement, no one was ever actually threatened or harmed.

The article posted by the Fox Nationalists featured the sensationalist headline “Member Of Biden’s ‘Gun Control Task Force’ Has Son Convicted Of Planning Columbine-Style Attack.” The clear intent on the part of Fox was to tarnish the task force’s reputation in order to bias public opinion against its work. None of the details were included by Fox or the Breitbart News column which was its source.

Also not included was the fact that the President of the NRA has also had family problems with regard to criminal gun use. David Keene’s son was convicted of shooting at another man in an incident of road rage. The younger Keene was sentenced to ten years in prison for attempted murder.

To the extent that Fox desires to discredit Biden’s task force by publicizing the actions of a single member’s family, the NRA should be similarly liable for the actions of the spawn of its president. If anything, these kids are a warning sign of the potential risks associated with growing up in families where firearms are revered. Both of these fathers were ardent gun advocates and users, and they raised their kids in households where such weaponry was commonplace.

However, neither of these fathers can reasonably be prohibited from involving themselves in the public discourse on gun violence because of the actions of their sons. And this one-sided effort by Fox to impose a form of censorship via smear tactics is unconscionable, unethical, and further evidence of their unfitness to be regarded as a credible news enterprise.

Fox News Escalates Pro-Gun Campaign With Help From Ted Nugent

True to form, Fox News is rolling out a massive PR blitz in favor of the NRA’s “Guns Everywhere” agenda. It’s a free advertising bonanza for gun nuts and rightist politicians who exploit the controversy as a wedge issue. This morning there were fourteen separate stories on Fox Nation in addition to those airing on multiple programs on the Fox News Channel. And in every case the tone mirrored gun worshipers who are willing to tolerate mass murder every so often in order to hang on to their assault weapons.

Ted Nugent

Much of what is giving them their latest case of the willies is an off-hand remark by Vice-President Joe Biden. Speaking about bipartisan meetings with people and groups concerned about the subject, he told reporters that “There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken.” That was all it took to heat up the right to boiling, even though the reality is that there are very few and limited measures that can be implemented in that manner. Biden was merely referencing the fact that his review would be comprehensive, as any responsible approach to such a serious subject should be.

The resulting outrage echoed across the mediasphere with lunatics like Alex Jones threatening an armed rebellion, and NRA board member Ted Nugent comparing gun nuts to Rosa Parks. An item on Drudge made comparisons to Stalin and Hitler. Of course the usual suspects in the pundit and political classes immediately began inciting fears of a tyrannical Obama confiscating all guns and abolishing the Constitution. Among those were Fox’s Charles Krauthammer, who declared any regulation of guns was unconstitutional and would lead to an insurrection, and newly minted Tea Party senator Ted Cruz, who concurred.

It really is impossible to have a rational, productive discussion with hair-trigger crackpots like these inflaming their followers and distorting the facts. They disregard the actual legal precedents with regard to regulation, as well as their own saner associates (i.e. Gen. Stanley McChrystal), and even recent polls that show that majorities of NRA members favor stricter controls on certain types of guns. In this environment it will require lawmakers to focus on the facts and the people’s will, rather than the lobbyists and political opportunists, if we hope to make our country safer.

The NRA’s Prescription For A Safer America: Assault Weapons Everywhere

After a week of silence, the NRA has finally come forward to comment on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The spokesman for the gun manufacturer’s lobbying group was NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre.

The speech was a rehash of familiar diversions the NRA uses to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the bloody consequences of the gun culture they advocate. Their obsession with a misreading of the second amendment (which they always ignore makes specific reference to “a well-regulated militia”) takes priority over every other right or freedom in America, including free speech and the right to life.

NRA Safer America

According to LaPierre, the real killers in America are the producers of movies and video games. And while LaPierre advocates regulating these forms of entertainment, he is adamantly opposed to the sensible regulation of the actual weapons that cause actual fatalities. This is consistent with the hypocrisy of right-wingers who claim to want government off their backs, unless it is to enforce some aspect of their theocratic morality. They chafe at federal efforts to rein in predatory bankers, but are thrilled when government keeps gays from getting married.

The NRA’s core argument against stricter regulation of the most dangerous types of firearms is that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The problem with that argument is that it requires everybody have a gun. And, of course, having guns did not help Adam Lanza’s mother. What’s more, statistics show that people with guns in their homes are more likely to be victims of gun violence than those without guns. Often the gunowners weapon is used against them by their assailant.

The only constructive suggestion in LaPierre’s remarks was to hire and station armed guards at every school in America. Aside from turning all campuses into war zones, that would not come close to solving the problem of violence in our society. There are also children at the beach, in shopping malls, at church, in restaurants, and parks, and playgrounds, and libraries. Would LaPierre propose to have armed security at every Chuck E. Cheese and Disney movie?

At one point in his speech LaPierre spun an absurd hypothetical asking what would have happened if there were an armed guard at Sandy Hook. His presumption is that the tragedy would have been averted. However, it might just as likely have resulted in the murder of the guard along with everyone else. Common sense tells us that the killer would be expecting the guard, but the guard would be surprised by the killer. Plus, would the guard be armed with equivalent firepower? If so, that means that all of the guards at the sites we decide to protect would be carrying assault weapons. Seriously? Assault weapons at Chuck E. Cheese and Annie’s Day Care and Toys ‘R’ Us? Surely, nothing bad would come of that.

The NRA approach to public safety would be a throwback to the wild west when everybody was packing heat and there were shootouts in the street. It would turn our society into a battle zone with frightened citizens scrambling to insure that their mode of protection was superior to any other they might encounter. There would be innumerable George Zimmermans patrolling our neighborhoods and slaughtering the innocent.

The NRA manages to find fault in everything but guns. LaPierre cited movies, video games, mental health, and even hurricanes, as the causes of “a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.” So we are victimized by hurricanes, but not by rapid-fire rifles with 30 round magazines? And at the top of his list was the media about whom he said…

“Throughout it all, too many in our national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders, act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.”

On this point I may have to agree with him. The media has been far too timid about addressing the practical issues surrounding gun policy in America. They are cowed by charges that it is “not the right time” to engage in this debate. But according to the NRA it is never the right time. Even now, LaPierre said that “There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action. We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act.” Let the absurdity of that statement sink in. He is saying that this issue is so important that we should act without any deliberation. We should just do something, but we must not, under any circumstances, talk about it first.

Always happy to do its part, Fox News has already signed on to LaPierre’s dictate of silence. It was recently disclosed that a Fox executive sent a memo to their producers ordering them to refrain from discussing gun control. And today, Fox is apparently still operating under that edict. They broke into the LaPierre speech late and left it before it concluded, cutting out a full third of the speech. Then they followed the aborted speech with a fiscal cliff panel. While they didn’t have time to show all of LaPierre’s remarks, they did broadcast in full remarks to the press by three GOP senators on a Benghazi report that was released two days ago.

I feel safer already knowing that Fox News and the NRA are aggressively campaigning for the rights of all Americans to live in a society awash with weapons designed for combat. Heavily armed guards in schools and bookstores can only serve to move this country closer to the utopian models of Somalia or Beirut sought by right-wingers where freedom reigns above all and government is small enough to drown in a bathtub.

Ted Nugent’s ‘Culture of Contempt’ Is Repsonsible For The Newtown Massacre

Just when you thought you’ve heard it all, the sickening blather of the right-wing nuthouse crowd manages to scale to new heights of idiocy and hypocrisy.

Following one of the most horrific mass murders in this nation’s history, Republicans have rushed to the TV cameras and talk radio mics to blame the Newtown massacre on the absence of God in the classroom, the violence of video games, and/or too few firearms in the hands of teachers. The call for turning your child’s faculty members into an elementary school SWAT team has come from GOP leaders, congressmen and NRA spokespersons.

Now Ted Nugent, not surprisingly, has joined the fray. Nugent is on the board of the NRA and has a long history of worshiping weaponry. He was the host of a Discovery Channel special called “Ted Nugent’s Gun Country” (which Discovery just announced will have no further episodes). In his latest column for the “Moonie” Washington Times, Nugent, of all people, blasted what he called a “culture of contempt.” Adding that…

“The ugly and dangerous truth is that we live in an embarrassing, politically correct culture that exalts and rejoices in the bizarre.”

I couldn’t agree more. And Nugent is the perfect example of what is most embarrassing and bizarre in our culture. For Nugent to criticize the alleged contempt in society is something like Hitler criticizing anti-Semitism. Nugent is the guy who recently said…

Ted Nugent

“I vow that I will use our freedom to get these dirty cock-suckers out of the White House. The president is a bad man. The vice president is a bad man. They’re all bad people. If you don’t get that, you’re a dead motherfucker.”

And…

“If Barack Obama becomes the President in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

And…

“I was in Chicago last week I said, ‘Hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these, you punk?’ Obama, he’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on one of my machine guns. Let’s hear it for them. I was in New York and I said, ‘Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch.’ Since I’m in California, I’m gonna find Barbara Boxer she might wanna suck on my machine guns. Hey, Dianne Feinstein, ride one of these you worthless whore.”

Now Nugent thinks he can lecture other Americans on morality and virtuous culture? Nugent is a loathsome and hate-filled misanthrope whose wretched perception of reality is tainted by an all-consuming and diseased ego. He has no standing to judge other people or society in general. It is demented souls like his that contribute to what is worst in our society. And we would be far better off if he were to keep the promise he made a few weeks ago about being either dead or in jail. The sooner the better, Ted.

How Fox News Uses Labels To Distort Reality: NRA Edition

It is going on five days now that the NRA has maintained a media silence with regard to the Newtown massacre. Their Facebook and Twitter accounts went dark on Friday and have remained so ever since.

Today, however, Fox News reported that the organization is planning to make a statement soon. They posted this notice on their web site with the headline “NRA TO END SILENCE: Rights Group To Answer Gun-Control Lobby.”

Fox News NRA

That headline is a perfect demonstration of how Fox News deliberately prejudices their reporting to favor groups they support and disparage those they oppose. Fox identifies the NRA as a “rights group” when in fact they are registered lobbyists for the gun industry. Then they call gun control activists “lobbyists,” even though they represent only citizen efforts to reform gun safety legislation. That’s sort of like calling the Tobacco Council a smokers rights group, and the American Cancer Society anti-cancer lobbyists.

Fox News doesn’t seem to care about what the definition of a lobbyist is. So they attach the term, which has deserved negative connotations, to grassroots gun-control advocates in order to cast them in a negative light. And they refrain from properly identifying the NRA as the lobbyists they are in order to promote them more positively. This is an obvious rhetorical tactic to slant the impression they give to their audience. It further indicts Fox for their pro-NRA bias which became clearer yesterday when it was revealed that their program executives instructed their producers to refrain from any discussions of gun control.

And to top it all off, this bit of ironic ad placement was captured on Fox’s web site:

Fox News Bloody Shirt

Putting a woman in a bloody t-shirt adjacent to an article about a mass killing is surely no one’s idea of smart marketing. Of course, this occurred due to an automated ad placement by a third-party agency. However, this unintended and unfortunate juxtaposition tells a story that is consistent with Fox’s editorial philosophy. Twenty-seven people are dead in Connecticut, but according to Fox, so far as gun control is concerned, everything is fine.

Cue The “Obama Plotted The Newtown Massacre” Conspiracy Theories

The nation is once again grieving the senseless loss of innocent life at the hands of a mentally unstable gunman. Compounding the tragedy, this time the majority of victims were children. As President Obama said this afternoon…

“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

Unfortunately, the politics will eventually seep into this as it always does. Gun rights advocates may try to evade a public debate by claiming that it is inappropriate to discuss responsible gun policy after a notorious crime, but in truth there is no better time. And waiting until the nation is crime-free would mean putting off the debate forever (which, of course, is their intent).

The President’s message explicitly addressing the need for meaningful action is bound to set off a flurry of paranoia from the Second Amendment set. It is just the sort of soundbite that triggers their imaginations. During the campaign, NRA president Wayne LaPierre wrote in a fundraising letter that Obama’s re-election would result in the “confiscation of our firearms” His proof of that was the fact that Obama had not taken any actions against gun ownership throughout his first term. To LaPierre, and many other right-wingers, that meant that Obama was lulling gun owners into a false sense of security and that Obama would proceed with the gun roundup in his second term. Of course, Fox News was a principle proponent of these conspiracy theories. Here are a few headlines from Fox’s community web site Fox Nation:

  • Obama Starts Pushing Gun Control
  • Obama: We’re Working on Gun Control ‘Under the Radar’
  • Obama May Use Executive Orders to Bypass Congress on Gun Control Laws
  • Obama to Push for New Gun Laws in Wake of Colorado Massacre?
  • Chuck Norris: Obama’s Stealth Gun Control
  • WSJ: Second Obama Term Could Kill Second Amendment

There were similar conspiratorial prophesies percolating in the midst of the “Fast and Furious” affair. Many conservative pundits and politicians believed the whole thing was a covert plot to impose stricter gun laws in the United States. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips said as much on Fox News earlier this year.

“This was purely a political operation. You send the guns down to Mexico, therefore you support the political narrative that the Obama administration wanted supported; that all these American guns are flooding Mexico, that they’re the cause of the violence in Mexico and therefore we need draconian gun control laws here in America.”

So I’ll give it about forty-eight hours before some gun nut charges that Adam Lanza was an Obama operative sent to Connecticut to create havoc that would open the door for federal agents to clamp down on the rights of gun owners to possess assault weapons and other military grade munitions that our Founding Fathers could never have imagined. It could be Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Allen West or Michelle Bachmann. There are plenty of delusional crackpots on the right who could advance this theme. And if all else fails, the NRA could take it up themselves. Seriously…I wonder how long it will take them to run an ad like this:

NRA Ad

Today America is mourning again. We all send our condolences to the families of the victims. But the most meaningful thing we can do for them is to start tomorrow to insist that rational and reasonable steps be taken to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the first place. That means adopting a sane approach to gun ownership and compassionate access to mental health care. Not to do so would be to rub salt in the wounds of everyone who has lost a loved one to gun violence, and it would also be an invitation for more of these horrific events in the future. We need to stop this, and we need to do it now.