Wayne LaPierre, the almost comically villainous head of the National Rifle Association, has a new cover story out in the election issue of NRA publication America's First Freedom. With just a few days left until the polls open, LaPierre is doing his best to mobilize his audience of gun-clutching paranoiacs the only way he knows how: going full crazy.
If you've ever wanted to gaze directly into the maw of madness and despair, well then! LaPierre's article will be a treat for you. It breathlessly begins "Brace yourself. You won't hear about this from the mainstream media" and goes rapidly downhill from there. It's all about the imminent chaos brewing across our country that the AK-toting forces of order need to prepare themselves for - sort of like a zombie apocalypse, except instead of zombies it's terrorists, illegals, commies and any other number of code words for people of a certain complexion.
Saying that chaos is "at our door," it's accompanied by ads urging NRA members to "Vote your guns in November." If you support gun rights, you have to "Vote to save us all" from "Obama's last two years."
Threat like what, exactly? There's the possibility that an EMP could go off in a major city, or even cause a national blackout that could kill "as much as 90 percent of the population." Apparently, this would also be a great time for knife-wielding ISIS members to sneak into your house and stab you.
But the fun doesn't stop there. Apparently, the EMP is just another one of many situations which you'll only be able to avoid by backing unrestricted firearms ownership for all Americans. There's cyber attacks and random murders, for example:
Then there's Mexican drug cartels, "foreign" terrorists, "actors" working for America's enemies, and common muggers.
LaPierre is very upset that the media is playing down these threats to civilization:
Oh, and there's plenty of good-old fashioned dog whistles as well:
Even if you take terrorists and criminals out of the picture, chaos is an ever-present danger to Americans today—especially when you factor in the undercurrent of social unrest that seethes beneath the surface of much of our society. How many times have we seen peaceful protests in this country degenerate into riots, looting, shootings, arsons and worse? How many times have we seen crowds turn into angry mobs after court decisions they didn't like, sports team defeats they felt were unfair, natural disasters that collapsed civil order — or just for the sheer hell of it?
Boy, I wonder who LaPierre's talking about. Hint: They're not the kind of people you see very much at Republican rallies.
Finally, there's endless border-security fetishism, including a rant about 36,000 illegal aliens convicted of serious crimes "embedded throughout our society" and the tens of thousands of literal terrorists who have "known for 25 years that our southern border is so porous and unprotected that crossing into the U.S. is like crossing the street." There's no mention of Ebola, thank god, but you know.
The NRA hopes that its members will actually believe that America is teetering on the precipice of a Mad Max-esque dystopian meltdown into a froth of racial violence and total anarchy, and that its upstanding white citizens need to arm themselves to the teeth to survive. It's not alone in this crazy quest; the NRA has been joined by countless Republicans seeking to scare constituents into believing ISIS, Ebola, the "unsecured" Southern border and diminishing gun rights are all immediate threats to their continued longevity. For example, Scott Brown ran this ridiculous ad claiming ISIS threatens to "cause the collapse of our country":
The NRCC resorted to this despicably racist attack ad implying Nebraska Democrat Brad Ashford's policies will lead directly to crazy-black-guy-killing-sprees:
Then there's people like dumbass far-right clown James O'Keefe, who proved we are all going to die soon by sneaking big plastic bags labeled "RICIN" across the Great Lakes. He also suggested he could have had Ebola the whole time. You know, just a regular afternoon for a terrorist.
The NRA wants you to believe these completely ludicrous nightmare scenarios warrant mass firearms ownership - because an armed society will be the only way we can maintain order. But the truth is that having a lot of scared, heavily armed and mostly right-wing Americans convinced the end is nigh running around during any of these scenarios would be its own disaster. Mother Jones' Dave Gilson breaks down how having guns around almost invariably makes you less safe:
- For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home.
- In one survey, nearly 1% of Americans reported using guns to defend themselves or their property. However, a closer look at their claims found that more than 50%involved using guns in an aggressive manner, such as escalating an argument.
- A Philadelphia study found that the odds of an assault victim being shot were 4.5 times greater if he carried a gun. His odds of being killed were 4.2 times greater.
- Around 80% of gun owners are men. On average they own 7.9 guns each.
In short, guns are much more likely to be used to kill or injure people than to maintain any semblance of actual order. Roving gangs of heavily armed white dudes are not going to be the solution to any national crises. Try shooting Ebola or "social unrest."
But don't expect the NRA to ease up on the fearmongering. How do you debate people who literally believe ISIS might be sneaking over the border, knives in hand, and the only way to prevent them from killing your family is to stock up on guns and ammo? You can't." With elections right around the corner, the NRA is trying their damndest to translate terror into victory in the ballot box. And considering how far to the right groups like the NRA are already pushing the national agenda, it's only going to get worse.