Like most, I’ve been stunned and shocked over the last few days.
The pattern is tragically clear. In the wake of the latest mass shooting, we have a conversation about mental illness (mostly, in ways to avoid talking about guns). Yes, there are always some who dare to suggest that it might be time to talk about new gun laws, but that conversation is quickly shut down out of political fear of the gun lobby–especially fear of the NRA.
What we do not do–ever–is talk about all the political organizations on the Right–like the NRA–that fuel paranoid delusion and the manufactured outrage 24/7 as their core reason for existence. And yes, I said “Right” as I can not think of a single organization of the “Left” that uses delusion, lies and endless attacks on reality as their prime organizing tool and I can hardly think of an organization on the “Right” that doesn’t. This isn’t a both-side-do-it moment. Conservative thought in America is broken. They sell crazy talk, anger and fear. They have created a space where every paranoid sense of persecution is justified–and even honorable. They sell the idea that any extreme action taken in response to these political delusions is a virtue.
The relentless wingnut attack on reality–where every conspiracy theory is valid and all anger about your pet delusion is justified–is not harmless. Lives are damaged, blood is drawn and people die. It is a feature, not a bug of a War on Reality. From the NRA to Americans for Tax Reform to the Koch Brothers to the Heritage Foundation to Fox News to the Birthers to well, any of them, the modern conservative movement has mainstreamed paranoid fantasies and the manufactured anger required to support them. I am not at all surprised that media and cultural acceptance that the endless stream of political-based paranoid delusions should be treated as justifiable reason for rage and extreme actions would inspires some random nut case to act on his private iteration of rage and crazy.
Since Friday, the NRA has not posted anything on Twitter and their Facebook page has been taken down. They are re-grouping to figure out the best way to repackage their money-making paranoid conspiracy theories about the Second Amendment in light of this latest spasm of mass murder by a gun nut. Just before they went dark, the NRA celebrated that they had 1.7 million followers on Twitter. Overall, the NRA has about 4.3 million members. This is where their power comes from. Most of those members are simply folks who own guns as tools for sport or hunting and care about gun safety. OTOH, some–including all the NRA Leadership–are conservative wingnuts who worry about Black Helicopters and an endless stream of paranoid fantasies. Those sane members of the NRA need to take control away from the crazy wingnuts or split to form a new group focused on gun safety and sensible gun laws.
And there needs to be a counterweight to the NRA if this Nation is ever going to be able to talk about guns, gun violence and the paranoid delusions that fuel mass murder. The closest thing we have now is the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. I think if their membership and donation base can grow, it will put real preassure on the NRA. It will put real preasure on our political leaders to deal with gun violence.
You can make a donation to the Brady Campaign here. That is what I did this morning. In fact, I decided to make my support monthly. You can too. And you can support them on Twitter and on Facebook.
The best action that you can take if you’re disgusted by the endless waves of gun violence is to organize. The Brady Campaign has been fighting this fight for decades. With resources and support they will be able to do more. When politicians fear the Brady Campaign more than they fear the NRA then our gun laws will change. And when the paranoid wingnuts running the NRA are driven out, Reality will win another victory over the so-call Conservative movement.
If we organize, we will win. As The Doors said:
The old get old, and the young get stronger.
May take a week, and it may take longer.
They got the guns, but we got the numbers.
Gonna win yeah, we’re taking over.