The NRA feeds our fears, the fast track to political power in America

Summary: Both Left and Right motivate us by fear. They’re professionals at propaganda and manipulation. They choose fear as a theme for good reason: because it works. We’ve looked at many examples from the Left (see the links in the last section). Today we look at an unusually vivid example from the Right. Our weakness makes us easy to lead. But we can do better. Let’s not let fear so easily guide us. The path to reform starts with each of us, as individuals.

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”
— Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757)

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Another day in America, another mass shooting. Today’s is in Cobb, GA. Six casualties, plus the dead gunman. This does not happen in other developed nations. The NRA’s CEO explains why it happens so often in America.

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Fear by Van Gogh

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Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA

Speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)
6 April 2014

Much of this speech is inspiration and strikes home truths; I wish others would echo his call to action in defense of America. Much is factually incorrect (e.g., crime rates have been falling for 2 decades). Much is quite mad. It’s 100% professional-quality fear-mongering, by a powerful organization with a steel grip on an important piece of US public policy

See the video.  Excerpt from the transcript:

Freedom has never needed our defense more than now. Almost everywhere you look, something has gone wrong. You feel it in your heart, you know it in your gut. Something has gone wrong. The core values we believe in, the things we care about most, are changing. Eroding. Our right to speak. Our right to gather. Our right to privacy. The freedom to work, and practice our religion, and raise and protect our families the way we see fit.

… They are core freedoms. The core values that have always defined us as a nation and we feel them — we feel them — slipping away. All across America, everywhere I go, people come up to me and say, “Wayne, I’ve never been worried about this country — until now.” Not with anger, but with sadness in their eyes.

… We fear for the safety of our families — it’s why neighborhood streets that were once filled with bicycles and skateboards, laughter in the air, now sit empty and silent. In virtually every way, for the things we care about most, we feel profound loss.

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Fear: Sinatra

We are sad not because we fear something IS going wrong , but because we know something already HAS gone wrong. It’s why more and more Americans are buying firearms and ammunition — not to cause trouble, but because we sense that America is already IN trouble. We know that, sooner or later, reckless government actions and policies have consequences. That when government corrupts the truth and breaks faith with the American people, the entire fabric of our society — everything we believe in and count on — is in jeopardy.

… The IRS is now a weapon. A weapon to punish anyone who disagrees with them, and that mean s every one of you. They try to regulate our religion . They collect our cell phone and email data. They give us Solyndra, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, massive unemployment, a debt that will choke our grandchildren and one executive order on top of another.

Fear dark, use light

… We trust our freedom. In this uncertain world, surrounded by lies and corruption, there is no greater freedom than the right to survive , to protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns and handguns we want . We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all. I ask you. Do you trust this government to protect you?

We are on our own. That is a certainty, no less certain than the absolute truth — a fact the powerful political and media elites continue to deny, just as sure as they would deny our right to save our very lives. The life or death truth that when you’re on your own, the surest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun! …

He concluded with …

(a) a recruiting pitch:

NRA members — those great Americans — THEY are the real muscle of NRA’s clout. Become one of THEM. … Join the NRA movement to reclaim our nation and restore our core American values.

(b) And the lyrics “I’m bulletproof, nothin’ to lose, fire away, fire away” from David Guetta’s “Titanium Lyrics”:
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Some facts about the plague of gun violence in America

From the website of the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence:

We lose on average 32 people a day to gun murders in the U.S.

The homicide rate in the U.S. is 6.9 times higher than 22 other high-income, high population countries, combined.

» Click here for a list of mass shootings 2005 2012. {64 pages long!}

For More Information about fear

(a)  Posts about gun rights

Fear Wolf

(b) Samples of the countless articles about the Left’s most recent predictions of doom:

  1. New UN Climate Report: We’re All Doomed“, Jamie Condliffe, Gizmodo, 31 March 2014
  2. Human extinction: is it possible?“, Julian Cribb, The Age, 2 April 2014

(c)  Posts about examples of the Left’s appeals to fear:

  1. Propaganda: the eco-fable of Easter Island, 4 February 2010
  2. The North Pole is now a lake! Are you afraid yet?, 3 August 2013
  3. The IPCC rebukes the climate doomsters. Will we listen?,
    15 October 2013
  4. Apocalyptic thinking on the Left about climate change risks burning their credibility, 4 February 2014
  5. A warning about the end of the world (doomster scenario #137), 23 March 2014

(d)  Posts about the Right’s appears to fear:

  1. Today’s conservative doomster warning (ludicrous but fun), 1 August 2010
  2. Hatred and fear of Islam – of Moslems – is understandable. But are there hidden forces at work?, 3 August 2010
  3. About the mystery missile launch (America the fearful, chapter XX), 10 November 2011
  4. Inciting fear of inflation in our minds for political gain (we are easily led), 28 February 2011
  5. Danger, America! Wet your pants in fear of China!, 4 June 2013

(e)  Posts about fear in America:

  1. Who lies to us the most? Left or Right?, 25 February 2013
  2. Compare our New America to the America-that-once-was (a great nation), 12 June 2013
  3. A vision of a perilous future for us all, and recommendations to avoid it, 6 August 2013

A new national motto for a dangerous 21st Century

Only a calm cold perspective will allow us to navigate among so many perils.
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No Fear

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21 thoughts on “The NRA feeds our fears, the fast track to political power in America

  1. “Some facts about the plague of gun violence in America”

    “We lose on average 32 people a day to gun murders in the U.S.”

    According to criminologists 6849 use firearms for self-defense every day.

    “The homicide rate in the U.S. is 6.9 times higher than 22 other high-income, high population countries”

    Cherry picking! It has been found that there is no correlation between firearms ownership and homicide and suicide rates, and many of the countries with the strictest firearms prohibitions have higher homicide and suicide rates than nations without such restrictions.

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

    “Click here for a list of mass shootings 2005 2012.”
    James Alan Fox, a noted anti gun criminologist states in an August 2012 editorial in the Boston Globe; “No Increase in Mass shootings”, that based on data extracted from official police reports to the FBI, shows annual incident, offender and victim tallies for gun homicides in which at least four people were murdered. Over the thirty-year time frame, an average of about 20 mass murders have occurred annually in the United States with an average death toll of about 100 per year.
    Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.
    In an NPR interview on the subject of mass shootings, Jack Levin a sociologist and criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston, was asked “Are people right to believe that this kind of violence is increasing?”
    Levin replied “But the truth is that there’s still about 20 mass killings every year in this country, and that has been true for decades.”

    Foreign Mass Shootings

    April 26, 2002 – GERMANY – In Erfurt, eastern Germany, 19-year-old Robert Steinhauser killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two pupils and a policeman at the Gutenberg Gymnasium, before killing himself.

November 7, 2007 – FINLAND – Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed six fellow students, the school nurse and the principal and himself

September 23, 2008 – FINLAND – Student Matti Saari opened fire in a vocational school in Kauhajoki in northwest Finland, killing nine other students 

March 11, 2009 – GERMANY – A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black combat gear killed nine students and three teachers at a school near Stuttgart. Two additional passers-by were killed and two policemen seriously injured, bringing the death toll to 16 including the gunman.

June 2, 2010 – BRITAIN – Gunman Derrick Bird opened fire on people in towns across the rural county of Cumbria. Twelve people were killed and 11 injured which was the same number of casualties as in the Aurora theater shooting.
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    He didn’t have an “assault weapon”.
He didn’t have 6,000 rounds of ammunition.
He didn’t have a pump action shotgun.
He didn’t have two Glock handguns.
He didn’t have a 100 round magazine.

He had a 22 caliber bolt action rifle of the kind used to shoot squirrels, rabbits, and for target shooting.
    

August 30, 2010 – SLOVAKIA – A gunman shot dead six members of a Roma family and another woman in the Slovak capital Bratislava before killing himself. 

April 9, 2011 – NETHERLANDS – Tristan van der Vlis opened fire in the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, south of Amsterdam, killing six before turning the gun on himself.
    Please note that many of the nations have strict gun control.
    Now for some inconvenient facts.
    Our right to Keep and BEAR arms have been increasingly restored over last several years and more citizens are now free to carry firearms in more places since the year 1900. Yet, homicides, including homicides with firearms, as well as all other violent crime have been decreasing since 2006. Moreover, after a dramatic increase in firearms sales and ownership after the last Presidential election including an increase in first time firearms purchases and an increase in firearms carry permits, citizen disarmament zealots and organizations predicted that there would be a corresponding increase in homicides and other violent crime. However, the U.S. homicide rate decreased from 5.0 per 100,000 in 2009 to 4.8 per 100,000 in 2010, and 4.7 per 100,000 in 2011.

    In addition, two recent studies found that firearms homicides have dropped 49% since 1993.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-4

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/08/u-s-gun-homicides-have-dropped-since-1993-peak-report-says/

    In addition, Criminologists have found that U.S. citizens use firearms for self-defense 2.5 million times annually, and for every life that is lost to firearms violence 65 are saved in self-defense. Also, the National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms, NSPOF, conducted in 1994 by the Chiltons polling firm for the Police Foundation on a research grant from the National Institute of Justice. NSPOF projected 4.7 million DGU per year by 1.5 million individuals after weighting to eliminate false positives.

    Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern) Guns and Violence Symposium, vol. 86, no. 1, 1995: 150.

    Suter E. “Guns in the Medical Literature – A Failure of Peer
Review.” Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. March 1994; 83: 133-48.

    “Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms.” Research in Brief, United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice

    It should be noted that citizens use firearms tens of thousands of times a day for other lawful purposes like recreational, sport, and competitive shooting. Shooting is an NCAA and Olympic sport as well as in 4H, ROTC/JROTC, Boy Scouts, etc. Then there is hunting and collecting. With all of this taken into account is obvious that the safe and lawful use of firearms far outnumber the unsafe and illegal use of firearms.

    Fear and deception is the only thing in the playbook of citizen disarmament zealots, their organizations, their media allies, and their apologists, and this article is an example of that. The Editor of the Fabius accuses the NRA of “Feeding on our fears,” and then they exercise on some fear mongering of their own.

    The fact is “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    1. William,

      What a weird comment. Your blizzard of assertions and trivia does not obscure the fact that the US has by far the highest murder (intentional homicide) rate of our peers at 4.8 per year per 100,000. Little Ireland is 4.2 (?). Then the big drop, with the Nordic nations at ~2.2, with everybody else below that.

      As for your lists of incidents, that is propaganda for children. Yes, other nations have mass killing rates above zero. Nobody says that our peers are Heaven.

    2. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website, Thank you for your response. You wrote “Your blizzard of assertions and trivia does not obscure the fact that the US has by far the highest murder (intentional homicide) rate of our peers at 4.8 per year per 100,000.

      No, I didn’t cite trivia. These are the inconvenient facts that citizen disarmament zealots, their organizations, their media allies, and their apologists cannot deal with, you calling it trivia only confirms that.

      Little Ireland is 4.2 (?).”

      More cherry picking.

      Swiss citizens have easier access to firearms than citizens in many U.S. States and municipalities, and the Swiss encourage firearms competition in all age groups. Most towns in Switzerland have their own shooting ranges, and it is estimated that there are 1.2 to 3 million firearms in private ownership there. In fact, Switzerland requires every male over the age of 20 to serve in the military and they keep their fully automatic assault rifles and ammunition in their homes, so the casual observer would believe that Switzerland would have a high homicide rate. Yet their homicide rate remains extremely low, and their murder rate is an extremely low 0.7 per 100,000 according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC.) If access to firearms equal higher homicide rates than Switzerland would be one of the most dangerous nations in the world.

      Russia has extreme firearms prohibitions including a ban on civilian handguns so the casual observer would believe they would have a low homicide rate. Yet, there murder rate is 12 per 100,000 and a suicide rate of 21.7 per 100,000. By contrast, the U.S. murder rate is 4.8 per 100,000, and the U.S. suicide rate 11.8 per 100,000.

      El Salvador ranked 92nd in civilian firearms ownership (5.8) per 100, so the casual observer would believe that they would not be in the top fifty murder rate. However, they ranked first in the world murder rate at a staggering 71 per 100,000 in 2009, second in murder rate in 2010 with 66 per 100,000 in 2010, and second in 2011 at 71 per 100,000. Honduras ranked 88th in firearm ownership per 100 and they were first in 2011 world murder rate at a staggering 86 per 100,000.

      http://www.dsgl.org/Articles/oteromyths.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_rates

      “As for your lists of incidents, that is propaganda for children.”

      You cannot refit the facts that I spelled out, so calling them “Propaganda for children” is most unconvincing.

    3. You’ve made a cultural argument (i.e., guns are for sport), which is illogical. Culture should never trump safety.

      As for those countries with higher murder rates but lower arms ownership, it’s far likelier that economics is a bigger factor than gun ownership. Switzerland, as a rich country, has fewer citizens involved in petty crime because fewer citizens have incentive to join a gang, rob a bank, etc.

      The U.S. does not have the same economic set-up. Our wealth distribution is more like Britain’s, where, thanks to strict anti-gun legislation, the greatest criminal threat to Brits is knifing as opposed to having a pistol used on them in a mugging.

    4. It’s funny you mention Switzerland. They are a perfect of example of a well regulated militia, something we don’t have here. The gun nuts and the gun control nuts each like to quote the half of the second amendment they like and completely ignore the other half.

    5. MrB, You make some excellent points, but my point is and remains that citizens access to firearms does not necessarily equal a hight homicide rate.

      As for the U.K. their homicide rate was extremely low before they enacted their stringent firearms laws. The main reason they restricts their subjects access to firearms was not for crime control, but because their aristocracy feared the Bolshevik Revolution would spread to the U.K.

    6. Will Bill,

      While gun control in the UK goes back to 1824 and 1903, the near-prohibition of public gun ownership results from the 1968, 1988, and 1997 laws — the last two in response to mass shooting incidents.

      As a result the UK has among the lowest rates of gun deaths in the world.

    7. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website wrote, “As a result the UK has among the lowest rates of gun deaths in the world.”

      The UK had among the lowest homicide rates before all this gun control went into effect, but their gun control laws didn’t prevent a mass shooting.

      June 2, 2010 – BRITAIN – Gunman Derrick Bird opened fire on people in towns across the rural county of Cumbria. Twelve people were killed and 11 injured which was the same number of casualties as in the Aurora theater shooting.
      He didn’t have an “assault weapon”.
He didn’t have 6,000 rounds of ammunition.
He didn’t have a pump action shotgun.
He didn’t have two Glock handguns.
He didn’t have a 100 round magazine.

He had a 22 caliber bolt action rifle of the kind used to shoot squirrels, rabbits, and for target shooting.
      Once again, we go back to Switzerland where citizens where citizen have more access to weapons than in many US states including military weapons, but their homicide rate is below the UK’s homicide rate.
      Bottom line, citizen access to firearms does not equal higher homicide rates.

    8. William,

      The comparison with the Swiss is daft. They are a small (population half that of the LA metro area), culturally homogeneous, very old state.

      “but their gun control laws didn’t prevent a mass shooting.”

      I have seen many wingnut assertions among the 40 thousand comments on the FM website, but this is among the weirdest. What law reduces crime to zero? What medicine eliminates illness?

      The point of laws is to reduce the incidence of problems, not do miracles. Long term comparisons of social phenomena are problematic, but the shorter-term results look good;

      How Britain is becoming a SAFER place to live: Rate of murders and violent crime falling faster than anywhere in Western Europe.“, 24 April 2013 —

      * UK murder rate has fallen by half since 2003 and every region is safer.
      * Peace Index based on homicide, violent crime, weapons, disorder, police.

    9. “The comparison with the Swiss is daft.”

      Not at all! If citizen access to firearms equals hight homicide rates than Switzerland would be the most deadly nation on earth.
      “They are a small (population half that of the LA metro area), culturally homogeneous, very old state.”
      That is why we measure crime in homicides per 100,000 rather than a total of homicides. So, Switzerland still has a lower homicide RATE than the UK.
      Moreover, the homicide rate in the UK is still the same as when before they enacted their firearms laws.
      Next!

    10. Will,

      “If citizen access to firearms equals hight homicide rates than Switzerland would be the most deadly nation on earth.”

      Congratulations! You have learned that is no one factor that determines humor behavior. I can’t believe I have to tell you this. This is sad.

      “That is why we measure crime in homicides per 100,000 rather than a total of homicides. ”

      Think really hard and you might see the difference between a large nation & Switzerland is not just size.

      “Moreover, the homicide rate in the UK is still the same as when before they enacted their firearms laws.”

      Please read my last comment, and the Daily News article.

    11. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website, no, it is sad that citizen disarmament zealots, their organizations, their media allies, and their apologists believe that citizen’s access to firearms equal a higher homicide rate.

      “Think really hard and you might see the difference between a large nation & Switzerland is not just size.”

      Editor of the Fabius Maximus website, think really hard and you may begin to understand why we measure crime in terms of per 100,000 rather than a total. A nation with a higher population may have a much higher number of homicides but a much lower homicide rate than a nation with a smaller population and visa versa.

      Switzerland and Honduras have close to the same population with Honduras at 8,097,688 ranked 97th and Switzerland 8,077,833 ranked 98th.

      According to smallarmssurvey.org Switzerland ranks third (45.7) civilian firearms ownership per 100, and it unlikely that military weapons kept in Swiss homes are included since they are property of the Swiss Government, so the casual observer would believe that they would have a high homicide rate. However, once again, Switzerland’s murder rate was an extremely low 0.66 per 100,000 in 2009.

      Honduras ranked 88th in firearm ownership per 100, but they had the world’s highest homicide rate in 2011 at a staggering 86 per 100,000.

      Of course, the United States ranks third in population (320,050,716) and ranks first in civilian firearms ownership, but the U.S. has a homicide rate of 4.7 per 100,000.

      So there you have it. A nation with a smaller population, a higher number of civilian firearms per 100 and a lower homicide rate (Switzerland) than a lager population and with a lower number of civilian firearms per 100 (UK.) Then, two nations with near equal populations and one has an extremely high homicide rate and lower civilian firearms per 100 (Honduras) while the other has an extremely low homicide rate and a high number of civilian firearms per 100 (Switzerland) And last, a nation with a much smaller population and lower civilian firearms per 100 (Honduras) and a nation with a much higher population and higher firearms per 100 with a lower homicide rate (US.)

  2. While I will not doubt the facts about the number of mass murder attacks that have occurred in the US in the years gone by, and as a South African, coming from South Africa with a large gun ownership population, but no comparable incidents of mass murders, and therefore some what perplexed by the continuing recurrence thereof in the US. However I am led to believe that a large percentage of the killings ie single figure murders have been gang related. As opposed to the multiple murders your journalist refers to in the article.
    Could we, the uninitiated in respect of US gang versus other incidences of murder, have an article in this regard?

    1. Exactly how many of these “mass murders” have not been in a “No Gun Zone”? Maybe we should look at some logic and remove the “No Gun Zone” areas so that shooters are not protected from harm?

  3. I’m sure I’ll be branded as a conspiracy nut but i don’t care. It’s obvious that our gov. or the shadow gov., take your pick, are using false flags to advance their agenda. The evidence is overwhelming. There is much evidence also that some of these mass shooters were influenced by forces that lead to our gov. They are desperate for gun control because they can’t control the population in the way they want to when so many people have guns. It’s also a fact that areas of this country that have the strictest gun laws also have the highest crime rate. Some areas that recently relaxed guns laws also saw a drop in crime rates. Gun ownership is no doubt a deterent to crime especially against a tyrannical gov. and our gov hates that. In many cases when you call 911 and get help it’s to late!

    1. Do you have any evidence to support that at all? A false-flag operation, by its nature, is complicated, and the record of their success is dubious in history. Can you point to a proven domestic flag-flag operation within the United States?

    2. Mr B,

      As you note, false flag operations are by definition difficult to prove. But there is ample evidence they have been used in history, and that US officials have considered using them. Washington’s Blog has documented this.

      http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2005/12/introduction-to-false-flag-terror.html

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/09/false-flag-2.html

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/11/false-flag.html

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/03/turkish-political-military-leaders-admit-planning-false-flag-terror-justify-war-syria.html

  4. An interesting article. Now, to justify the use of deadly force you must show “fear”. So, it is a component of just about everything that happens. Ability, Opportunity, and Intent all are part of the equation to raise the reasonable level of threat or the emotion of “fear”. Anger or revenge are not reasons to justify the use force.

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