After every mass shooting, a few wild-eyed, pot-smoking liberal morons try to pin the blame for the tragedy on the National Rifle Association. They assert that the NRA has created the perfect conditions for an epidemic of gun violence by pushing incessantly for the right of every American with $400 and a pulse-mentally ill or not-to own a semiautomatic pistol or an assault rifle. Some weepy, hand-wringing sentimentalists argue that the so-called "right" of students to go to school without worrying about being killed should outweigh the God-given right of a tiny minority of Americans to stockpile enough military-grade weapons to arm numerous small countries.
But the NRA's critics have it all wrong. The NRA shouldn't be blamed for gun violence in America. Quite the opposite-it should be thanked.
First of all, the NRA isn't just the tireless champion of all Americans' sacred right to bear whatever arms they can afford, with the possible exception of nuclear warheads. The NRA has given us an amazing right that is rarely acknowledged: The right to be shot. This right is far more expansive, actually, than your overrated First Amendment rights. The Supreme Dorks and the Fascist Bureau of Investigation may stop you from yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, but you can sure as hell get fired upon in a crowded theater! The right to be shot is truly unlimited. You could be shot at church, at school, at work, while sitting on the toilet ... . You could enjoy the unique privilege of getting shot when someone else's concealed weapon (or your own) goes off by mistake. Thanks to the NRA, we're realizing how much more important the right to be shot is than those much-ballyhooed rights to life, liberty and blah, blah, blah.
You may be thinking, "But what if I don't want to be shot?" Isn't the answer obvious? Buy a gun, dummy! But even if you're suffering from Stage IV libtarditis, you still benefit from the precious right to be shot. You see, it adds zest to life to know that every time you say goodbye to your kids in the morning, it could be your last farewell. The NRA has brought some of the thrill of the combat zone to the gray wastes of Cubicle Land. Let's face it, America-we were getting way too soft. Only the constant fear of sudden, random death, along with a complete inability to trust anyone around us, will truly make this nation great again. The good news is that, since The Inauguration of The Donald, we have already achieved levels of greatness not seen since Vietnam, or possibly even the Civil War.
Cynical, scruffy-bearded Berkeley grads will try to tell you that the NRA promotes gun ownership, stokes gun owners' paranoia, and blocks government research on gun violence only because these activities benefit gun and ammunition corporations, who make sure that the NRA's coffers are full, which helps keep politicians in office who value the public's right to be shot over any other consideration, and so on. A "vicious cycle," the haters call it. But all economic-growth-loving Americans know that people in many different industries should be lining up to thank the NRA. SWAT teams, firemen and crime scene investigators. Coffin and candle makers. Morticians. Grief counselors. Florists. And don't forget ambulance drivers, nurses, trauma surgeons, prosthetics designers and physical therapists for the survivors. What's a little PTSD and a few thousand hours of lost sleep when weighed against all those insurance dollars?
By the way, what would the fake news media do if they didn't have the NRA (not to mention Supreme Nixonian Overlord Trump) to kick around? How many op-ed columns, obituaries, Pulitzers and TV shouting matches do journalists ultimately owe to the NRA? Where would photographers be without those gorgeous shots of bloodstained bodies and mothers sobbing over the graves of their children? The poet Wallace Stevens was right-death really is the "mother of beauty!" And American journalists don't have to trek to Syria or the Congo to find all that beauty-they can capture it in the (relative) safety of their own national backyard. You're welcome, media!
And let's not forget the many intangible goods that flow from the NRA's work. For example, on top of big campaign contributions, NRA-affiliated Republican politicians enjoy the peace of mind that comes with never having to make a decision for themselves. (At some point, the NRA may decide to skip the formalities and simply take over the U.S. Capital, but for now they find it more cost-effective to buy Republicans.) Like pet dogs and slaves, politicians such as Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan experience the profound comfort of being owned rather than having to fight for their survival in the 21st-century Beltway jungle. I'm sure you'll agree that their comfort is worth the lives of any number of first-graders.
Even families of gun homicide victims should thank the NRA. Just imagine how much stronger these folks can become as they work through their grief together. Isn't it nice to know that the NRA provides so many victims' families with an unlimited supply of heartfelt sobbing hugs, genuine screams of rage and old-fashioned blank despair-absolutely free of charge? Families that fall apart, of course, will need divorce lawyers and moving vans. In other words, it's a win-win scenario all around.
POFPs (Price-of-Freedom-Payers) who are liberated from mortality may seem like victims, but they are actually winners, too. The NRA knows that modern life is basically one big cannibal wasteland. Work, taxes, relationships, fat-free cottage cheese ... who needs the hassle? If you aren't shot dead by a disgruntled ex-coworker, you may someday choose to end life on your own terms using a manly 12-gauge or a sleek Glock-a weapon you wouldn't own if the NRA hadn't fought and bled and died on your behalf. (Maybe you'll decide to take a bunch of other people down with you, but the NRA can't officially recommend that course of action.) I only hope that, as you prepare to pull the trigger and head off to your eternal reward, you'll use your last breath to thank the good old NRA.
As the years roll by, and America gets greater and greater, we can be sure that the NRA's cornucopia of gifts will keep giving more and more bountifully. More expensive funerals. More newspapers sold and websites viewed. More families and communities united (and divided) in grief. And, always, always, always more guns. Our culture will improve dramatically as kindergartners are armed with Uzis and formerly tedious interactions with strangers at the grocery store take on all the unforgettable dramatic tension of High Noon.
Until that glorious day, even if you aren't an NRA-sian-American, don't worry-you can keep exercising your inalienable right to be shot. And, before I forget, one last right deserves to be mentioned: your right to remain silent. One day, the NRA may succeed in getting the First Amendment "rights" of wretched RINOs and progressive pantywaists completely abolished. For now, though, there's nothing the NRA likes better than for the overwhelming majority of Americans who support non-insane gun laws to keep their damn mouths shut.
Welling is a University of North Florida associate English professor.
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