Good old Charlton Heston and the NRA's executive vice-president Wayne La Pierre are back playing at their cowboy best in the NRA's latest fund raising letter. The letter claims that, "Time is short ... I am counting on you, as a gun owner and a patriotic, law-abiding American, to accept your place in the history of freedom by joining the NRA." In particular, he wants to expose the media because, the letter claims, "Instead of doing their homework, and giving the real facts about guns and crime, the national media has simply repeated the lies put forth by the gun-ban lobby!" (2)
Let's see if I have all of this correct, now. Only patriotic Americans join the NRA and will take their place in history, leaving the vast majority of Americans apparently having to labor under the title "unpatriotic" but having no blood on their hands from the thousands of human beings murdered every year in American by the NRA's cherished guns. Next, the lies are only coming from the gun-ban lobby but Charlie and Wayne will provide the truth directly from the Mount, probably in the form of ten commandments for arming the nation. Just two of the "lies" from the anti-guns for everyone lobby are that, 1) every single day of the year, thirteen children are murdered by guns across the nation (3) and, 2) every year, an average of 2533 children between the ages of 0 - 14 are murdered by handguns, another 1034 commit suicide with handguns and over 2,000 more children are killed by accident or the intention on the killing was undetermined for a yearly total of 15 children dying every single day just between the ages of 0-14 (4). I suppose that people like Heston and his little band of gun lovers only consider these deaths a cost of their right to own as many guns as they can possibly afford with as little restriction and regulation as they can convince their property in government to provide. As I have said repeatedly, I have owned guns and I believe that we do have the right to own them but the fanatical way that the NRA tries to keep guns as easy to purchase as candy bars is a sick and disgusting pursuit.
At least the Republican Party has finally recognized the deep errors that their supplication before the alter of NRA contribution money has caused. An unnamed GOP campaign consultant admitted that "This shooting (in Columbine) is different than all the other shootings. Now you have to acknowledge that there has to be a better way to keep guns out of the hands of children." The GOP has even reversed their stance on regulating sales at gun shows and enforcing the registration and background check now required everywhere else. While the Republicans worry that their right wing fanatic base will greatly resent this move, they also realize that they must begin to act in some far more intelligent way in order to attract the more human-like citizens who vote for more moderate and caring candidates. (5)
Now, what I must ask is just exactly how is the murder of thirteen children in Littleton any different than the thirteen daily deaths of children across this nation? Was it only because this slaughter focused the nation's attention on thirteen dead but the media refuses to accurately report the body count everywhere else? Is this just another public relations effort by a political party who has perfected the art of diverting the nation's attention from what is important by pretending to act until the lights go out and cameras are removed and then they can go back to business as usual, knowing that the average American can't exceed about a fifteen second attention span? Finally, will this move towards more restrictions on gun sales benefit America in that the fanatical gun lovers will support only the extreme right candidates which will split the Republican's support base, helping the Democrats and, with any luck, more third party candidates come into office who will move this nation away the far right precipice that we teeter so close to? We can only hope for the latter.
Now for truly hallucinogenic news from the March 3, 1999 issue of the Christian Science Monitor. The economic inequality that has grown to such disgusting proportions in America has now been explained. It seems that the growing economic gap isn't the fault of Corporate America and its insatiable appetite for creating far more minimum wage jobs with zero benefits that any decent jobs with a living wage but, instead, we have to look no further than the workers who didn't get into college and were forced into those extremely low wage jobs. Those not earning a college degree, the story tells, results in the fact that "one-third of the country's 18 - 24 year olds - the unskilled who don't go on to college - are not only being left behind, they're actually doing worse economically than they were 10 years ago." Now gentle readers, one small fact that this piece ignored, probably because it would have made a joke out the rest of the article, is that it is true that entry-level wages for men with only a high school diploma have fallen behind, when adjusted for inflation, by about 10% in the past ten years. It is also true that even the entry-level wages for men with college degrees have fallen behind by 8%. All this silly article proves is that the only way to place the blame for poverty and low wage jobs anywhere other than on Corporate America's sick greed is to manipulate the facts and just ignore whatever doesn't fit the predetermined conclusion. (6 & 7)
Finally, a conversation between Robert Novak, not known for his intelligence in the first place, and Rep. Bernie Frank reveals the sad state that even our political talking heads have sunk in regards to their knowledge of the basic documents that our nation was founded on. Novak, in an awe inspiring performance of stupidity, stated, "I was reading the Constitution the other day, and I found in it an injunction to protect the people of the country on the national defense. I didn't find anything in there about education. I didn't find anything in there about old people's prescriptions. I didn't find anything in there about hungry children. Did you - do you have some invisible writing in the Constitution?" (8)
Well, Mr. Novak, since Rep. Frank was so taken aback by your inane question and didn't have time to fully answer the query, I'll be happy to explain exactly where you should have looked before you exposed your true lack of knowledge. In fact, I'll quote the entire section, known as the Preamble to the Constitution, so that you won't have to worry your furrowed brow by having to actually look for it.
"We, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." (9)
Maybe it's time Mr. Novak just left the rest of the educated Americans alone and allowed someone with more wisdom and understanding the opportunity to speak out on important national issues on television.
Well, there you have just a few of the outrages that are being inflicted on the American people. You can rest assured that I will be out here watching for more and reporting them to you. That's our jobs, it seems. I wade through the sewers of American life looking for the offensive or the ridiculous or the just plain stupid. You read them and take action through your conversations and letters and e-mail and votes. As depressing as my part is, I can't stop searching for these items and I am thrilled to have this forum to share them with you. I hope we're both enjoying our parts in the daily drama that is America.
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