Friday, March 01, 2013

Wayne LaPierre and his Wayne’s World paranoia

If a stranger came up to you and ranted that the government would come to your house and seize your property, what would you think? You're a law-abiding citizen. What reason would the government have to seize anything of yours? If you asked that person what facts he has based his fears upon and he said, “They want to keep a list of your property so they can take it!” you might wonder where he’s getting his information, and you might also think that person needed psychiatric help. Basically, you wouldn’t believe him.

But a lot of people listen to Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, and they do believe what he says, even if he has absolutely no evidence to support it. It’s the kind of place Wayne lives in. The one in which he wants you to take citizenship, Wayne’s World, where paranoia is a way of life, and living in fear is part of the national psychology.

Here’s a fact: for spreading paranoia Wayne earns over $1,000,000 a year.

As evidence for my assumption that Wayne inhabits a special place inside his own head, I offer his recent speech to a group of 1,200 in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he again spoke of the NRA (and Wayne’s) opposition to registering firearms: “It’s aimed at registering your guns,” said LaPierre, “and when another tragic opportunity [Newtown] presents itself, that registry will be used to confiscate your guns.” (Salt Lake Tribune, Sunday, February 24, 2013.)

A couple of personal observations about Wayne’s speech: one, I must give my fellow Utahns more credit. Only 1,200, far fewer than I thought would attend, actually sat through the paranoid rant. (That's still 1,200 too many, but I'll take what satisfaction I can from the low turnout.) Second, as far as I can tell, Wayne LaPierre has never said how “the government” might actually come in and take guns from the millions of gun owners in the U.S. There are over 55,000,000 guns out there. That’s a lot, and a lot of firepower. Any agency charged with actual confiscation would have to have some plan in order to seize all of those weapons. I’d think they would have to strike fast and hard to get the most guns possible. Otherwise many gun owners could just stash their guns somewhere else, or wrap them in plastic and bury them in the woods until the Feds left the area.

The fear that Wayne LaPierre spreads just can’t happen in this country. The country is too big, not only with population but area, and there are too many weapons. All anyone has to do is consider the logistics of such an operation and they’d know that even if the federal government was eager and willing to seize firearms owned by individuals, we would always have their track record to assure us it couldn’t happen: they can’t stop the massive flow of drugs into this country, nor can they stop the flow of undocumented aliens coming across our borders. There is not enough manpower. At best they can make token seizures and arrests. A GENERAL CONFISCATION OF GUNS ISN’T LIKELY BECAUSE IT JUST ISN’T PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE. The costs would be too high, with too little chance of success.

I have to finish up by saying that in Wayne’s World a “tragic occurrence,” as he alluded to in his recent speech, is not evil because a gunman using a semi-automatic weapon with a large-capacity magazine killed 20 children and six teachers, or in other recent cases a gunman entered a theater and shot up the patrons, or a crazed person went to a political event in a shopping center parking lot and killed nine, but that those events triggered criticism of gun ownership. To Wayne and his fellow Wayne’s World gun nuts those “tragic events” are evil because they make the public think about all the guns out there. LaPierre just hasn’t expressed to anyone’s satisfaction sorrow for the victims or the parents. To Wayne human life just doesn’t seem to be as important as owning a weapon, so he doesn’t show empathy for the victims. And that’s the Wayne’s World in which I especially do not wish to live.

Citizens of Wayne’s World are encouraged to express their sincerely held political beliefs by the most obvious means.

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