This is not the best time in the United States to borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbors. Nor is it safe to be a Jehovah’s Witness door ringer. Or a cookie-selling Girl Scout. If your basketball rolls into an adjoining yard, do not under any circumstances retrieve it. Do not, I’m warning you, pull into the wrong driveway either. The mistake might cost you your life.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has fueled this current atmosphere of fear that, in fact, belies the actual reality of life in America. Why does the organization do this? To cater to its puppet masters, the gun manufacturers. The NRA cares not a whit for us — especially our children, who now die more from gun violence than any other means. The one thing the NRA does care deeply about is the continued sales of military assault weapons.
Who cannot help but notice whenever a Democrat wins a national election or even dares to suggest sensible gun control measures that, on cue, the NRA spits out talking points to its members with the idea that government is coming for your guns?
That has happened exactly never.
The more that the NRA’s members buy into this red alert message, the more they will be inclined to rush out to any one of America’s thousands of gun stores to lock and load with the latest Glock or Ak 47.
Selected images of looters rampaging through our cities are shown repeatedly on disgraced cable stations like Fox News to accompany the great replacement narrative that the equally disgraced (and now unemployed) Tucker Carlson hyped repeatedly.
So is it any wonder that Andrew D. Lester, an 84-year-old Missouri man who, according to the New York Times, “spent considerable time at home…watching conservative news programs at high volume” and “had embraced right-wing conspiracy theories,” would be armed and waiting for that “stand your ground” moment when the Carlson-NRA myth would manifest itself at his door in the person of a 16-year-old Black kid who mistakenly came to his house to pick up his siblings?
The definition of the “stand your ground” law in Missouri is similar in language to 26 other states: “A person may…use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person….”
In other words, shoot first, get a sharp lawyer, and use the vague definition of that law as your get-out-of-jail card.
As a lobbyist for companies such as Remington, Bushmaster, Colt, and too many others that sell assault people-killers and have blood on their hands, the NRA has fashioned a dystopian world in which the goal is to arm every American with military-style weapons that literally dissolve its victims.
The 9, 10, and 11-year-olds massacred in Uvalde, Texas, were so mutilated by an AR-15 that they had to be identified by DNA. As The Washington Post reported, “A single bullet lands with a shock wave intense enough to blow apart a skull and demolish vital organs. The impact is even more acute on the compact body of a small child.” AR-15s fire “a barrage of 30 or even 100 [bullets] in rapid succession.”
These rifles have only one purpose: to rapidly slaughter other human beings.
So when a father in gun-happy Texas kindly asks his neighbor to stop firing his AR-15 so his baby can sleep, well, that neighbor (allegedly) wanted to see what his gun could really do, that is, how fast he could take the lives of five members of that family.
This was the seventh such incident in April of Americans being shot during innocent, harmless encounters with gun owners.
Was the Texas shooter mentally ill? Or was he radicalized by the propaganda from the NRA and right-wing gun peddlers like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, who proudly display their Ak 47 lapel pins like sick merit badges?
(Note that the victims in this latest mass shooting in Texas came from Honduras, probably to escape from the gang violence that plagues that country — gangs like MS-13 that originated in Los Angeles and then, when its gang members were deported, imported their violence to Central America. Little did they know just how violent the United States is.)
I picture our country full of Andrew D. Lesters, rocking back and forth in La-Z-boys, televisions tuned full-throttle to Fox News, Newsmax, or some conspiracy-laden alt network, ingesting the NRA propaganda like hungry addicts, long rifles and boxes of ammo at the ready.
Is this part of a “well-regulated militia,” to quote the outdated Second Amendment? Or is it, instead, an unregulated mob of paranoid, angry vigilantes waiting for that one chance to try out their weaponry on anyone who dares to cross their paths?
Sadly, this is America, circa 2023, an armed and fearful nation destroying itself in a circular firing squad, one senseless tragedy at a time.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.