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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Shoot pigeons, not stool pigeons

Discussions about the power of Washington lobbyists focus on the K Street gang, with their $1,000 suits and their connections (often purchased through sports tickets and vacations) to the people who write the laws.

Left out of these discussions is the name of the nation's most powerful lobby -- capable of defeating elected officials with a call to its 4.3 million members with the use of rhetoric as strong as a shotgun blast.

The National Rifle Association takes no prisoners -- and people are dying on our streets as political timidity and feeble efforts at reform are offered as meek substitutes for action.

And the NRA has some powerful help from unexpected quarters in making the case for guns -- and a lack of respect for law enforcement.

The NRA has thrived as it adopted the most unwavering reading possible of the 2nd Amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Any effort to make any change so much as a comma has been fiercely resisted, backed by slick lobbying and calls to arms (sorry) to members with hysterical and trumped up warnings that the real goal is confiscation of all weapons -- even those used by legitimate hunters and sportsmen. By demonizing the "enemy" the NRA has controlled the debate.

Ironically they find themselves as brothers and sisters in arms with those who are using weapons not for sport, but for "protection." The urban culture, with its focus on violence and "respect" has become the NRA's partner in an absolutist position that guns as as American as apple pie whether your quarry is quail or a homey who disrespects you.

A meeting of the minds would somehow seem to be in order -- shoot pigeons, not stool pigeons seems catchy. But no one seems to be listening. The NRA's power to dominate and intimidate with extremist rhetoric is matched by similar extremism on the streets (and in the offices of record promoters).

And when the slaughter of 32 innocents at Virginia Tech has no power to change that culture (just as the shooting of presidents, high school students and innocent children on street corners has failed to move the debate) it's time to ask if there will ever be an end to the cycle of violence that this country seems to revere.

Is it possible there will be No Reform Anytime?

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