This Tom Scocca piece is pretty much brilliant from soup to cappuccino — I’m not even sure where to start excerpting. Here’s a couple of teasers:
Guns kill people. More guns kill more people. What the NRA gets wrong—intentionally or delusionally or, in the psychologically and financially profitable zone where intention and delusion overlap—is its bedrock premise: that gun killings are the work of Bad Guys, predators whose drive to hurt and steal and kill cannot be stopped by anything but a brave Good Guy armed with a powerful firearm and, not at all incidentally, trained through an NRA-backed firearms-training program.
And the NRA insists that these people—”the monsters and the predators,” as LaPierre put it—will not be thwarted by gun control, except in the funny T-shirt both-hands-on-my-weapon sense. The next Adam Lanza is already picking out his target, LaPierre said.
That’s because the next Adam Lanza is almost certainly able to get his hands on a weapon to point at that target. The original Adam Lanza was apparently too confused and low-functioning to navigate Connecticut’s simple waiting period and buy one for himself. But his mother, a gun enthusiast in good standing, had a stock of her own. She reportedly had wanted to feel safe.
This is the most extraordinary thing about the NRA’s ideology and the climate it’s created. By the time you read this, there will almost certainly be someone who has jumped to the comments to denounce gun regulations as an infringement of fundamental liberties. It is only the presence of uncounted millions of guns, in the hands of uncounted millions of Americans—whether pointy-headed liberals recognize this as a “well-regulated militia” or not—that secures our freedom against the encroachment of a totalitarian police state.
Yet today, LaPierre got up and described the gun lobby’s vision of our future: “A police officer in every single school.” “Armed security … building design … access control … information technology.” “An active national database of the mentally ill.”
This is the NRA’s idea of a free country. Kindergarteners on lockdown. Federal monitoring of everyone’s mental-health status. Cops in every hallway.
But, really, it’s all that good. The equation of guns and liberty is a conservertarian reductio ad absurdum on a par with Robert Bork’s argument that liberty requires giving public accommodations the right to deny African-Americans service based on their race (although, oddly, similar common law rights that applied to white people posed much less of a threat to liberty.) As Scocca says, it’s no coincidence that as the scope of the Second Amendment has been enlarged, the scope of the much more important Fourth Amendment (which actually does protect rights crucial to individual liberty) has been shrinking.