After listening to Wayne LaPierre’s thoughful remarks to advance the respectful discussion of the role of guns in our society . . .

<giggles>

Nope, I just can’t do it.

I wanted to try not to laugh at LaPierre’s comments, but that’s not possible, not even with a 24 hour waiting period. Watching him speak yesterday, I alternated between laughter and tears, as I witnessed a sad spectacle of a man so blind to the real world, so callous as to want to exploit tragedy for commercial gain, or both.

It started even before LaPierre came to the microphone. David Keene, the president of the NRA, ended his introduction of LaPierre like this:

And at the end of this conference we will not be taking questions, but next week we will be available to any of you who are interested in talking about these or other issues of interest to you, so contact us, please, at that point.

Pay attention, please, says Keene. We are in control, not you. We decide when we (or anyone else) should talk about these things, we decide who should talk about these things, and we decide whether we will deign to allow you to ask questions. As for answers, well, we’ll get back to you. Maybe. If we think you are worthy of a response. And if you phrase your question nicely. So mind your manners, you nasty reporters.

Can you say “control issues”? Sure you can . . .

On to LaPierre, who apparently lives in a world of demons:

The truth is, that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters. People that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons, that no sane person can every [sic] possibly comprehend them. They walk among us every single day . . .

And you know what makes people into monsters and demons? Video games. Music videos. Evil media people.

A child growing up in America today witnesses 16,000 murders, and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18. And, throughout it all, too many in the national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.

Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize gun owners.

And if anyone knows about failing to face up to his own moral failings, it’s Wayne LaPierre. If anyone knows about demonizing the Other, it’s Wayne LaPierre.

But let’s go on, shall we? LaPierre’s grip on reality just gets worse . . .

It’s now time for us to assume responsibility for our schools. The only way — the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Again with the monsters?

Look at that last line again:

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Um, no.

Back in the day, San Franciscan Dan White was a pretty good guy. He was a former US Army sergeant, security guard, police officer, firefighter, and ultimately an elected member of the SF Board of Supervisors. He went to church, loved his family, and all that. And when he got into a big disagreement with then-mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, he brought a gun to city hall — a place crawling with other good guys with guns –  and that good guy with a gun killed both of them.

Much more recently, Jovon Belcher was a pretty good guy. He had a nice job playing football for the KC Chiefs, which he got after playing football at a small college and going undrafted. He worked hard to convince the Chiefs that he could play with the big guys, and it paid off. He had a girlfriend, and a new baby that he loved. He was a religious guy (though it’s hard to go to church on Sunday morning when you have to be at work). Sure, he and Kasandra had their issues, and they argued, but who doesn’t argue? But a couple of weeks ago, in the midst of one such argument, the police reports describe what happened when that good guy pulled out one of the eight guns in their home . . .

When Belcher arrived home, an argument broke out with Perkins. Shepherd [Belcher's mother] overheard the shouting but didn’t intervene because Perkins had previously accused her of “interfering.”

After Shepherd heard gunshots, she ran to the bedroom and saw Belcher kneeling next to Perkins’ body, saying he was sorry. He kissed Perkins, his daughter and his mother and repeatedly apologized. He backed his Bentley out of the driveway, then got out, pulled off his sweatshirt and threw it in some bushes. He then drove to Arrowhead. . . .

Once at Arrowhead, Belcher encountered Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.

“I’m sorry, Scott,” he said. “I’ve done a bad thing to my girlfriend already. I want to talk with (linebackers coach Gary) Gibbs and Romeo.”

Pioli then called the coaches to the parking lot. A security guard tried to stop them, but the coaches insisted. Despite their pleas for Belcher to put down the gun, Belcher only briefly lowered the Beretta .40-caliber handgun to chamber a round. He then walked away.

Crennel raised both his hands, pleading with Belcher to put the gun down. “You’re taking the easy way out!” Crennel yelled.

Belcher glanced at an approaching police officer , then knelt behind a minivan, made the sign of the cross on his chest with his left hand and fired a bullet into his head above his right ear.

Good guys blinded with anger do bad things. Good guys blinded with anger who have guns at hand kill people. Some, like Belcher, are so devastated by what they did that they turn the gun on themselves, adding one more death to the already ugly situation.

If you are in an intimate relationship with someone you feel threatened enough by that you think you need to get a gun, you don’t need to get a gun. You need to get the hell out of there and get some help. You don’t have to deal with this all by yourself. Without guns present, domestic violence is bad enough, with broken bones, bruises, and worse; with guns present, domestic violence leaves people dead.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Or, you know, keeping the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place. Even making it more difficult to get would stop some folks. Make them go find a back alley if they want to buy a gun under the table, instead of putting up big ads for a gun show with no background checks.

I’ve been talking about guns with some other pastor friends of mine — friends who hunt. After listening to them, and then LaPierre’s comments, I was struck by the difference in tone when it comes to emotion. If I’m out hunting, my friends told me, the last thing I need is to let my emotions take over. If I’m consumed by frustration about the argument at last night’s council meeting, I’m not going to hit what I’m aiming at. If I’m so excited by the big buck that’s just wandered into the meadow, I’m not going to hit it. I might shoot too soon in my excitement, or make some noise as I’m waiting for the buck to come closer, and my emotions ruined the hunt. Shorter hunting friends: “Emotions and guns are a bad mix.”

LaPierre, on the other hand, is nothing but emotion. Be afraid, he said, over and over again. Be afraid for yourself, be afraid for our nation, and be especially afraid for our kids.

If we truly cherish our kids, more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible. And that security is only available with properly trained, armed good guys.

Which brings us back to Dan White, a very properly trained good guy — right up until he killed George Moscone and Harvey Milk.

There’s going to be a lot of time for talk, and debate later. This is a time this is a day for decisive action.

Ready. Shoot. Aim.

There you have the new motto of the NRA, provided by Wayne LaPierre, Hunter of Demons and Fearmonger in Chief.

God help us all.

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h/t for photo of Wayne LaPierre at CPAC to Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license.