Tag Archive: NRA

Winning the gun violence argument

America's intersection of children and guns

America’s intersection of children and guns

After yet another mass shooting in America, this time in San Bernardino, California, the debate over what to do about gun violence has been rekindled. However, when both sides simply fall back into their standard arguments, there’s no reason to believe that a different result will occur. To achieve a different outcome, we need some new thinking and new language. Here’s how the majority of Americans can win the argument to reduce gun violence:

The real American terrorists

Anti-NRA protest

Anti-NRA protest

We have a terrorism problem in America, and it isn’t Syrian refugees. The FBI defines “domestic terrorism” as actions that:

  • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

Right wing domestic terrorist acts, such as the recent shootings at the Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, as well as four arsons in 74 days at other Planned Parenthood clinics, meet the definition. The same can be said about previous politically-motivated killings and attacks, such as the shooting of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis, bombings, arson and attacks on abortion clinics, the attacks on black churches and their members, the shootings at the Sikkh temple in Wisconsin, attacks on mosques and Islamic centers, and attacks on LBGT Americans.

Fighting the culture war in Nevada

The politics of plastic straws

The politics of plastic straws

Last week in Nevada, we asked the waitress not to give us straws in our soft drinks. The drinks didn’t need to be stirred, and we didn’t need to waste more plastic that ends up in a landfill or a floating trash archipelago in the ocean. “Oh, you’re one of them,” said the waitress. We could only conclude that “one of them” meant a hippie liberal environmentalist who should be mocked for wanting to conserve our resources. We concluded that our waitress is a conservative who might be brainwashed by Republican talking points from Fox News and other sources that sheath their pro-corporate messages behind a veil of “individual freedom” and an “us versus them” mentality.

Conference call on vaccines with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

German measles (rubella) vaccination, Nagpur, India

German measles (rubella) vaccination, Nagpur, India

Last Tuesday, MomsRising.org held a conference call featuring U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who spoke about measles vaccines. The call also featured Dr. Bruce Gellen, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Amanda Cohen of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

MomsRising.org focuses on children’s and family health issues, including working for common-sense gun safety laws. Thus, the group formed a natural pairing with Gen. Murthy, whose nomination for Surgeon General was delayed for more than a year by pressure from the National Rifle Association, after Murthy stated that “guns are a health care issue.” Indeed, it took an ebola outbreak and the beginning of a measles outbreak traced to Disneyland in California to focus attention on the contradiction between Republican fear-mongering and the lack of a U.S. Surgeon General. The U.S. Senate finally confirmed Murthy, along with other Executive Branch nominees last December, during the lame duck session of Congress, and only as a result of the Democrats having changed Senate rules in November 2013 to prevent filibustering Executive Branch nominees.

Jeb Bush feels the heat of the campaign kitchen

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush being introduced at World Affairs Council of Philadelphia in 2012

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush being introduced at World Affairs Council of Philadelphia in 2012

Former Florida Governor John E. “Jeb” Bush has not even officially announced that he is running for President yet, but already Bush finds himself under attack. Among the early attacks against Bush are:

Everytown for Gun Safety takes on NRA with ad focusing on moms

Mayors against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have joined forces to form Everytown for Gun Safety, a new group dedicated to fighting the National Rifle Association to campaign for sensible gun laws. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting his name, and at least $50 million of his money, into Everytown’s campaign.

Taking “freedom” back

Messaging Matters2

The hottest Republican buzzword today is “freedom.” It shows up in NRA talking points, names of groups like FreedomWorks, names of bills like South Carolina’s Firearms Freedom Act, which would exempt guns manufactured and used in South Carolina from federal gun safety laws, and elsewhere. That’s because, like motherhood and apple pie, everyone favors “freedom.” Moreover, the word is designed to root into voters’ subconscious to make the talking points, organizations and bills more appealing. It’s brainwashing. If you doubt that, check out how the right-wing National Taxpayers Union counted the number of times the word “freedom” appeared in the Democrats’ 2009 health care bill. But Democrats are the true defenders of freedom, if only they would go on offense and say so. Here’s how:

Second Amendment and other constitutional rights are not absolute

Messaging Matters2

In the current gun violence debate, the National Rifle Association and its supporters often cite the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for their opposition to sensible gun safety laws. However, as a guest poster recently wrote here, such a view falsely turns the Second Amendment into a “super right.” In fact, most individual rights under the U.S. Constitution, including the Second Amendment and other amendments in the Bill of Rights, are not so absolute; rather, they are subject to reasonable limits. Here is a brief and partial list of examples:

After Aurora Shootings, How About a Gun Law Shock Doctrine?

Another six months, another tragic shooting. The Aurora, Colorado theater shootings were the 22nd such incident since and including the 1999 Columbine shootings. In the mainstream corporate media, especially the television and cable “news” networks, we hearĀ the cliche “our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy.” In addition to that sentiment, now is when we should push for real solutions to America’s gun violence epidemic, such as strengthening the nation’s gun laws. Call it the “Gun Law Shock Doctrine.”