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June 1, 2009

The Power of Doubt

Recently, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held its annual convention in Phoenix, and I chanced upon an interesting quote from a Remington employee who ran a booth at the gun expo there. Speaking about the NRA’s view on President Obama, he said, “We have our doubts and doubt is that makes this organization thrive.”

Just three days later, NRA Board Member Ted Nugent published an editorial in the Waco Tribune that seemed to confirm this theory by elevating doubt (or “fear,” if you prefer) to a new level.

“Water is essential to life … A certain lunatic fringe is always conspiring to ban guns, something else we need to live,” Nugent said, without offering any concrete examples of such proposals (or perhaps Mr. Nugent simply believes an assault weapon is as essential to human life as oxygen).

But Nugent wasn’t done there... He then described the NRA’s annual convention as “a great celebration of good over evil,” thereby condemning not only gun violence prevention organizations, but also the thousands of victims and survivors of gun violence across the country who actively advocate for tougher gun laws. That includes survivors of the Virginia Tech shootings and family members of the victims in that tragedy, 50 of whom recently wrote the Richmond Times to urge legislators to close the Gun Show Loophole, a proposal the NRA adamantly opposes.

Nugent’s doubts also extended to our nation’s law enforcement officers. “All the evidence tells us that calling 9-1-1 is a joke,” he states. “We’ll tell authorities to bring a dustpan and a mop to clean up the dead monster we just shot.”

“Peace and love will get you killed,” Nugent concluded, not bothering to explain why the United States, with its weak gun laws, has higher rates of homicide than virtually every other industrialized democracy in the world.

Doubts? I have my own, particularly in regards to the mental health of the NRA’s celebrity spokesmen.

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