Six years ago, I sent this letter to the editor:
“I joined the NRA today. I’m an unlikely member because I neither own a gun nor want one. But I’m increasingly concerned that the rhetoric, the policies, the media messaging, the politics and the money managed by this incredibly powerful organization may get me, or someone close to me, killed — literally.
The NRA’s stated intent is to “protect our second amendment rights” to carry firearms for self-protection. But the juggernaut of fear it pours forth, which has led to near-zero regulation of firearms, is having disastrous consequences for public safety, mine included.
The NRA posits that we have the right to have a gun with us at all times, in all places, should we have need of it. So, very soon I fear, that’s what we’ve got: Dodge City, everyone with a gun strapped to their thigh. I believe its “no compromise” policy on any comprehensive gun legislation must be tempered if we are to have a civil society. I support whole-heartedly the NRA’s gun safety programs and emphasis, but I believe thoughtful gun enthusiasts and those concerned with not just their own personal protection but also with public safety may be willing to engage me and others interested in the reasonable regulation of weapons. I’ve joined the NRA in hopes of having a voice, in hopes I’ll find others within the organization — and others who may yet join — who can see and rein in its excesses and help craft policies that will work to keep everyone safer.”
Now, six years later: The NRA has self-destructed due to internal corruption, hoping to re-surface in Texas after declaring bankruptcy in New York, but its drumbeat of “us versus them” is thriving. Congressmen push past metal detectors in the US Capitol with their guns, while others get death threats and wear body armor. The Department of Homeland Security is warning of more coordinated “’domestic terrorism” like the assault on the Capitol, and major social media platforms are banning “free speech” that advocates violence against the government.
Where will we be in another six years?