One of the most powerful pieces of feature journalism I’ve read in a long time is on the front-page of Sunday’s New York Times. It’s the first chapter in a series by Mike McIntire--who’s now obviously on a beeline to the annual Pulitzer finals--on “the gun industry's influence and the wide availability of firearms in America,” titled: “Selling a New Generation on Guns.” I’ll get to this “must-read” in a few paragraphs, but I’m going to “get a little tangential” first.
Question: If there’s a national protest against gun violence, and it’s not covered on Daily Kos, does that mean it doesn’t matter?
I’ve got to ask: What’s going on here?
Unless I’m missing something (and I hope I have), there wasn’t a single mention (please, tell me this isn’t so, and I’ll remove this section of this post) in this community regarding THIS national story, yesterday: Co-sponsored by the Washington Arena Stage and “One Million Moms for Gun Control,” thousands of protestors against gun violence filled Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C.; and according to Reuters, “…One Million Moms organized similar events on Saturday in about a dozen cities, including San Francisco and Austin, Texas.”
WASHINGTON | Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:37pm ESTElsewhere in Washington, less than 48 hours earlier, as fellow Kossack Meteor Blades informed us: “Sen. Feinstein's assault weapons ban will face stiff resistance from some elected Democrats.”
(Reuters) - Thousands of marchers rallied in Washington in favor of gun control on Saturday, including residents of Newtown, Connecticut, where a mass elementary school shooting reignited the U.S. gun violence debate.
Speakers - including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, lawmakers and actors - urged the protesters carrying such signs as "What Would Jesus Pack?" to lobby Congress and state legislators to back gun control measures…
"…This is about gun responsibility. This is about gun safety. This is about fewer dead Americans, fewer dead children, fewer children living in fear," Duncan said.
Organizers backed President Barack Obama's call for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and background checks for all gun sales. They also urged safety training for all buyers of firearms.
Marchers stretched for several blocks along Constitution Avenue as they approached the rally site in the shadow of the Washington Monument…
As One Million Moms’ protestor Amy Journo, a Newtown, CT resident with two sons, five and seven years old, who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School, noted in the Reuters story (linked and excerpted above):
"It's difficult to get laws changed when politicians are bought out, but we have to start somewhere…I want to ensure that they (children) are safer, not just my children but all across the United States."And, this quote brings us (back) full-circle to Mike McIntire’s stunning feature story in Sunday’s NY Times.
As you’ll learn in the article--god forbid, if anyone was ever going to walk into an elementary school classroom with an assault weapon again—if the Newtown, CT-based National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has their way, eight-year-olds throughout America will be fully proficient with firearms, up to and including semi-automatic assault weapons; and, they’ll have the knowledge and skills necessary to take the shooter out!
I mean, “seriously!” Why waste taxpayer money on training educators how to handle guns, when you may accomplish the same end result by encouraging the parents of students in the second grade to pay for their kids to learn how to handle AR-15s and semi-automatic pistols, instead?
Apparently, as we learn in today’s NYT, this is the logic behind the NSSF’s “First Shots” program. And then, as it’s explained in Mike McIntire’s piece, you’ll learn more about folks like, “Larry Potterfield, the founder of MidwayUSA, one of the nation’s largest sellers of shooting supplies… who said his own children started shooting ‘boys’ rifles’ at age 4, getting young people engaged with firearms — provided they have the maturity and the physical ability to handle them — strengthens an endangered American tradition.”
You’ll also read about “Junior Shooters, an industry-supported magazine that seeks to get children involved in the recreational use of firearms, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. At the end of an accompanying article that extolled target shooting with a Bushmaster AR-15 — an advertisement elsewhere in the magazine directed readers to a coupon for buying one — the author encouraged youngsters to share the article with a parent.”
“Who knows?” it said. “Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!”And, then there’s this gem from Junior Shooters’ editor Andy Fink, who…
… acknowledged in an editorial that some of his magazine’s content stirred controversy.(Bold type is diarist’s emphasis.)
“I have heard people say, even shooters that participate in some of the shotgun shooting sports, such things as, ‘Why do you need a semiautomatic gun for hunting?’ ” he wrote. But if the industry is to survive, he said, gun enthusiasts must embrace all youth shooting activities, including ones “using semiautomatic firearms with magazines holding 30-100 rounds.”
In an interview, Mr. Fink elaborated. Semiautomatic firearms are actually not weapons, he said, unless someone chooses to hurt another person with them, and their image has been unfairly tainted by the news media. There is no legitimate reason children should not learn to safely use an AR-15 for recreation, he said.
You really need to read McIntire’s entire article to get a sense of the truly savage, capitalistic nature of the matter.
In the meantime, speaking of capitalism and money, here’s the link to make a donation to “One Million Moms for Gun Control!”