Six Taliban militants killed 145 people and injured another 100 on December 16th in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. The dead included 132 children, 10 staff school members and three soldiers. CNN.com reported:
“Seventh-grader Mohammad Bilal said he was sitting outside his classroom taking a math test when the gunfire erupted. He fell into bushes before running to the school’s gates to safety. Ahmed, the 14-year-old student, remembered being in the school’s auditorium when four or five people burst in through a back door “and started rapidly firing.” After getting shot in his left shoulder, the ninth-grader lay under a bench.
Bajwa told reporters that Pakistani security forces reached the school 15 minutes after the attack began.
They found, he said, “the children … drenched in blood, with their bodies on top of each other.”
As horrific as this story is, it really shouldn’t surprise Americans. After all, we had 26 children gunned down at Sandy Hook and yet our leaders were unable to enact any sort of meaningful legislation to ensure more gun safety. Since the tragedy in Newtown, there have been 74 more school shootings resulting in 38 deaths and 53 injuries. In general, 282 people are shot each day in the U.S. – that’s almost 12 an hour.
The fact that not even the Sandy Hook tragedy lessened the seemingly stranglehold the National Rifle Association (NRA) has on our leaders at all levels, has led me to begin to think of the NRA as the American Taliban. I’m quite sure that just as we look at the Taliban in Pakistan with total dismay for the killing of 145 innocents, other countries around the world look at us and think how crazy we are to continue to accept death after preventable death. After all, per the Brady Campaign, “our firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.”
I’m okay with gun ownership, but believe your right to own, carry and use does not trump my right to feel safe. Truth is, I don’t feel safe in a public place with civilians openly carrying guns. I know how to use guns, and I qualified as “Expert” during my 22 years in the Air Force. There is a time and place for guns however and I don’t think that includes the grocery store, library, school, etc. It also doesn’t include automatic weapons with extended clips. And it surely doesn’t include allowing nine year olds to fire weapons they are not equipped to handle.
We know what we need to do to improve gun safety. Many Americans want it done. Those who don’t, have been convinced by the NRA that ANY safeguards put in place are just a toe in the door to ban guns all together. That’s just B.S. Gun ownership is a constitutional right. But, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are also important principals to Americans. Unfortunately, until we realize the NRA is out to protect their own interests (money and power) versus those of American citizens, they will continue to be major players.
I often see NRA stickers on people’s cars indicating they are proud of their membership in this organization. Along with the NRA stickers, will often be military stickers, or US flags or something about patriotism. I’ve got news for those folks. Being a member of the NRA does not make them patriots. It is more akin to their worshipping a false idol. I view the NRA organization as domestic terrorists. Just like the Taliban, they build their power base through fear and intimidation. Just like the Taliban, they claim they have a higher purpose, but the truth is, they want power and money. Just like the Taliban, there is probably no negotiating with them because they don’t ever operate in good faith. And just like the Taliban, they don’t care how many innocent people are killed to maintain their power base and achieve their goals.
I urge patriotic Americans to drop their membership in the NRA. Take a stand today that the status quo they’ve been perpetuating is unacceptable and we want common sense gun safety enacted. Do it for yourself, for your family and for your country!
I wish we could build momentum toward changing NRA’s hold on American politics as well as debunk, as you say, that gun ownership and patriotism are tied together. And let’s share what we have to say. I also wrote about the NRA on my blog. http://pattialbaugh.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/the-n-r-a-i-knew-and-want-back/