A day late and a dollar short best describes the National Rifle Association’s inept response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. As the nation’s most powerful defender of the second amendment (the right to bear arms), the NRA displayed cowardly silence for more than a week following the shooting. Then four days before Christmas, the NRA held ghoulish 30-minute press conference America would have been better off never witnessing.
Contrary to the banners held up by protesters at the event that read “ the NRA kills children,” it doesn’t but the NRA does do VERY bad public relations. Replete with the grandeur of a presidential like set, the NRA’s press conference unfolded like theatre of the absurd with the wrong message and messenger. Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre delivered robotic remarks worthy of a Grinch or similar soulless character.
While there were elements in LaPierre's 30-minute diatribe that made sense, those comments were overpowered by nonsense: blaming gun violence on video games and Hollywood. Sigh. Video games like Kindergarten Killers are “callous” and part of an industry that “sows, violence against its own people,” LaPierre noted. But one could argue those who “occasionally” sell guns to individuals (possible criminals) at gun shows or private sellers of guns, both of whom are not required under federal law to conduct background checks on buyers, are also conduits of the same violence.
When Wayne blamed “the blood soaked slasher films” for the carnage Lanza wrought, America’s eyes rolled. His equating gun violence depicted in movies “with the filthiest form of pornography” to describe another factor fueling violence in America and responsible for the Sandy Hook murders was distasteful.
Boys are killing due to a lack of parenting and our nation’s under diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Kids can’t play video games unless parents buy them nor can they watch violent films unless parents allow them or buy their tickets. Moreover, and most importantly, when parents are spending time with their children teaching them life is precious and guns kill when used by bad guys or handled improperly, kids don’t kill. This would have been a message in tune with the moment for LaPierre to share with America.