PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Since we have been flooded with emails, letters and a few death threats - how about we all read the First Amendment once again - it's one that you claim you defend with your guns.
Just as the NRA bases its political activity on the principle that gun ownership is a civil liberty protected by the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution (which prohibits the federal legislature from making laws that infringe the freedom of speech and infringe the freedom of the press) protects the right of Jayne Lyn Stahl to express her OPINION. Some of you who have written in claim that NRA members are law abiding, etc but others, at the same time, have made serious death threats against Stahl via email - which negate the other claims completely.
This story is now about a bunch of white guys threatening to off a woman who writes for this publication and one who cares deeply about her country and the disastrous direction it has taken. All those stupid enough (which appears to be more than a few 'law abiding' NRA members) to actually email threats - are traceable via your IP address whether or not you try and hide behind a proxy.
Furthermore, the image was not chosen and created by Stahl but rather the editorial team. She had nothing to do with the imagery which most of you seem to be most offended by. Our publication is not USA-based (we are not American) and we reserve the right to print what we want on our website, on our servers, and in our country whether or not we agree with what has been published (though in this case we fully agree with the Stahl's opinion of the NRA).
My opinion as publisher? The email threats are some of the most appalling and disgusting things I have ever read. Fine you don't like what she wrote... but fantasizing about killing her kind of proves my point about 'gun nuts' in the NRA (I captioned the image). The caption does NOT call all NRA members 'gun nuts' but does point out that the organization has been empowering them for over 100 years (can't you people read?). It now appears that would seem to be a correct analysis if the death threats received are anything to indicate.
What do I think about the NRA?
The NRA's support for wildlife management programs that allow hunting and opposing restrictions on devices like crossbows and leg hold traps is ignorant and regressive. Never mind the issue of opposing gun control in any form.
As someone who has family that hunts moose for food - I have no problem with people owning guns. This is a non-issue for me and I have eaten moose, musk ox, caribou and other venison. My family that own guns in Canada are honest people who don't have a problem letting the government know what's in their gun cabinet. They also have licenses to drive their cars.
So if you are a law-abiding American, what's the problem with gun registration? Surely, as an organization, if you disagree with gun registration (on the basis of invasion of privacy) then you much also disagree with a government that wiretaps its citizens and suspends habeas corpus - allowing the government to hold a person indefinitely (including US citizens), without charges being filed against him or her, without a court hearing, and without entitlement to a legal consultant?
But no, The NRA (who are still in bed with the Bush Administration) actually lobbied Bush to oppose efforts to make international trade in small arms more transparent at the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms therefore protecting and concealing those who wish to export (illegally or not) American 'Gun Culture' abroad (see weapon$ manufacturer$).
Exercising influence over your own political milieu is one thing - forcing it on the rest of the world (which includes me) is another.
Personally as someone who is not American, now consider the USA, with its current administration, to be a plutocratic kleptocracy which violates the very spirit of those who founded the country... one based on the idea of freedom from a government that extends the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class at the expense of the population. What was once a country that I admired greatly has descended into, what I consider, a militaristic rogue state supported by organizations such as the NRA that perpetuate myths largely for economic principals that increase and protect the wealth of a few over the majority.
The United States has higher per capita rates of incarceration than any other country in the world (including Russia and China) so its clear that throwing more people in jail is not solving the problem of violent crime which continues unabated and at a rate that far exceeds anywhere else in the world. And the expansion of a privatized penal system in the US is not one to be admired but rather be embarrassed by - as is a for-profit Gulag with over two million people is nothing to be proud of.
The real enemy you have to protect yourself against is organizations and governments that use and incite fear as a tool for their agenda (which is almost exclusively economic at the end of the day).
The NRA is now nothing but a cult, an empty husk of what was once a legitimate organization, funded by weapons manufacturers, with a few 'gun nuts' worshipping the gun in all its manifestations and beyond all common sense, who seem to get off on making threats against women via email.
Only a few hundred miles outside of Milwaukee, in a town of 2,000, a twenty year old "off-duty" deputy sheriff, and part-time police officer, apparently went bezerk, and went on a shooting spree, at an undisclosed private house, taking the lives of at least six people. The suspect, Tyler Peterson, was himself fatally shot by "authorities," some of whom may have worked at the same sheriff's office. Many of the specific details of this crime are being withheld, and there is only speculation about the motive. (AP) A mother of one of the victims suggests jealousy might be behind the killer's rampage.
That said, there appears to be far greater leniency with respect to the carrying, and use, of weapons by members of law enforcement in this country than is desirable. Interestingly, as you know, police officers in Great Britain don't carry guns, and that country has a much lower incidence of violent crime.
There are many who will use the "rotten apple" argument in defense of America's law enforcement, and say that police departments needn't bother taking a closer look at the way they train their recruits with respect to when, where, how, and why they discharge their weapons, tear gas, and tasers. Maybe they're right. The commission of a crime like this by a police officer is clearly an anomaly, but we, as a society, can no more afford complacency, and apathy, when it comes to the actions of those we entrust with enforcing our laws than with those we elect to higher office.
But, what does this have to do with a clearly deranged young man who, possibly after what may have been little more than a lover's quarrel, does in his girlfriend, and her whole family? Simply this, when we are bombarded with news accounts of soldiers gunning down innocent Iraqi citizens, of Los Angelenos being tear gassed for speaking out against draconian measures targeting illegal immigrants, of riot police routinely making their presence felt at anti-war protest rallies, of youngsters being tasered, whether they be students at a college in South Florida, or young men of color in our nation's inner cities, how can any reasonable person possibly expect anyone who has access to a gun not to model the kind of obscene, irrational behavior that destroyed the lives of six, and will force the state attorney general of Wisconsin to consider what the evaluation process is, and how it is this 20 year old got to be a member of a sheriff's department in the first place. Hopefully, too, the attorney general will place more restrictions on the use of deadly force by the police on the police, or on any human being. Deadly face is no substitute for due process.
While one often thinks of Charleton Heston when thinking about the NRA, in this age of the cowboy, any gun-toting madman will do just as well..
Hopefully, the terrible event that took place in Wisconsin today will compel us all to examine empowerment by weapon, as well as an issue increasingly swept under the table, that of police brutality, and abuse of power. We know we've arrived when the "authorities" who shot the off-duty deputy sheriff to death themselves face review. We have become far too accepting of fatal shootings by on-duty police officers just as we're far too tolerant of those who think it's their constitutional right to bear arms, even when, increasingly, it's at the expense of innocent life.
This officer who fired his gun, and took the lives of six isn't the only poster child for the NRA; each of his victims is, too.
Clarification: Please note: I NEVER described members of the NRA, nor would I describe members of any group, as 'gun toting sickos.' I NEVER used the word 'sicko' until now, nor am I responsible for the image that went with the original article. I have nothing but ABSOLUTE RESPECT for law enforcement, and was merely suggesting that anyone who wants peace, regardless of their uniform, join with others who wish to contain the ABUSE of firearms, and assault weapons. "
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