There are Only 1 Million Gun Extremists

Like William Spengler, the convicted felon who killed firefighters on Christmas Eve in Webster, NY with a weapon bought by a straw purchaser, Kurt Myers also set his home ablaze and began a killing spree this month in Herkimer County, New York. Like Spengler, Myers was a loner who acted strangely and whose only motive for the murders seems to be being armed-while-angry.

49-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier Hardy was pulled off a city bus in Northern Indiana last week by a former boyfriend and shot to death in front of horrified bystanders, including children. Hardy had filed an order of protection against the shooter, Kenneth Knight, to no avail. Nearly half the women killed every year are murdered by intimate partners, most with a firearm, reports the New York Times. Gun rights activists fight successfu3 killers adlly to allow those, like Knight, who are under orders of protections to keep their guns. Thank you, NRA.

Last week 18-year-old T.J. Lane was sentenced to life in prison for the Chardon high school cafeteria shooting in Ohio a year ago which left three dead and three injured. Remorseless and wearing an undershirt emblazoned with the word “killer,” Lane hurled obscenities and sexual insults at the families of victims in the courtroom. Like Jeffrey Weise of the Red Moon Indian reservation massacre and Adam Lanza of Sandy Hook, Lane obtained his lethal weapon from a family member.

The only thing more predictable than gun murders committed by disturbed loners, enraged boyfriends and disaffected high school students who easily got guns, is lawmakers’ ability to look past them to their toady ties to the NRA. Neither a congressman shot in the head or a bloodbath of four-foot-tall first-graders just learning to print, will pry our politicians out of the NRA’s trigger-happy hands. (Nor will the gun lobby acknowledge how many–maybe most– shootings are not by “outlaws” at all but formerly “law-abiding” people who become angry-while-armed) Is anyone surprised the assault weapon ban was dropped from the pending gun bill? Did anyone think laws will change?

The NRA is like the Mafia during its heyday. Small in numbers but ruthless and amoral, for many years the Mafia held the US government itself hostage through horse-head-in-the-bed extortion and blackmail. It is also like Big Tobacco which said the second-hand smoke we were breathing for decades was perfectly safe. The NRA has only 4 million members, only one million of which are extremists, yet it has been dictating the gun laws the entire country lives under like the Mafia whose tactics it borrows and like Big Tobacco.

It is time to force lawmakers to treat gun proliferation the way it treated second-hand smoke and start serving the 100 million who elected them. Asking lawmakers to serve their constituents instead of the NRA has failed; it is time to use our buying power to tell politicians and gun-friendly corporations, services and even states that we veto their lethal agenda. Here is how you can take action now.

Boycott Starbucks

Tell and Compel

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoonist who writes about public health. Her first book, titled Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health, has just been released by Prometheus Books. She can be reached at: martharosenberg@sbcglobal.net. Read other articles by Martha.