Listen, United States: You look bad when there's a mass shooting, but you look insane when people deny that guns had anything to do with it. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That's insane even when the thing isn't letting almost any asshole have a gun. Also, you need to stop letting almost any asshole have a gun.
Which means you need to stop the board of the National Rifle Association. Here's why ...
#5. They're Paid By Gun Manufacturers
In 2013, Business Insider reported that less than half of the NRA's revenue came from membership dues and fees -- the majority came from things like advertising sales, donations, and grants, largely contributed by the gun industry. And even some of the revenue from dues and fees still came from gun manufacturers, as Taurus buys its customers an NRA membership with every weapon they purchase. In the past, Ruger donated a dollar from every gun sold to the NRA, and now they're doubling down, pledging $2 from every Ruger rifle, handgun, and shotgun sold until the next NRA annual meeting. Crimson Trace laser sights donates 10 percent of their sales and $20 for each product sold through the NRA Instructor Program. Crimson Trace employees can't be making that much per unit.
MidwayUSA sells guns, ammunition, and completely sane high-capacity magazines, and it encourages customers to round every purchase up to the nearest dollar with the difference going to the NRA-ILA lobbying arm. Gun companies have donated tens of millions of dollars to the NRA's Ring Of Freedom sponsorship program and spend tens of millions more on advertising in NRA publications.
"I use guns to put money into the bank!"
Industry giant Colt is filing for bankruptcy, and The Intercept reports that it still owes money to the NRA and its tangle of affiliated legal entities. And that's the saddest thing of all. What was the point of letting arms manufacturers turn an entire country into a Scrooge McDuck vault filled with shell casings instead of money if they're going to go bankrupt anyway? At least before they were mercenaries. Now it's just terrifying stupidity.
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Even more people piss themselves in this swimming pool.
A Yahoo investigation reported multiple violations of federal law in how the NRA makes political donations. Their sole purpose is to act as a paid weapon-unlock cheat for the real world. Major historical NRA members have noticed and are leaving the organization in disgust. Adolphus Busch IV, the last Busch to own Anheuser-Busch, explained his resignation with:
From the full resignation letter
When you're dumped by the last American to own Budweiser, you must suck at serving Americans. The NRA represents regular gun owners the same way the National Pork Board represents regular pigs.
#4. They're Allowed To Casually Talk About Shooting People
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NRA board member Ted Nugent is what happens when a washed-up classic rocker starts believing his own songs and is too heavily armed to be stopped. At this year's NRA rally, he got up on stage and publicly fantasized about shooting a senator in front of quite a lot of cameras. Media Matters reported his stream-of-insanity speech:
"If your child is dying and there is only one way to get to the doctor, would you get on Harry Reid's boat to get there?"
[audience mumbles no]
"Then your child's dead! I'd get on the boat, get there, and then I'd shoot him."
Luckily he wasn't a teenager with a webcam, so he wasn't arrested.
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"Sure, record this; I'm too rich and white for handcuffs."
In the U.S., children can be arrested for snapchatting stupid shit with an Airsoft gun. Not interviewed, not chatted with -- arrested and hauled down to the station. Teenagers can be charged for pulling an emoji of a gun on Facebook. Ted Nugent has lots of real weapons; these days that's his entire deal, but he just gets to go onstage, wave a gun, scream about the coming struggle, and talk about shooting people on camera, and it's fine? Is money an antidote to terroristic threats? Do courts recognize terrible music that no one listens to as a vaccine against jihad?
He was talking about the NRA's funding of senators, but even in Nugent's fantasy metaphors we have dead children and assassinations. Which is a much better speech on the effects of unregulated firearms than I think he intended. Even in the endless, bullet-ridden trenches of NugentWorld, the reward for helping him save his child's life is lethal gunfire. In his fantasies, good Samaritans need better body armor.
"Turn the other cheek, press it into the stock, and squeeze the trigger."
This isn't even the first time Nugent has done something like this. In 2012, he was interviewed by the Secret Service for threatening, "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year." Just interviewed, mind. If he'd been doing something really serious like playing Counter-Strike, maybe they'd have sent a SWAT van to cuff him live on camera.
#3. NRA Board Members Are All Kinds Of Scary
Charles Cotton has been an NRA board member for over a decade, and he really hopes he won't have to shoot your kid. He really hopes! He can't guarantee it, of course; I mean, having a gun that can pump bullets into children is a patriotic option he absolutely refuses to take off his or anyone else's table, but he thinks it'd be better if someone just beat the shit out of your kid first.
No, wait. He's not a monster. He'd like government employees to do it for you.
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"Form an orderly queue; I have enough ass-kickings for everyone."
TPM reports that he wrote "Perhaps a good paddling in school may keep me from having to put a bullet in [a student] later." Which definitely sounds like someone who should be equipped to decide if everyone within his line of sight lives or dies on a moment-by-moment basis.
Fellow board member Don Young, a congressman from Alaska, described the BP Gulf oil spill as a "natural phenomena," successfully voted to increase the allowed mercury emissions from incinerators in a way the government knows will cause tens of thousands of deaths, and thinks wolves would be a great solution to the homelessness problem. And, in a Disney-villain twist, that's only because he wants to kill the wolves as well.
"I should have voted for Neeson!"
The Washington Post reports that Young told Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, "I'd like to introduce [gray wolves] in your district. If I introduced them in your district, you wouldn't have a homeless problem anymore." Wait, that's not explaining. That's gibbering. Frothing, maybe, which would at least offer an explanation for why he's so rabidly lycancidal. His idea was that his army of imaginary wolves would attack humans, and so they should lose their endangered status. And then he can shoot them. Which seems to be his real master plan. Instead of illegally collecting money for campaign contributions, a House Ethics Committee concluded, he improperly used campaign contributions to fund his hunting trips. Apparently his political career is only a cover for more excuses to shoot things. If we told him Jurassic Park was a possibility he'd boost science funding. And at least then it would be sane to co-sponsor doomed bills protecting armor-piercing ammunition.
If you have a few hours, NRA board members are an endless parade of saying ridiculous shit.