The NRA Lies and Americans Die

Before you call him a liberal weenie, this is Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City calling for gun control!

Okay, I promised I’d not say anything more about the Aurora shooting, but the pro-gun cult has been so vociferous they provoked me into another rant.  Let me take you back to 1993, folks, when the Brady Bill was passed, a bill the NRA tried its best to sandbag, but couldn’t. Civics lesson: The Brady Bill is a pathetic and mostly symbolic gun control bill named for Ronald Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, who suffered permanent brain damage when Reagan was shot in 1981. It’s the bill that requires a background check before buying a gun. How horrible! Reality check: It’s way harder to register to vote or get a Social Security card than it is to buy a gun in America.

The Brady Bill was the last time Congress seriously discussed gun control, but let’s put that aside for a math lesson. Can you add these figures? Below is a list of mass killings since the passage of the Brady Bill. The first figure beside each mass shooting is the number of dead, the second the number of wounded. Can you add these figures?

1994            Fairchild Air Force Base, Ark.         5/23
1994            Jonesboro, Ark                                 5/20
1999            Columbine, CO                                 13/21
2002            Beltway sniper                                   11/6
2004            Columbus, OH                                     4/7
2004            Fresno, CA                                           9/0
2005            Red Lake, MN                                    10/5
2006            Univ. of Northern Illinois                     6/21
2006            Amish school, Lancaster Cty.            6/5
2006            Golita, CA Post Office                         5/23
2006            Seattle                                                 7/12
2007            Salt Lake City                                       6/4
2007            Crandon, WI                                          6/11
2007            Westroads Mall, Omaha                      9/4
2007            Virginia Tech                                       32/17
2008            Kirkwood, MO                                        6/2
2008            Covina, CA                                          10/3
2009            Binghamton, NY                                  14/4
2009            Kinston, AL                                           11/6
2009            Carthage, NC                                         8/3
2009            Fort Hood, TX                                       13/29
2010            Appomattox, VA                                     8/0
2011            Carson City, NV                                     5/7
2011            Tuscon, AZ                                             6/13 
2011            Cooley Twp., OH                                   8/1
2012            Oikos Univ. Oakland                             7/3
2012            Aurora, CO                                            12/58

While you’re punching numbers into your calculator, I’ll save you some research. How many of the above incidents saw an alert NRA member jump into the fray and take out the assassin, thereby averting greater carnage? Answer: zero, as in not a damn one of them. If there is a bigger load of hooey than the argument that a gun-packing citizenry making the streets safer, I’ll be hornswoggled if I know what it is. As a historian, though, I recall that the same argument was advanced long ago in places like Tombstone, Arizona and Dodge City. I’ve yet to unearth a document proclaiming them as great places to raise a family.

My take away message from the above list of blood and tragedy is simple. The last time we tried gun control, there was a short period (1995-99) where the mass murder rate declined. But now the NRA is back in the saddle and the blood flows faster than Mitt Romney’s assets to the Cayman Islands. Each time we bury the dead, the NRA tells us to resist gun control because guns make us safer. How’s your math coming along? There’s more evidence to support the theory that Casanova was a virgin than the NRA’s assertion that guns protect us.

So why do we fall for this canard time and time again? What about the old adage that if you keep trying the same old thing and getting the same old result, there’s little likelihood that trying it again will yield a different one? We’ve tried the NRA way and it yields death. If your math looks anything like mine, you might conclude that taking away the guns can’t make it much worse than it already is. The NRA says gun control doesn’t work. I call that hypothetical BS because we’ve never seriously tried it. Fragmentary evidence suggests than even minimal efforts, like the Brady Bill, make some difference. Look, I can’t guarantee you that gun control would make Americans safer, but isn’t it worth testing? If it fails, we can always go back to the way it was and I’ll personally write an apology letter to the NRA and promise never again to refer to it as the Nazi Rifle Association. 

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