A country like the USA born and brought up in blood is, of late, paying a heavy price for the culture it has imbibed. The latest well-planned and perfectly executed mass killings in Las Vegas by a maniac hold mirror to the American society.
One would be shocked to see the defence of the National Rifle Association (NRA) against laws that prefer gun control or ban. The NRA not just promotes gun sale, it tells the prospective buyers what to buy and where to buy. It also tells them how to shoot and shoot effectively to kill. It tells them the cost of killings and offers insurance schemes for the same.
It lists the history of guns in America and the technological developments in making the weapons. It offers membership to the people who buy weapons and trains them in improving their skills. It tells you how to handle the weapon, how to stand and shoot and how to sit and shoot i.e., the entire posture of gun-wielding.
Well, no doubt, it is gun culture in America. It is given a cultural gamut to it by the NRA to make one proud of owning weapons. And above all, it frowns upon the very idea of opposing the gun culture.
Even the latest issue of NRA America's 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the NRA, an argument has been put forth by the Executive Vice-President of the association, Wayne LaPierre, lashed out at those calling NRA racist.
Referring to the criticism of a CBS news anchor that NRA was racist, LaPierre said, "at a time when the doors of many newsrooms were sealed against employment of people of colour, membership in the NRA was wide open to all.” He goes on to defend his claim by citing examples of how blacks, Hispanics and African Americans had become members of the association to protect their lives.
His convoluted argument further says that the very foundation of the association in 1871 was laid by men who were deeply committed to ending the vestiges of slavery and to seeking equal rights for all. He goes ahead to cite the names of Charlton Heston and Roy Innis, some of the great names involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
"Heston marched in Selma, Ala., and in Washington, D.C., arm-in-arm with Dr Martin Luther King, who was a gun owner who knew the sting of racist gun control. Heston was a man not just touched by that history, but immersed in it. He lived and breathed civil liberties.
He understood better than anyone the NRA’s role as the oldest civil rights organization in the nation. With our unyielding dedication to preserving the Second Amendment, the NRA has long been fighting the covert racism of "gun control." Even today in some cities, gun banners target Hispanics and African-Americans.
Innis, who headed the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) as a civil rights pioneer in the 1960s, was a staunch Second Amendment supporter, serving for 25 years as an NRA director until his death in January this year. His son, Niger, carries on in his footsteps."
The message is loud and clear. Is it not so? And it says, gun control is racism for the NRA, not the gun culture. Opposing guns means being racist and it is anti-minorities.
The association with its unyielding dedication to preserving the Second Amendment, has long been fighting the "covert racism of gun control.” Even today in places like Chicago and D.C.— where the Supreme Court’s will on the Second Amendment is ignored — the targets of the gun banners are good and honest inner-city residents who are the victims of unchecked armed violence: Hispanics and African-Americans and hence guns are OK, it maintains.
Recalling the life of Otis McDonald, the lead plaintiff in the US Supreme Court case that knocked down Chicago's gun ban in 2010, the NRA keeps arguing that life would be difficult for the inner-city residents, all decent ones and who are helpless, without possessing gun and without carrying it throughout the country.
It is standing up for the rights that had been taken away from African-Americans during slavery, and it continues to defend its position. But is it really so? Who were those who enslaved the blacks and eliminated the natives from the land? Is it not the very ones who are gunning down people? If the NRA claims are true why do the American police officers, mostly white, shoot down African-Americans on the streets terming them 'armed suspects' for no reason at all?
For that matter, Otis described himself as possessed by the spirit of all those black slaves of the slavery time against whom wrongs were perpetrated in defending his right to carry weapons. "Just as people of colour were denied the right to vote, they were denied the right to keep and bear arms – and with it, the right to protect themselves, their families and their communities," Otis further says in his defence, and the NRA makes this argument its fulcrum to spread the gun culture.
But are the blacks and Hispanics feeling safe in Trumpland now? Why are people still seeking liberty marching on the streets instead of buying guns? Or don't they have guns at all? And all those victims of Las Vegas and Orlando… don't they have guns? Why is the NRA not bothered about their right to life?
It is also strange that the NRA repeatedly refers to the rights of Hispanics, African-Americans and minorities citing their rights. Just recall, Trump's campaign during elections and the stand of the supremacists of the country and all those who talked about ethnic cleansing. Are the minorities really safe in the dreamland?
In 1975 when the US authorities decided to impose federal gun controls, NRA again described this as a threat to the peaceful citizens. It was angry with the move and slammed the government for being more concerned with the lawfully armed citizens than illegally armed criminals.
If that was a genuine concern, the NRA should explain how are the arms reaching the hands of the criminals and who is to control it if there are no multiple laws to control gun culture. It is a well-known fact that anyone could buy weapons in the US without as much as a licence or certification. Secondly, there is no track of the number of weapons being bought by one as is evident in the case of Las Vegas attack.
When the arguments against gun culture reached the Capitol Hill, the NRA changed the discourse converting the same into a debate on the rights of poor Hispanics, African-Americans and other minorities. Such is the hypocrisy of the NRA and Americans.
The NRA has beautifully written an obituary to reason and sanity thus: "In our 146-year history, open doors for minorities, and defense of our common rights, has been at the center of the NRA’s existence. For all Americans—especially minorities who are the victims of crime—the NRA is America’s safest place.”
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul says the fifth thing necessary in spiritual warfare is to put on the helmet of salvation. So, the full armour of god includes integrity, purity, serenity, certainty and sanity. He further says "if you don’t believe the world is going insane, just pick up the paper. People are doing all sorts of crazy — insane — things. People are mixed up about right and wrong, good and evil. They’re flipping everything around and saying just the opposite".
How true it is of the Americans today!