NRA America: The ‘Soft Target’ for Terrorism

by on December 5, 2017 · 0 comments

in Civil Rights

By Beau Grosscup,

We have seen it coming.

Starting in 2009, the massacres at Virginia Tech, Binghamton, N.Y, Foot Hood, TX, Sandy Hook, Conn, Washington D.C, Charleston, SC, San Bernardino, CA and Orlando FL along with many ‘minor’ shootings too numerous to list, provided strong evidence that American society was becoming a ‘soft target’ for domestic terrorists.

The Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas massacres, that combined killed 111 and wounded 509 people, confirm it. The domestic American landscape has become a virtual ‘free-fire zone.’  Occasionally the terrorists are from foreign lands, but most often it is American citizens, armed with assault weapons, who wreck havoc in the ‘zone.’

Due to the cultural and institutional dominance of the National Rifle Association (NRA), their arms industry clients and allies in Federal and State government, we can expect the national ‘soft target’ to become even ‘softer,’ increasing the vulnerability of Americans to domestic terrorism.

This powerful constituency remains hell-bent on passing NRA-backed laws that greatly expand the ‘freedom’ to exercise 2nd Amendment rights (open carry laws, banning military base ‘gun-free’ zones, easier purchase of gun silencers, purchase of guns by mentally ill and people on terrorist watch list) and whatever else they can dream up that permits Americans to fire their weapon of choice.

Ironically, these initiatives come at a time when political concern for ‘foreign-born, radicalized terrorists’ is at its height, resulting in spending billions of dollars and ‘manpower’ on ‘security’ and major structural changes in how we conduct business at airports, borders, public and private buildings, immigration policy and in global affairs.

Central to the NRA’s policy agenda is the proposition that individual behavior/pathos is the source of gun violence. To powerful politicians and their constituents, in particular Republican presidents, this narrative is the embodiment of truth.  After Sutherland Springs, President Trump echoed this premise with “It’s not about guns, it’s about mental illness.” The policy implications of this premise are dramatic: with no economic, political, social or ideological ‘radicalizing agent,’ to explain the ‘why’ of violence, any slight change to the 2nd Amendment, let alone fundamental structural changes to society are unwarranted. They will not prevent nor would not have prevented the on-going domestic slaughter of American citizens.

Like its policy initiatives, the NRA’s premise about American domestic terrorism is in striking contrast to operating premise of the same presidents and politicians who seek to solve the problem of foreign-based terrorism. Here unprecedented changes in social, political, economic, and military policy are immediately required.  Obviously, their analysis of the ‘foreign other’ is far different from that of the ‘white conservative American self.’ The same is true of their analysis of Americans of color and Leftwing persuasion, who, they argue, require vigilant surveillance, especially those with guns.

The NRA narrative also dominates post-massacre discourse, thus ensuring further ‘softening’ of the national landscape. Insisting that ‘politicization’ of the massacres (proposing gun control measures) is inappropriate during the mourning/praying process provides effective cover for delaying/sinking gun control efforts. Meanwhile, NRA officials are free to ‘politicize’ the massacres by picking up the phone and make a plea (no doubt accompanied by hints of new campaign contributions) to their favorite politician to ‘hold the line.’  With the 2018 campaign on the horizon, the vast majority of NRA-funded politicians will do so. Praying for the victims will be enough until the next predictable event of ‘pure’ evil’ in the NRA’s free fire zone takes place. Meanwhile, thanks to the NRA, we Americans are ‘free’ to alter our assault rifles into machine guns.

In short, the predictable future of NRA dominated 2nd amendment politics is the further expansion and deepening of the national ‘free fire-zone.’ As a ‘soft’ target, American society is an ideal place for any politically disgruntled, radicalized religious zealot, racist, domestic abuser, rightwing American terrorist to ‘take matters (usually an assault rife) into their own hands and do their ‘freedom thing.’  Indeed, the Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs massacres demonstrate that the future is now.

 

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