Many a moderate NRA member in the past year commented that the organization doesn’t seem to support their initial interests: hunting, target shooting, the right to keep a weapon in for protection. Yet there has been no attempt to organize those reasonable voices to retake their organization.
Instead, the organization has become a one-stop shop for sophistry and rationalization for those who oppose responsible solutions to gun violence. My favorite: All we need to do is enforce the laws already on the books. Do they not know that most mass shooters get their guns and ammo legally? Including Adam Lanza.
Ah, but he was insane, comes the retort. Indeed he was. The mentally ill can buy weapons just as easily as anybody else. (Thanks, NRA!) And so can their sane but incomprehensibly foolish loved ones, for them. According to the recently released Connecticut attorney’s report on Newtown, Lanza’s mother assembled his arsenal.
Which is staggering when you consider his mental state. Lanza “had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others,” the report said. Still, it continued, he “did not recognize or help himself deal with those issues. What contribution this made to the shootings, if any, is unknown as those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.”
Yet the report also noted that Lanza went through a box of tissues a day, fearful of even touching a doorknob. Black trash bags covered his bedroom windows. He created spreadsheets to document mass murders. In preschool, Lanza was given to “repetitive behaviors, temper tantrums, smelling things that were not there, excessive hand washing and eating idiosyncrasies.”
Denial is a natural human reaction to unpleasant truths. That may explain Lanza’s mother’s actions. It certainly characterizes the gun-rights lobby and those it serves. How else can you explain their hostility to even the mere study of gun violence?