From May 3rd through May 5th, the National Rifle Association will hold its annual meeting in Houston, Texas. According to the NRA website,
With over 550 exhibitors covering over 400,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, educational seminars, celebrities, and fun filled special events, bring the whole family – there will be something for everyone! Spend the day exploring the products from every major firearm company in the country, book the hunt of a lifetime in our exclusive outfitter section, and view priceless collections of firearms in our gun collector area. You’ll also see knives, wildlife art, shooting accessories, hunting gear, ATV’s, and much more!
*Clap, clap, clap! Oh gee! Loads of fun! Special events! Knives, too!*
In the months since the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut took place there have been more gun-related deaths than we should have to count, numerous meetings by elected officials, countless appearances by politicians on Sunday morning talk shows, studies about violence by psychologists, press conferences by the President and mayors and, of course, debates about the ‘real’ meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
In the midst of all the chatter, we’ve seen articles about veterans taking their own lives and even the life of a legendary sniper. We’ve seen children bring guns to school in order to make bullies cower in fear. We’ve heard elected officials push the idea of arming school teachers, as though assigning some randy kid a failing grade to take home to his belligerent parent isn’t already taking one’s life into one’s own hands.
But how far have we come?
Sadly, not very.
Unless a person has no access to a television or the internet, by now everyone is aware that actions towards comprehensive and meaningful gun control measures have failed. Those who thought for even one moment that elected officials wouldn’t put politics (*ahem, their NRA ratings) before public safety and the common good were mistaken. Many of us knew that even the massacre of young children wouldn’t be enough for Congress and the Senate to do right, especially when there was an easy opportunity to continue the long track record of delivering a loss to the President by casting a ‘no’ vote.
So what now?
Until the bipartisan effort for background checks is somehow revived, in the meantime we’ll continue to hear stories about kids shooting other kids because they’ve been given guns as gifts by ‘responsible’ parents. And we’ll hear stories about politicians feeling the heat and being challenged by constituents. We’ll read that those who voted ‘no’ are experiencing up to a 20% drop in their poll numbers while others, such as Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), are confronted directly by massacre victims’ children.
And then, based on the gridlock and lack of cooperation in Washington, the 90% of citizens who support sensible legislation will be angry but all else will remain the same. The NRA, with its infinite power, will continue to control the dialogue — which is easy enough to do when too many in both major political parties are under their thumb.
The conversation should be really interesting in Houston this year.