Growing up in Arizona, it wasn't unusual to see people carrying a shotgun or rifle - outside city limits. What IS unusual, is the sight of an ordinary citizen with a pistol holstered at the waist in a public area such as a shopping mall or other like areas. THAT would be alarming, and IS alarming, in the rare instance it takes place. However, vacross the nation in recent years we've suffered one public massacre after another, all committed by gunmen using semi-automatic firearms, the kind no legitimate hunter would find useful. I've watched as my home state has been transformed by a societal movement towards a politically conservative atmosphere of anti-government sentiment, fearful and suspicious of the current president simply because he's a Democrat, and undeniably because he's black.
Enter into this atmosphere of hate suspicion and fear, the NRA. For years, the NRA was an organization that seemed benign - at least to me, and didn't rate headlines every week as they do now. They rate headlines only because they claim to be defending a right they say exists in the U.S. constitution. I'm sorry, but nowhere in the constitution is language that can be construed to mean all citizens have the right to own any and all firearms one can afford.
Together with the modern-day conservatism of Grover Norquist (No taxes..ever!), our bubble-headed governor Jan headless body Brewer, and the anti-government hysteria they promote, we have the NRA exploiting the atmosphere of hate suspicion and fear to market their products - firearms. How the NRA prevents new firearms regulation and dilutes others is no secret: Money. Cash. Listen to Kay Baily Hutchison babble on about firearms and the government's attempts to prevent you from buying them, and you can see and hear the cash efforts of the NRA at work.
How they get their customers to buy the firearms they promote is "The rest of the story", as the late Paul Harvey used to say. It isn't difficult, given the anti-government hysteria today's conservatism thrives on. All the NRA has to do is to simply insinuate this president has an agenda to ban all fireams, and.....VIOLA!! Guns N' Ammo sales spike upwards. To illustrate the poiint, I listened with disbelief as an otherwise intelligent business aquaintence related how HE KNOWS president Obama wants to ban all firearms because as a member if "ICS" (I think), he reads hunting magazines the have articles telling all about Barack Obama's secret agenda to ban all firearms. When I pointed out that in fact, president Obama has come out in support of the 2nd. amendment, he countered that was the "secret agenda" part: he WANTS us to think he supports gun ownership, when he really wants to deny us gun ownership. He followed that up with the astounding statement that the Connecticut killings were the perfect set-up for president Obama to have a gun ban pushed through Congress. He explained that by "Set-up", he meant that president Obama secretly had the 20 children and their teachers killed. I was speechless. This is a guy I do business with. If I were to have prolonged the debate, I risked being seen as part of the grand presidential anti-gun conspiricy, and who knows what might have happened then?
Here we have a not so small portion of our society - maybe 20 to 25% - that honestly hold to the belief that our government is some kind of enemy bent on subverting the constitutional rights the nation was founded on. Never mind all empirical evidence to the contrary, the more you try to convince them otherwise, the harder they dig in their heels - and the more firearms and ammo they buy.
The NRA has learned how to exploit the fear and suspicion that lies just beneath the skin of too many Americans, and turn that fear, hate and suspicion into hard dollars, that then finds its way into the accounts of the conservative lawmakers who do their bidding.
What a machine. It needs to be stopped. Now.