Welcome to NRA Newspeak — Civil Terrorism
When you think the NRA can’t get any crazier, they just sink farther toward the bottom of the swamp. They recently named Oliver North (Yes, the Iran-Contra North) as their president. I must admit, he and Wayne LaPierre make a lovely couple, and he will undoubtedly aid in building an even greater fire under the NRA membership and its cronies.
And, he like LaPierre, has continued the effort to “re-frame” the conflict with proponents of greater firearm safety. LaPierre claims firearm safety activists are “gun-grabbers” aimed at disarming the populace so that all their numerous freedoms can be whisked away by these closet authoritarians. Ollie North takes the traditional NRA rhetoric even farther. He trudges even deeper in the authoritarian muck of “Newspeak.”
Here is what North says about the Parkland activists.
“They call them activists. That’s what they’re calling themselves. They’re not activists — this is civil terrorism. This is the kind of thing that’s never been seen against a civil rights organization in America, …” [emphasis added]
So, for the NRA these advocates for greater firearm safety are terrorists, an American Al Qaeda armed with iPhones and Instagram, while fortified by Starbucks Frappuccino. We have
“domestic terrorism”, and we have “international terrorism.” Both involve acts of violence for political or social ends, the modifier indicates who engages in the terrorism.
From the context, when North coins our latest Newspeak term, “civil terrorism,” he seems to mean someone is disagreeing with him and actively demonstrating that disagreement. Strangely, I thought we already had that territory covered quite well for the last two hundred years or so with the term “free speech.”
And, these young scoundrels are attacking a “civil rights” organization? I may have missed it, but is there going to be a march across the bridge at Selma by a bunch of white guys wearing camo and tactical vests, while they heft their assault rifles and have their pistols strapped to their thighs?
The NRA is only a civil rights organization only if the constitution guarantees the right “for anybody to have any firearm, anytime and anywhere.” Failing that, the NRA and its Institute for Legislative Action are just stooges of the firearms industries and their pawns, a crowd of fringe loonies who think that they need to be prepared to take down the “black helicopters.”
In reality, these young activists are kids who have spent most of their school years doing active shooter drills, and they want to be protected from the horrifyingly bloody havoc that can be wreaked so easily on them under our current, failing commitment to firearm safety.
When a child, I lived in a town with a Strategic Air Command base complete with B-52s and atomic bombs. Every year the local newspaper would “crow” about how important our stretch of dry Texas plains was because of its dubious honor of being so high up on the Russkies hit list come Armageddon.
I remember the air raid drills in elementary school, all of which had us doing meaningless, ineffectual things like crouching down under our desks or huddling in hallways with no windows. It was the public-school version of “best to put your head between your legs ‘cause you need to kiss your ass goodbye.”
I also remember, during my youth, frequently hearing sonic booms and pausing for a moment. In that pause, I was wondering if the end of the world had just begun. Silly of me, of course. I wouldn’t have had no time for such thoughts in the real thing. I would have become a crispy critter the instant the first atomic weapon obliterated our air base and our city.
It is those years in my youth that hearten me about the young people seeking greater firearm safety. As I lived for years with the unspeakable horrors of nuclear war at the edge of my consciousness, they have lived for many of their impressionable years under the horrific threat of a mass shooting. Through the internet, many of them have now seen their fears realized in those painful smart phone videos, messages, and phone calls from Parkland. They can break your heart and turn you into an activist.
That reality is one of the reasons that I think the “March for our Lives” has a reasonable chance of becoming a “movement rather than a moment.” Parkland and its widely distributed imagery may transform those inchoate fears of the younger generation and their parents into purposive political action.
If that happens, then the nation will owe a tremendous debt to these youth for doing what we did not, could not, or simply would not do.