Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. (BillMoyers.com/Photo by Rodney Dunning/Flickr CC 2.0)

Shame the gun militants

Media: Follow the power down to the people

Jeffrey Denny

America’s gun massacre crisis is not just about the spineless, craven Republicans.

Or the shameless Fox News and its right-wing broadcast and online ilk grasping for audience and snickering all the way to the bank.

Or the slimy, cynical, heartless gun industry, lobby and PR spinners, also putting lucre over lives.

Or the permissive decaying society, violent video games, mental illness, lack of school security, godlessness, toxic masculinity or emasculation, or fallout from Covid.

It’s not even only about the guns, or our gun culture.

The NRA was right: Guns don’t kill, people do.

And the people I mean aren’t only the shooters.

They’re a minority of Americans, mostly in Trump states, who control our nation’s gun policy: the gun militants. People who not only reject any new sensible gun rules, they want current rules repealed. They demand complete freedom to amass any arsenal of any guns they want, carry them anywhere at any time, and play deadly judge and jury as they see fit.

You’ve seen their representatives toting AR-15s at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, invading the Michigan Capitol to fight Covid safety measures, aiming at peaceful BLM protestors in St. Louis (and appearing as heroes at the 2020 Republican National Convention), and committing mass shootings.

Nothing personal, but gun militants are not the most sensitive, sensible or smartest people in America, whatever their education.

— Not if they won’t even think about rational limits such as background checks, red-flag laws, or banning military-grade weapons favored by mass shooters, but believe all limits lead to banning guns.

— Not if they believe they need guns to fight Socialist government tyranny.

— Not if they declare they need guns to protect their guns.

— Not if they need guns to protect against immigrants and urban minorities who they’re led to believe all have guns and are gunning for them.

— And not if they believe AR-15s are needed to protect their homes, families and selves, which never happens in real life.

These folks have hearts and minds like a bulletproof vest.

Proven facts and appeals to compassion and reason just bounce off.

— They refuse to see how their gun rights flood tough communities with cheap and illegal guns.

— They believe the Second Amendment is absolute (unlike all the other amendments), a notion so stupid even the staunch conservative Supreme Court originalist, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, rejected it.

— They parrot GOP, NRA, MAGA media and gun industry talking points, and whatever’s on their antisocial media that girds their beliefs.

— They praise the Lord and yet amass the ammunition, which is not what Jesus would want.

— And they insist their gun rights trump everyone else’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, including not getting shot at school, church, or the grocery store.

You wouldn’t want anyone this reckless, misguided and addle-brained piloting your airliner, controlling our nuclear arsenal, or even fixing your plumbing.

Yet here we are.

Decades of Republican hook and crook have empowered this confederacy of dunces (apologies to Ignatius O’Reilly) to shoot down America’s overwhelming demand for tighter gun laws to curb the senseless deaths.

Yet mainstream, professional journalism seems to tiptoe around the gun militants or let them off scot-free, and blame everyone else.

“Follow the money” has been a basic rule of journalism since before the Watergate scandal, 50 years ago. “Follow the power” is especially critical today as our republic is controlled by a regressive minority that’s unfit to govern, often their own lives if you follow the J6 rioters, yet is dictating our politics and policies.

But journalists — reporters and commentators — seem unwilling to put the blame for the epidemic of gun massacres where it belongs. They seem handcuffed by the time-honored purpose that wins Pulitzer Prizes, to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Which means, stand for the little fellers against the powerful Rockefellers.

The gun crisis has complicated things, because the Rockefellers and the little fellers have joined in common cause against gun limits.

Maybe it’s easier to blame GOP politicians than the people who empower them. Maybe it’s more satisfying to blame Fox & Fiends than their loyal viewers. Maybe educated journalists pity the poor slobs who don’t know any better.

But that’s elite patronizing condescension, a head-patting there-there, bless the gun militant’s hearts, they don’t know any better.

Gun militants do know better.

They say so with righteous venom online, with insults and death threats to anyone who dares to disagree.

Gun militants declare that freedom is not free; it requires sacrifice. But they never do. Few if any are slaughtered in gun massacres. It seems they don’t care how many children need to die for their gun rights. They’re classic cowardly chicken hawks, sitting home watching fellow Americans sacrifice for their important beliefs.

Perhaps gun militants are beyond shaming. But let’s give it a shot.

Call them out and hold them accountable for how they’re hurting their fellow Americans and the country they supposedly love more than anyone. Ask them please to put country, and children, over self.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.

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