When the NRA announced earlier this week that a major statement about the Connecticut school massacre was scheduled for today, I was intrigued. An event like that has the capacity to shock the conscience of even the most cynical political operative. I had hoped that perhaps the massacre of 20 children could allow the NRA to see past their ideology and call for meaningful reforms, or at the very least allow the NRA to become a useful part of the conversation. Sadly, I was wrong.
Today, the NRA took its time in the national spotlight to call for… guns in schools. To be fair, they did call for, ‘the good guys’ to have those guns. That idea may or may not be a good idea; each school district must decide what security measures are reasonable given their situation. However, the unwillingness of the NRA to take a wider view, specifically the preposterously high murder rates in the United States, is incredibly disappointing.
School shootings and other massacres are devastating. They stick in our minds. The thousands of other murders that occur around us are more easily dismissed, but they should not be ignored. The NRA had the opportunity and responsibility to speak about the larger issues at hand: mental health, access to assault rifles, high capacity magazines, our violent culture, but completely ignored their responsibility to do so.
This statement shows that the NRA is truly part of the problem, not the solution. They have no interest in negotiating in good faith. They have no interest in adding serious ideas on how to make us safer. They are stuck in a fantasy land, where utopia can be attained through the barrel of a gun.
Unfortunately, this is a time where we need them to lead. We need the gun lobby to offer good ideas in order to ensure gun owners rights are not infringed upon. We need them to be productive members of our society, trying to fix problems. We’re not going to get it. All we are going to see from them is more ideology, not solutions.
In the minutes following this debacle of a statement, David Frum simply tweeted, “Conservatism truly is broken.” I couldn’t agree more.