To my NRA Friends

I’m not an NRA member. I don’t own a gun. I never have–though I confess my brother and I executed my sister’s Barbie doll with a pellet gun when we were kids. But I have family and friends who are NRA members.   

We disagree on many issues, including gun control. Still, I suspect that we agree on many more things.

We all want the wealth of our country to produce good jobs, quality education, reliable health care, decent housing, and a clean environment.  We want to be safe and we want to live healthy and prosperous lives. And we want the same for our kids.

 

NRA or not, most of us agree that something is deeply wrong in America.

Many good jobs have disappeared. Kids run up six-figure debt just to get a college degree. Our health insurance is expensive and doesn’t cover much. Too many of us have seen our family finances savaged by whopping medical bills. Our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure are falling apart.

Our elected officials don’t seem to give a damn about us.

Yet, despite all we have in common, we are deeply divided. 

This divide is no accident. The rich and powerful have spent a fortune to get us to hate our fellow Americans. They’ve bought up media outlets and put rabid attack dogs on the air. They’ve created think tanks that produce “learned” studies about how up is down, black is white, and giving massive tax cuts to the rich will magically benefit all of us.

But remember what happened during the last election? We were on the point of coming together. People on the right and the left both came to realize that the 1% control way too much of America’s wealth.

Portrait elderly man Happy to have money, white background
Most Americans came to realize that the richest 1% controlled far too much of America’s wealth

Most of us saw that the rich had rigged the system.  Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump agreed. The nation’s fat cats must have been getting nervous.

Or maybe not. They play the divide and conquer game so well. They know how to manipulate us, distract us, and infuriate us. They make sure that you and I direct our anger at each other, not them.

Guns are an important part of the game, but not the only part. They get us riled up about abortion, gay marriage, immigrants, Planned Parenthood, and transgenders in the bathroom.

It’s not that these issues aren’t important. But we need to realize the rich don’t care about these issues. They care about wealth and power–and they use these issues to keep us from paying attention to how they control America. 

They must laugh at us as they lounge on their yachts and tee off at the country club. They’ve stuffed their pockets with our money, yet you and I are at each other’s throats over these culture war issues–instead of being angry with them.

The rich and powerful have always done this. They whisper in our ears that all our problems are caused by the guy who doesn’t look like us, dress like us, or talk like us. It’s the black guy’s fault! The Mexican! That woman on welfare! The Chinese guy! Those awful Muslims! We take the bait and get distracted from the crimes of the rich.

Now, about the gun debate. What are we really fighting about?   gun with man

I know there are some who want to confiscate all guns. Yet the vast majority of us don’t. If you want to hunt, go for it. If you have a gun to protect your home, fine. But no civilian needs AR-15s–any more than a civilian needs bazookas, tanks, or atom bombs.

The NRA would like you to believe it’s a slippery slope. Once we allow the government to regulate most anything about guns, all guns will be confiscated. They even make the false claim that the Holocaust only happened because Hitler took guns from the Jews. 

The gun lobby gets very rich off guns, and they play the gun control debate like fiddlers. — President Lyndon Johnson

Think how many regulations affect cars and driving. You need a license to drive, you can’t go over the speed limit, you need insurance, you can’t drive on the sidewalk, you can’t drive while intoxicated or while texting, and you’re required to stop at red lights. It’s the nanny state run wild, right?

Though we hate getting tickets, deep down, we’re glad for this regulation. Just imagine how dangerous it would be if drivers were drinking, texting and ignoring stoplights. This strict regulation has been going on for many years, but no one has shown up to confiscate your car.

The NRA USED to be about gun safety. Today, they are about whipping us into a hysteria.   Watch this video of NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch and decide whether this is about the 2nd Amendment–or if it’s trying to stir up hatred of Americans who aren’t like you. 

Then, there’s NRA board member Ted Nugent, who compared multiple groups he opposes to “rabid coyotes.” He urged people to “keep your gun handy” to shoot them on sight. Really, Ted? Has it come to that? You want your allies to shoot anyone who disagrees?

We are all Americans, are we not? 

So we find ourselves screaming at each other–not about our lousy schools, decrepit infrastructure, or the lack of decent jobs–but over guns. Very convenient for the 1%.

I confess to spending too much time on social media where people speak with extreme hatred toward each other. 

Many are downright gleeful when their political opponents are upset–even if they’re upset about something that negatively affects us all. One person quipped that some conservatives would be gleeful watching their own house burn down if the smoke annoyed their liberal neighbors. 

I’ve seen conservatives taunt their liberal adversaries by pointing out that conservatives have the guns, and will win a civil war. Civil war? Didn’t 600,000 die last time we did that? Are they serious?

The NRA puts Dana Loesch in front of the cameras. But behind the scenes, isn’t the NRA really run by gun pushing CEO’s who make many millions off gun sales, but are afraid to show their faces? They lurk in the shadows, sending a gorgeous young woman to speak for them. They play us for fools.

Guys like Smith & Wesson Ceo James Debney, rake in the cash. In 2016, Debney brought home $5.3 million in total compensation. Plus, he realized an additional $16.5 million in value from past stock and option awards.

This isn’t about freedom. This is about dollars. We all walk in fear of getting gunned down by a lunatic with an assault rifle because selling weapons is so very profitable.

The NRA has radically changed from the days when it was about gun safety. Years ago, George Bush Sr., a man no one would call a liberal, resigned from the NRA in disgust. How about you? Is it time you resigned too? 

Thunderbolt

 

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