Nel's New Day

January 19, 2013

Today Is GAD

I have a very close friend who sometimes exclaims “Gad!” when surprised, shocked, or upset by something. Now “GAD” takes on a new meaning: January 19 is “Gun Appreciation Day.” Its website states: “On 01.19.13 go to your local gun store, gun range or gun show with your Constitution, American flags and your ‘Hands off my Guns’ sign to send a loud and clear message to Congress and President Obama.”

“Guns are Safe and Sexy,” reads one headline on the site. Organizer Larry Ward is so intent to prove that GAD’s backers are not extremists that the white supremacist group  American Third Position (A3P), a political group that describes itself as representing “the unique political interests of white Americans,” has disappeared as one of the sponsors. Another radical sponsor, the Social Security Institute, remains. SSI warns of one-world-government control.

Ward said the idea for GAD came from the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary because of gun protesters outside the NRA’s D.C. office. His office for Political Works that represents Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) libertarian Revolution PAC among others is next door to the NRA. In an initial response to the NRA protesters, he leaned out his window and yelled, “Arm the teachers, arm the principals.”

When people criticized Ward for holding his gun-loving celebration on the weekend of Martin Luther King Day and the president’s inauguration, he claimed that Martin Luther King would have agreed with him. His reason is that if the slaves had been armed they could have stopped slavery. (I won’t even try to work through the illogic in this statement.) About the inauguration, Ward said, “It didn’t necessarily hurt that it was two days before inauguration. I don’t mind poking the bear occasionally.”

Ward has also stated his opposition to a background check, even for people who mentally ill. “We should not, at any point in our country, take away someone’s constitutional right because they’re sick.”

Another Larry, Larry Pratt, feels as strongly as Larry Ward about gun rights. Director of Gun Owners of America, Pratt complained on Fox about the liberal bent of Justice Antonin Scalia who authored the ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller which struck down the city’s ban on handguns and greatly extended individual gun ownership. Pratt seems to be offended that Scalia has said that the government could ban such weapons as “hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes.” Pratt said that the amendment says “shall not be infringed.”

Pratt has also called for the president’s impeachment. This is his message for Congress:

“When are you going to impeach this guy? When are you going to defund his illegal activities? Republicans can’t continue, at least I hope they cannot, continue to be spectators while the country is being torn apart. The left, which is largely made up of people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ’s blood as being necessary for our salvation, view inanimate objects as possessing their own will.”

So who are the NRA leaders, the organization that has pushed the nation into being the most heavily armed in the world with a death rate equal to the next 23 nations?

  • Tom Selleck: The Magnum, P.I. star, gun buff, and vocal gun-rights supporter was the top vote-getter in 2008’s board election.
  • Ted Nugent: His statement, “If Barack Obama becomes the next president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” got him a meeting with the Secret Service.
  • Oliver North: The Iran-Contra conspirator and Call of Duty (computer/video game franchise) pitchman said, “I love speaking out for the NRA in large part because it drives the left a little bit nuts.”
  • Marion Hammer: The woman who stood behind Florida’s Stand Your Ground law that killed, among others, Trayvon Martin.
  • Patricia Clark:  The record-holding shooter lives in Newtown (CT), home of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
  • Robert K. Brown: The former Special Forces soldier and big-game hunter is also the founder and publisher of Soldier of Fortune, which was sued in the late 1980s for running want ads for mercenaries and guns for hire.
  • David Keene: The current NRA president and former chairman of the American Conservative Union has a son in prison for ten years after firing at another driver during a road rage incident in 2003.
  • Wayne A. Ross: After Sarah Palin nominated him for Alaska’s attorney general, he was passed over because of his homophobic and sexist comments.
  • Ronnie G. Barrett: The founder of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing invented the .50 sniper rifle, which can penetrate armor from more than 4,500 feet and is legal for civilian purchase in 49 states.
  • Larry Craig: The former Idaho senator sponsored a  law protecting gun makers from liability in connection with their products being used by criminals in 2005, the year that the NRA spent $1.8 million lobbying Congress.  That was the year before NRA got Congress to pass the law that the Senate had to approve the director of the Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco Agency. AFT has not had a director approved since the law went into effect.
  • Grover Norquist: The president of Americans for Tax Reform that calls upon everyone in Congress to sign a pledge not to ever raise taxes who said after Newtown, “We have got to calm down and not take tragedies like this, crimes like this, and use them for political purposes.”

Of the entire board, 93 percent are white, and 87 percent are men.

One week after the Sandy Hook tragedy, the NRA blamed—and lamented—the violence in video gaming, trying to convince that this was the cause of gun deaths and not guns.  Less than a month after the shootings, the NRA rleased a shooting app, called “NRA: Practice Range,” billed as an “educational … resource” that “[i]nstills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations.” The targets are coffin-shaped, with red bullseyes at head- and heart-level. The free game “NRA: Practice Range” is offered on iTunes and allows would-be snipers to choose a weapon to fire at an indoor gun range, an outdoor range or for skeet shooting practice.


NRA graves

The free guns include a Beretta M-9 handgun, a Colt M-16 assault rifle with 15-round clip or a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun.
Users can upgrade to a MK11 sniper rifle for only 99 cents. Gun manufacturers also sell their firearm brand names to the gaming industry to be used as product promotion.

Apple approved the manufacturer’s recommended age rating of 4 and up for the disturbing game. It’s “the most authentic experience possible,” the gamemakers said, touting its real-life gunshot sounds and arsenal of free weapons.  After even NRA members protested the age, Apple changed its age to at least 12 years of age with an added warning that the game depicts “intense” and “realistic” violence. But the game is still available—free.

Opponents of gun claims constantly claim that only criminals kill people, that all law-abiding gun-owners are responsible. Following NRA wishes, the Chatfield School in Lapeer (MI) hired a 32-year retired sheriff’s deputy as armed guard for the charter school academy of almost 500. On January 14, three days after he was hired, he left his weapon unattended in a student restroom.  

Once again a supposedly responsible gun-owner, this time a patron at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh (NC) who wanted to sell his 12 gauge shotgun to a private buyer, accidentally fired it, injuring three people including a sheriff’s deputy.  Today’s shooting wasn’t an isolated incident.

As of last Thursday, there have been 1016 gun-related deaths in the United States since December 14, 2012, including the 28 related to the Newton (CT) massacre and the other 15 deaths on the same day.

I say, “Gad!”


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