Back in the mid-80’s, I was the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing in Atlanta, Georgia. That’s how liberal the paper used to be. Since then, well, today’s Charlotte version has a word or two to say about the NRA. None of them are what you’d call complimentary. “Today’s NRA is a right-wing juggernaut, probably the second most effective right-wing organization in the world, slightly behind Myanmar’s secret police,” John Grooms CLogs (Creative Loafing blog, geddit?). “Congress members are scared to offend the NRA, which continually ups the ante on how much ‘protection’ gun owners are entitled to. Currently, the group is busy defending the rights of terrorists and the criminally insane to buy guns — I wish I were kidding — and trying to convince Virginia’s legislature to allow people with loaded guns to drink in bars. What’s next — a revival of dueling?” It gets better/worse . . .
The NRA’s increased involvement in politics is a big part of how we’ve become a nation that’s armed to the teeth, and where people kill each other at a mind-boggling rate that makes the rest of the world think we’re, well, kinda nuts. The only thing more astonishing about the NRA than its no-limits advocacy for gun ownership is its group members’ absolute refusal to evince common sense and at least admit that there is a correlation between America’s gun possession and murder rates.
I don’t suppose anyone wants to duel with Mr. Grooms. I can’t see the point, really.
I only wish Mr. Grooms could understand that viscous, uninformed sniping at the National Rifle Association—demonizing the NRA—does nothing to bring them closer to the center of the political debate on gun laws, and much to push them farther to the right. Whether it’s from Mr. Nugent or Mr. Grooms, nastiness only helps the ones you hate. If you know what I mean.
The last time the NRA held its convention here, in 2000, NRA President Charlton “Guns ‘n Moses” Heston lifted a reproduction of a Colonial Era musket over his head and declared, “From my cold dead hands!” A couple of weeks later, he put down the gun and headed to alcohol rehab. In 2008, someone apparently took up Heston on his famous Charlotte quote.