I have noted in past diaries and comments that, at one time, the NRA was an organization that promoted hunting, competitive shooting and gun collecting. But when hunting began to decline in popularity in the late `70s and early `80s as more Americans moved to urban centers, the NRA -- and the gun makers -- shifted their emphasis to a new, more lucrative, market: guns as self-defense.
Not surprisingly, this change in emphasis from a marketing standpoint was accompanied by a state-by-state lobbying effort to permit concealed and open carry of guns. The gun makers desperately needed a new market -- selling handguns and military-style semi-automatic rifles -- and the NRA was only too happy to do their bidding.
And what's the best way to sell guns as necessary tools for self-defense? Ratchet up the fear, of course!
The one-two punch of selling fear and lobbying for the carrying of weapons to counter these "threats" has been incredibly successful. The rhetoric of fear and accompanying advertising that plays into that fear have done their job. The gun manufacturers are making more money than ever.
Just this past Friday at the NRA's annual convention, Wayne LaPierre played his usual fear card (with its underlying current of racism):
"We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and carjackers and knockout gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all. I ask you. Do you trust this government to protect you? We are on our own."After all, when all those threats LaPierre laundry-listed have guns, the only answer is -- SURPRISE! -- more guns!
The NRA and the gun makers have been selling that paranoid vision of America for three decades now. Their target market, mainly white men, has been receptive.
In fact, this rhetoric gets repeated at Daily Kos by a number of gun rights proponents, particularly those who argue most vociferously for concealed and/or open carry of weapons. I have read dozens of comments by Daily Kos gun proponents that echo LaPierre's words of fear.
Here are a few... (I will not provide links.)
this is why I drive the car I driveThe similarities in worldview between LaPierre's rhetoric and this Daily Kos comment are unmistakeable and striking. I'll be honest, I find it hard to imagine going through life feeling like I needed to drive a police-looking vehicle while carrying a loaded firearm to protect my family from some perceived danger. And I have lived in urban areas most of my life.
My car is apparently a police car -- it's a 2012 Dodge Charger pursuit model, white with black steelies and a spotlight -- even though I'm not a cop: I bought it because I really wanted its combination of looks, power and handling. People do not tend to start shit with occupants of such vehicles. It's fast enough to get away from almost anything (although a fast motorcycle could probably catch it) and tough enough to push my way through most anything.
And, if that wasn't adequate to get my family out of a situation like that... well, this is why I carry the gun I carry, a 10mm Glock 29. If I can't run, I can stand my ground pretty fucking well. I'm an expert at avoiding trouble, and I'm perfectly willing to run away to avoid a confrontation, but I know that I'd have used the gun if my family was in that kind of danger. (I'm an ex-cabbie, so the body count from the Dodge would have been pretty high too).
And, because the Glock wouldn't be available to help us in New York City, we stay out of New York City (and New Jersey, and Maryland) as much as possible.
This comment shows just how successful the gun industry and the NRA have been at getting people to internalize the fear, most of which carries with it an undercurrent of racism. (Scary cities full of scary people.)
Here's another pair of comments from a vocal gun proponent here about the dangers of U.S. cities:
you're pretty much right about being nervous of
city. I have friends who buy handguns and say it's for going to Denver. We are multi colored throughout the greater metro area so no real parts of town by ethnicity. Central Denver just sees a lot more murders but to tell you the truth I don't think about it much. Murder does seem to follow poverty.
I just about never go there. Nothing for me. No place to park. Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, all nice cities, US, not so much.
I don't like US cities because they suck. Boring, dangerous, dirty, full of angry people. Most countries do cities better than the US.People buying handguns for "going to Denver?" U.S. cities are "boring, dangerous, dirty, full of angry people?" Really?
I don't know about other urban dwellers here, but that is certainly not my experience in Chicago, New York, Denver, San Francisco or Los Angeles (among the cities in which I spend time). In fact, I seem to find nice people wherever I go, whether in urban America or in rural America. But if I internalized the rhetoric of Wayne LaPierre, maybe I'd feel the need to carry a gun in urban environments, too.
Other gun toters here have expressed similar sentiments about major U.S. cities... You know, the places where most of us live.
Then there's LaPierre's stoking of fear with his "your on your own" rhetoric:
I ask you. Do you trust this government to protect you? We are on our own.This thinking gets repeated here, as well:
And here is the crux of the problem with some ofOr this:
the restrictions that have been proposed. They also accomplish putting the law abiding, responsible citizen at a severe disadvantage. The citizen will have to face the criminal on the streets and in their own homes. When the criminal attacks, the entire encounter is typically over in a matter of seconds. Police response, under the best of circumstances is still several minutes.
The Second Amendment has almost nothing to do with hunting or target shooting. It has to do with being able to possess the means to defend your home or to fight against an oppressive government. That means being able to lay down some fire and not having to stop to reload while you are being overrun.Yes, I don't want to have to stop to reload when I'm being overrun.
Perhaps I should just be grateful that my family and I have managed to survive another day in this urban hell, given all the horrific threats it poses.
I guess we're just lucky.
I urge everyone to read james321's diary just above mine to see the NRA's latest fear-stoking propaganda about "scary" urban environments.