The MONEY Shot

The National Rifle Association doesn’t care about freedom. It cares about money.

I write these words with a heavy heart for the victims in Las Vegas and with the knowledge that some will cry foul that I chose this moment, of all moments, to write about gun control. I know this because the last time a senseless act of mass gun violence occurred on U.S. soil, against members of Congress, no less, there was an extremely vocal minority who took issue with a Folio Weekly tweet which included a screenshot of Rep. Steve Scalise’s A+ NRA rating and the caption, “Just gonna leave this here.”

I learned then that folks don’t take too kindly to anyone pointing out that a congressman who got shot repeatedly proposed legislation that would’ve made it easier for out-of-state residents to buy guns. “Too soon,” was a common response. Some rage junkies thought we were implying that Scalise deserved to get shot. He didn’t, we didn’t say that, and it’s just ridiculous, and a bit offensive, to say we did. Go be angry in the direction of something that matters, like when will General Mills release chocolate peanut butter Cheerios!? “Soon” is not definitive enough, General Mills, I need to know the exact date, preferably the hour, when I can pack my cheeks with crunchy morsels combining the two best flavors on Earth! But I digress.

Someone else quipped that Folio Weekly was “keeping it classy as always,” to which I say a) we never said we were classy, and b) if it’s tacky to point out that the victim of a deadly Britney Spears earworm proposed legislation to make “Oops! … I Did It Again” the national anthem, tacky as charged. Wait till you see our Christmas nativity made entirely of cheese. Tagline: Baby Cheesus is the son of goud-a. Kidding! Or am I … 

Jokes aside, the NRA is not doing Americans any favors when it blocks a law to stop people on the FBI’s terrorist watch lists from buying guns; strips the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention from funding for researching gun violence after it found that living in a household with a gun increased the risk of homicide; opposes legislation restricting the purchase of firearms by the mentally ill, people with violent histories and those subject to domestic violence injunctions; claims an article honoring female victims of gun violence makes “the world a more dangerous place for women”; or sponsors a hunting show in which the host shoots an elephant in the face then celebrates the kill with champagne and likens his critics to Hitler.

The NRA carries out some nefarious acts on its own, or via a cast of horribles like Ted “I didn’t say kill my president” Nugent, but mostly it relies on pocketfuls of Republican politicians to do its bidding.

And boy, oh, boy, do they ever do its bidding. Do you know when Congress last passed gun control legislation? 2007. That’s right, not even the slaughter of children at Sandy Hook, or Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords nearly being killed, or the murder of 49 innocent club-goers has given them a change of heart. In fact, just eight days after the Pulse Orlando shooting, the Senate voted down four gun control measures that would’ve tightened background checks and made it more difficult for suspected terrorists to buy guns.

If you’re wondering who to blame for congressional inaction on gun control, start here: Senator Marco Rubio and Congressmen John Rutherford, Ted Yoho and Ron DeSantis are all sucking on the NRA PAC teet, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Now, unlike some liberals, I don’t for a single second believe that these men (except maybe Rutherford) are actually opposed to gun control—I think they just like power and money and not necessarily in that order. In that sense, the NRA makes for a fitting bedfellow. Shills of a feather, and all that.

Also unlike some liberals (very few, actually), I am not anti-gun. I learned to properly handle firearms early. However, like the vast majority of Americans, I believe in common sense restrictions on guns. I also question whether assault rifles should be available for private purchase.

The gun lobby, of which the NRA is the public face, is out of control. Weapons manufacturers sell millions of guns to Americans every year, most to a small number of people who buy into a manufactured brand of free-loving, red-blooded American. It’s a caricature, a ruse; weapons manufacturers don’t see customers as patriots, it sees them as profits. Which is exactly how the pols see the gun lobby. The only people getting shortchanged are the victims and their families.

What’s that? It’s still too soon? Well, let me know when it’s the right time. Until then, just remember that for all the victims of gun violence, too soon won’t be soon enough.