The pro-gun violence lobby has a very successful playbook it uses after every mass shooting. They’ve used it so many times in the last decade it’s become something of a running morbid joke: Thoughts and Prayers, it’s too soon, stop politicizing a tragedy, why do you hate our freedom?, you’re an un-American gun-grabber. Rinse and repeat with every shooting.
This combination of delay tactics and character assassination has allowed the NRA and Republicans aided by Fox News, AM Hate Radio, right wing hate sites and a plethora of useful idiots on social media, to bring the conversation about gun violence to a screeching halt for years even as the bodies pile up. But the Parkland shooting is becoming a problem for the side used to viciously attacking the people calling for regulations instead of debating the issues in good faith. The students of Parkland are irritatingly articulate, charismatic, extremely driven, and worst of all, have an untouchable moral high ground.
It’s been 9 days since the shooting and not only are we still talking about gun control, which is roughly a week longer than usual, it’s having a real world impact:
Two major companies, Enterprise Holdings Inc. and First National Bank of Omaha ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association Thursday as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picked up steam.
Enterprise is the parent company of three car-rental brands: Enterprise, Alamo and National. The arrangement offered discounts to NRA members.
First National Bank of Omaha, one of the country’s largest privately held bank, announced the end of a credit-card co-branding deal with the NRA.
That’s only going to get worse as time goes on and the NRA continues to deliver its usual tone deaf pronouncements about how it opposes any and all gun legislation. Expect to see more divestment from the NRA and gun manufacturers. It’s not going to hurt the NRA’s bottom line enough to make it stop, it is after all, wholly owned by the gun industry these days, but it will reverse the spread of toxic gun culture and that is where the real danger lies.
The reason for the NRA’s absolutist stance on guns is that it’s all smoke and mirrors; a house of cards. They’ve convinced the right that unrestricted access to guns is central to being American and, for the religious right, being Christian. The premise is that any law making it even the tiniest bit harder to buy a gun will immediately lead to tyranny and concentration camps for conservatives.
The reality is that the they know full well that the epidemic of gun violence flows directly from the ease of gun access. The second the public sees that less guns reduces gun violence without the long promised tyranny, there will be no way to stop the wave of legislation banning assault rifles and making handguns far more difficult to purchase and own. The Second Amendment will be fully intact but the irresponsible free for all on our streets will be over and the so will the blood profits of the gun industry.
To stop that, the NRA is going to go to war. They’ve been trying to smear the students of Parkland but it hasn’t been working. Calling them “crisis actors” and “opportunists” may play well with the nastiest, most brutish element of the right but it’s going over like a lead balloon with the rest of the country. They are, however, just getting started.
The NRA and their minions are going to terrorize these kids. They’re going to comb through their social media looking for anything to make them look less sympathetic. Did one of them smoke pot? Drink a beer? We’re going to hear about it soon enough. Did they like Hillary or Bernie? Well there you go, they’re Democrats and can’t be trusted. Did one of their uncles break a law once? Does one of their mothers have a DUI from 10 years ago? Is that girl with the bald head a lesbian or something?! We’re going to find out in excruciating detail.
The right relies on the politics of personal destruction more than anything else.
And if they can’t dig up any dirt, they’ll just invent it. They’ll have the fringe sites like Infowars and Breitbart “find” mud and fling it which Fox News will breathlessly report at the top of their lungs. When it turns out to not be true, they’ll shrug and throw the next glob of mud and move on, hoping to either break the will of the Parkland students or bury them under so much noise and phony controversies that no one can hear them anymore.
At the same time, the number of death and rape threats will multiply exponentially because the right excels at terrorizing those they hate. Bullying is in their DNA and they’re going to get plenty of encouragement from the NRA. Remember, these are the “patriots” who tell gun owners to meet liberals with a clenched fist because when they’re losing, threatening violence is what the right always resorts to.
I hope the Parkland students and all the students they’ve inspired are ready for the nightmare heading their way. A multibillion dollar industry of death feels threatened and they won’t hesitate to destroy the lives of a bunch of teens to protect their profits. The saddest part about that is how many white Republicans voters will lustily cheer them on as they do it because they’ve fully bought into the propaganda that guns are more important than anything, including the lives of our children.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.