Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The NRA Has Asperger Syndrome

     Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's syndrome or Asperger disorder, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests - Wikipedia

     Listening to the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre blather on about more guns in the hands of teachers, armed guards in our elementary schools and how video games are to blame, I'm frankly amazed that no one's drawn the connection and accused the NRA of having Asperger Syndrome. After all, their social clumsiness, inability to take social cues from other humans and repetitive behavior and speech are part and parcel to the autism that supposedly afflicted Newtown shooter Adam Lanza.
     Aside from paying what was obviously lip service to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary that saw 20 children aged six and seven and eight adults put into early graves, the NRA stubbornly refuses to meaningfully take some guidance from the unmistakable social cues from even pro-gun conservatives and parents in general. Still, LaPierre blathered on about gun rights and trying to deflect the blame to video games that are played by millions of citizens in many countries that don't blow each other away to the tune of tens of thousands every year as we do.

     They still couldn't get a clue even after learning, as they surely should have, that during LaPierre's presser, a gunman in Pennsylvania was walking up and down a street and randomly shooting at people before he himself was killed by police. The death toll of that spree killing was four, small potatoes, obviously, to an NRA that plainly looks at civilian deaths as acceptable collateral damage regardless of the extreme youth of the victims. It's the fault of Asperger's sufferers, it's the fault of video games, it's the fault of violent movies, it's everyone's fault but their agenda's.
     Five days ago, Slate Magazine did a study to see how many reported gun fatalities that have taken place in the US since Newtown on December 14th. The result was over 120, even though that list is far from exhaustive. Here's another horrifying statistic: According to the Brady Center's website, nearly 100,000 Americans have been shot thus far this year, with, as of this writing, 146 shot today, the day after Christmas, alone.
     The genesis of this ongoing rage against our fellow Americans, obviously, stems from a highly volatile combination of fear and the spiritual Viagra a gun puts in those who hold one, especially for the first time. As Homer Simpson said at a gun shop, "When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power... like God must feel when he's holding a gun."
     And the NRA's stubborn refusal to bend to the changing zeitgeist is very typical of Asperger patients, pathologically repetitive behavior that gives such gems as the answer to gun violence is more guns, which is like pouring gasoline on a fire to douse it. Six days ago, the small town of Harrold, Texas allowed teachers to carry firearms in the schools, a measure that Michigan's viciously right wing governor vetoed at the last minute when the legislature in Lansing voted to do the same. In Newt Gingrich's hometown of Kennesaw, Georgia, it was mandated 30 years ago that its citizens own at least one gun.
     And, despite Newtown and the president's impassioned but typically vague promise to do something about this, nothing significant will change. The media will not undergo a paradigm shift and all mutually promise each other and us that they will stop the fear-mongering. The NRA will not call for stricter gun control measures. We will not stop buying guns and ammo in bulk, especially as the government provides massive loopholes, and is forbidden from tracking firearms sales and likewise is passively watching all this brisk, frenetic activity at gun shops and gun shows and carrying over its gun-walking, Fast and Furious operations onto our soil. We're too entrenched in what passes for our collective belief system, as if we Americans as a whole have Asperger's.
     Waco was brought about when a lunatic leader of an apocalyptic cult known as the Branch Davidians bought so many guns and so much ammo it eventually got the attention of the BATF. After waiting for Koresh and company to stockpile an enormous arsenal and ammo dump, they then knocked on his door and four agents paid for it with their lives. The standoff, and the FBI's botched response, cost many dozens more their lives, including, yes, 20 children (the same student death toll as Newtown) under the age of 18. The siege eventually claimed 80 lives. That was nearly 20 years ago yet we're still hearing about people like the lunatic in Indiana who bought $100,000 of ammunition and nearly four dozen guns and was only turned up and apprehended when he threatened to shoot up an elementary school just two days after the Newtown massacre.
     The government in general and most any administration is typically loathe to federalize laws that apply to all 50 states. But as with gay rights, the minimum wage, judicial sentencing and ALEC-inspired "Stand Your Ground" laws that have virtually become a license to kill, gun control, such as it is, is a patchwork quilt of laws, make believe laws and no laws that varies from state to state. As stated earlier, a small town in Georgia mandates carrying a firearm while New York City, home of some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, has for decades forbidden citizens from owning and carrying guns within city limits.
     Considering that 100,000 Americans get shot and over 30,000 die from gunshots annually, exponentially more than all the other industrialized nations of the world combined, this is one issue on which the federal government should take point and codify at the federal level.

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