The tyranny of the NRA

Wayne LaPierre is the ghoulish guest who shows up after each of America’s mass shootings

The author is a retired community college instructor.

The indispensable Wayne LaPierre, the ghoul who has headed up the NRA since 1978, said last week that people who argue for gun control “hate individual freedom.” LaPierre shows up after every mass shooting to remind us that the problem of gun deaths has nothing to do with guns.

He’s “indispensable” because the American ritual of gun violence wouldn’t be complete without one of his ugly pronouncements following each big bloodletting. He crawls out from under his rock to tell us guns are indispensable to our way of life, the price we pay for “individual freedom.” He’s the ghoul who has enriched himself by wading through the blood after every shooting to preach the gospel of guns, a gospel more sacred than the lives of children. The freedom of individual teachers to do their jobs without fear of being shot by unstable people who have such unfettered access to semi-automatic weaponry is a dispensable freedom, apparently.

LaPierre shows up whenever the death count is high enough or the victims young enough to pierce through the public numbness about this insanity. Got dead kids? Here comes ol’ Wayne LaPierre to fart at the memorial service, to piss in the punch bowl at the wake, a ghoulish guest at our recurring nightmare.

I must “hate individual liberty” because I would restrict the sale of semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 that ended the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of 17 people, mostly kids, in Parkland, Fla. I would initiate a buy-back program to get those guns out of circulation. That would be much cheaper than Donald Trump’s insane idea of arming roughly three-quarters of a million teachers throughout the land. Trump, recipient of $21 million in NRA cash, isn’t part of the solution, of course. He’s part of the problem.

In the NRA fever dream, “individual freedom” means we must accept and normalize the daily fear that kids, teachers, parents, concert-goers, movie audiences, church congregations and damned near everyone in this benighted nation must endure. American exceptionalism is nowhere more exceptional than in our exceptional tolerance of such madness.