The NRA Is Encouraging a Delusional Fantasy
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by #NoRA Action Center | 4.6.18
This content was originally published in Esquire, and is being featured by #NoRA. Read more about this issue, take action above, and contact your lawmakers to continue moving the needle.
As the dust settled Tuesday on a shooting at YouTube's headquarters—while the wounded were taken off to the hospital and police searched for clues—NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch went on NRA-TV to call for calm, rational, and respectful discourse. Just kidding. She played a clip of a witness who said he wished he had a gun, and then looked at the camera and went “Mmm.”
This happens like clockwork now. The NRA, well within the time frame wherein we are not supposed to politicize a tragedy, goes out and suggests that the only answer is moreguns. They will fall back on the absurd notion that only a good guy with a gun could stop a bad guy with a gun. They will find a person who, in the heat of the moment, is entertaining their own childish hero fantasy; they will build a whole policy argument around it, and then they will tell you to stop being so emotional.
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Enough already. Listen: we all want to save the day. Even those of us who have the curious idea that regular people shouldn’t have unfettered access to slaughter machines. Everyone deep down longs to play the hero. If someone came into my office shooting, of course I’d want to reach into my breast pocket, pull out a gun, and deliver that one clean kill shot.
If, for example, I was a young boy who watched both of my parents get robbed and murdered, of course I’d want to grow up, build a high-tech crimefighting control room in a cave, and use my great wealth, martial-arts abilities and genius detective skills to become a masked vigilante who works by night. The problem with this is that it’s a fantasy, it’s for children, and it’s already been rebooted too many times.
NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.
Looking back on a mass shooting and wishing you’d had a gun is natural. It is the life or death version of the French idea of l’esprit de l’escalier, the wit of the staircase, the one devastating conversational clapback you think of five minutes after it would have been useful. We long to recast negative experiences as positive ones with ourselves as the hero. It’s human. It’s also really fucking stupid, and the fact that it’s influencing policy is an embarrassment .
I think of a presidential debate in 1988, in which Michael Dukakis was pushed on his opposition to capital punishment. CNN’s Bernard Shaw asked him whether he would still oppose the death penalty even if his wife Kitty were raped and murdered. He said he would. And it hurt him; viewers found his response cold, dispassionate.But laws shouldn’t reflect passion. Laws should reflect reason. Data shows very clearly that where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths. On the other hand, we have this emotion, this childish fantasy borne out of trauma and impotence. Right now, they’re running about even.
No more. NRA, for once, fuck your feelings.
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