Blood Money

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza used an AR-15 assault rifle that held 30-round magazines to massacre 20 children and 7 adults in Newtown, Connecticut. A bill introduced in March of 2011 in Connecticut would have made it a felony to have a magazine that could hold more than 10 rounds of ammo. The NRA organized against the bill and lawmakers got more than 30,000 emails opposed to the legislation so the bill failed. The NRA pushed for a 2005 law that protected gun manufacturers from lawsuits in the event one of their products was used to massacre people like the kids in Newtown, Columbine or the moviegoers in Aurora. Clearly, the NRA’s concern isn’t with children’s safety, but with protecting and fattening the pockets of arms dealers that run the NRA. Bloomberg News reported “More than 50 firearms-related companies have given at least $14.8 million to the National Rifle Association.” The NRA long ago changed from a sporting organization to a political tool. The NRA is not spending millions of dollars per year to protect gun rights as much as it is protecting gun sales.  It is time to wake up and realize that the NRA is just one more corporation that wants to buy our politicians and push their corporate agenda at all costs. The NRA spent nearly $25 million in the last election.

Gun owners claim they need guns to protect themselves. The guns used in Newtown were not owned by the suspected killer they had been legally bought and owned by his mother for protection. As one of the parents in Newtown said in response to this point, that the guns were legally bought “for protection” “How’d that work out, for her?”

Public sector workers including teachers all around this country are under attack from conservative governors and legislatures. These politicians are cutting funds to education and teacher’s wages and benefits are under attack by the Tea Party. At Sandy Hook Elementary School teachers and the principal lost their lives protecting children from a crazed shooter. Shortly after the shooting we had a retired school teacher named, Jane Bilello react to the shooting with a fundraiser. Jane being the Ashville, North Carolina Tea Party chairwoman organized a raffle for the Tea Party. Raffle tickets were for a semiautomatic rifle similar to one used in the Connecticut school shootings that killed 20 children. The rifle includes two 30-round clips and a carrying case. Also to be raffled is a .22 Magnum pistol with a 30-round clip. A previous fundraiser sponsored by the group was called a Machine Gun Social, for this event tickets were sold for a chance to fire an Uzi.

Retired teacher Jane Bilello was unapologetic about the timing of the raffle and expressed her belief that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, including school staff, would decrease gun violence in the U.S., including mass killings at schools. In a speech a few days after the Connecticut shooting the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre echoed teabagger Bilello and urged creation of 100,000-strong new Federal bureaucracy of armed school guards. A note to Bilello and LaPierre, Columbine had an armed guard; Virginia Tech has its own police department. A mass shooting also took place at Fort Hood, an army base that was full of trained soldiers who couldn’t prevent the mass shooting. A recent poll in the Warren Tribune Chronicle asked, “Are you willing to pay taxes to put police in every school?” The results were 39% yes and 61% no. So you see that taxpayers favor their money over children’s lives so LaPierre’s plan will never fly.

LaPierre should have said, “I propose guards at schools will be paid through a tax on gun and ammunition purchases and fees on manufacturers of guns and ammunition. The tax will also pay for the costs of gun crimes and accident victims as well as paying damages to the families of murder victims. “What Wayne did do was, accuse producers of violent games and movies of helping to incite mass shootings. Studies tend to say they have found no connection between video games and gun violence. I’d say they might be wrong as the Norwegian who killed 77 said that he sharpened his shooting skills by playing many hours of Call of Duty. I was surprised actually to hear Wayne take on violent video games because many gun manufacturers (that are NRA financial backers) are in partnerships with the violent video game manufacturers. Some of these violent video games feature a Web site that promotes the manufacturers of the guns, knives and combat gear depicted in the game. These manufacturers like Glock, Browning, Remington and McMillan are corporate sponsors of the violent games. Makers of firearms see video games as a way to market their brands to millions of young potential customers.

Reader Supported news said, “”Firearms and ammunition sales rose 45 percent between 2009 and 2010 alone.” They added, “And the tragedy of Newtown has been great for business all around the country. Just look at a sampling of headlines we’ve seen in the last week: “Tucson Gun Sales Surge after Newtown” (Arizona Daily Star). “New Hampshire sets record on background checks for gun sales after Newtown shootings” (Nashua Telegraph). “Local gun dealers see sales increase after Newtown tragedy” I’m not for taking away the right to own a firearm but I am for getting rid of assault weapons and magazine clips of over 10 rounds. When we talk about rights let’s talk about how our nation’s children’s right to not be shot and killed doesn’t seem to be as important as the right of gun manufacturers to make the sale of a gun clip holding 30 or more rounds. It really is just one more case of Wall Street vs. Main Street and in a capitalist society the blood money of Wall Street wins every time.

My buffoon of the week is Warren Tribune Community Columnist teabagger Dan Moadus. Dan wrote about how the Founding Fathers would want our citizens to have the guns equivalent to those used by our armed forces. He feels that is what we should have by law so we could fight our government if it turns oppressive. Dan you could have an M16 just like our military but they could shoot a drone at you from hundreds (or more) miles away. Sorry, Dan I’m not going to join you in your fight to get a drone because your right-wing rhetoric is scary enough.

An armed man who came to help Gabby Gifford in the Tucscon shooting almost shot the wrong guy.

 Happy New Years!

Michael Franks: Island Christmas

Watching the Snow

“I actually though the NRA would come out with some concessions – closing the gun show loophole, at the very least. I really should have known better. This morning Wayne LaPierre gave one of the most cynical and cowardly speeches I’ve ever heard. Blaming everyone and everything other than guns and access to them.” ~ Andrew Sullivan

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