We have long since passed the point when everyone should head to a time-out chair of their own and think before they speak.
That may be asking too much, though.
One of the most divisive issues in today’s political climate is the right to bear arms, especially in light of recent school shootings. Too many on the Left yell “repeal the Second Amendment!” with no consideration for the millions upon millions of law-abiding firearm owners in the United States.
These citizens are not responsible for gun violence. Neither are those who claim membership in the National Rifle Association.
Unfortunately, the NRA often leans toward PR campaigns that cause more division. We’ve seen this in their marketing, videos, speeches, and the like. Recently, Oliver North, who is to take over as the organization’s president in the coming weeks, contributed to the division with statements about those in the gun control camp.
“They call them activists. That’s what they’re calling themselves. They’re not activists — this is civil terrorism. This is the kind of thing that’s never been seen against a civil rights organization in America,” he said.
“You go back to the terrible days of Jim Crow and those kinds of things — even there you didn’t have this kind of thing,” he said. “We didn’t have the cyberwar kind of thing that we’ve got today.”
As my colleague Jim Jamitis wrote, this is not helpful.
In terms of influencing public opinion, white people who represent traditionally Republican causes likening themselves to blacks during the fight for civil rights is something should only be done…well…never. Even if the nature of the struggle is technically similar (i.e. stopping government from depriving individuals of civil rights), that sort of rhetoric is only going to win you points with some of your base.
In an attempt to counter North’s language, former DNC chairwoman, and U.S. Representative for Florida, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, spewed forth her own brand of foolishness, emphasis mine.
“The NRA is kind of just shy of a terrorist organization,” Schultz told HuffPost. “They have done everything they can to perpetuate the culture of violence that we have in our country with the spread of assault weapons across the nation.”
“People that are dying as a result of the infection that is the spread of assault weapons thanks to the NRA are being murdered in cold blood without any cessation or interest on the part of the NRA to do anything about it.”
Clearly, we’ve arrived at peak stupidity where everyone is a terrorist. What a nice change of pace from “you’re Hitler!” At least both sides are mixing things up.
This shouldn’t need to be said, but the NRA is not a terrorist organization. They don’t “perpetuate gun violence.” The armed criminals who commit these heinous acts and take innocent lives are to blame. The NRA has no connection to any of these murders. I am not personally associated with the NRA, but last I heard, card-carrying members don’t receive weekly kill lists from the higher-ups. If you listen to delusional individuals like Schultz, though, you might think that was the case.
It’s difficult to have any sort of meaningful conversation about guns when both sides label their opponents as ‘terrorists’ or ‘just shy of a terrorist organization’ in an attempt to fire up those of like-mind. Where do you go from there? There is no coming back from that label. Furthermore, can you imagine how Americans who have lost family members and friends to actual terrorism feel? What a slap in the face when you hear North and Schultz trade jabs with the anchor of terrorism as a keyword.
How utterly asinine.
Frankly, I get annoyed by both sides in the gun debate. I strongly support the Second Amendment and believe it should be protected. I also support the First Amendment even when someone utters the kind of lunacy we see above.
If those on both the gun rights and gun control side wish to have serious discussions about the state of things, they should tone down their respective rhetorics.
As of right now, it’s not looking good.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.