bill of goods
n.pl.bills of goods
1. A consignment of items for sale.
2. Informal A plan, promise, or offer, especially one that is dishonest or misleading
It is stunning to hear politicians in the wake of yet another mass shooting say that it is “too soon” after the tragedy to talk about the problem of guns in America.
But it is just as disturbing in the wakes of repeated mass shootings, including 26 dead and more wounded in a Texas church, for God’s Sake, to hear the likes of actor James Woods throwing around shallow opinions about what constitutes responsible gun control.
His defense of the NRA in the wake of these mass shootings was breathtakingly shortsighted. Woods Tweeted that none of the mass shootings of the last few decades were conducted by a member of the NRA.
What James Woods cites as “actual facts” about NRA members never having been involved in mass shootings may or may not be true. But that is hardly the central point in the current debate about gun proliferation in America. The NRA as spent decades promoting the idea that gun rights should not be restricted in any way. person. Even President Donald Trump, a noted kiss-ass for the NRA and its constituents, favored the recent removal of a law that blocked access to gun ownership for people with mental health issues.
Yet after the Texas shooting, Trump rushed to claim that the shooter was mentally ill.
So which is it? Are we concerned about people with mental illness having access to guns with which they can murder two dozen people in minutes? Or is the NRA correct in asserting that no amount of gun control can prevent such wanton slaughter?
To hear James Woods tweet, the bloody massacre of 26 people in a Texas church is of not the concern to the NRA since no NRA member committed the crimes. At what point do we point out the massive case of cognitive dissonance at work on gun rights in America?
Consider the fact that mass shootings constitute a public emergency. Cities and towns across America dread the day that violence comes to visit them. Police and government officials set up entire protocols to manage gun violence of any kind. The structure of these protocols is always designed to define who is in charge, and who has authority and responsibility to act in the fact of violence, terror attacks, and other public threats.
The reason why public agencies work so hard to define who is in charge is to avoid confusion during times of public emergency. The parallel goal is to prevent mistakes in the face of terror or violence and manage the risks of even greater harm taking place.
Friendly fire in America?
Even America’s military struggles at times to avoid gunfire from taking out their own personnel. The most famous case of so-called “friendly fire” was that of former NFL player Pat Tillman who died in action not from the bullets of the enemy, but from his own military.
Yet the NRA has been a big proponent of the idea that Concealed Carry laws can prevent crime. The idea behind Concealed Carry is that the presence of “good guys with guns” will somehow act as a deterrent to violent gun crimes. Some gun proponents think the law does not go far enough in that regard. Those gun advocates insist that only Open Carry does the real job of deterring violence. Which means, if you open the pages of that action-based manual, a completely militarized society in which everyone is allowed to visibly carry weapons anywhere they want to go.
Gun proponents are jumping on the fact that a couple Texas yahoos chased down the killer of all those people the killer shot up in the church. One of them opened fire before the chase and may have wounded the killer before he got into his car and embarked on a 90-mile-an-hour escape attempt that ended in a crash and his death. Whether he died from gunshot or the crash is not fully apparent. But gun proponents seem eager to claim the heroics of the two gun-toting vigilantes.
Somehow, twenty-six people still died in that church. The killer was walking down the aisles shooting crying babies. Some people struck by gunfire played dead and avoided further attack by the assassin. Who was not, according to James Woods, an NRA member. And that makes it all okay?
The Bill of Goods
The cognitive dissonance at work in all this the Bill of Goods we’ve been sold by the NRA. There is absolutely no substance to the argument that because the NRA cannot be finger-pointed for these and other killings, the organization, its members and the politicians who vote against gun controls bear no responsibility for the wanton slaughter of Americans that goes on every day.
So let’s walk this through in a clear and simple fashion. What the NRA has proposed and still supports is the idea that Concealed Carry laws are a specific deterrent to gun crimes, and that everyday citizens bear the responsibility (therefore) of engaging with any form of aggression they may encounter. It remains the sole right of that individual citizen to determine what the nature and level of that threat may be. There is no call to a superior authority required under this system. It is, in a word, a free-for-all on the streets of America.
This contrasts starkly with the protocols of emergency and terror management standards all across America. Police, fire and other paramilitary organizations involved in the protection of public safety all have well-established systems of authority and even processes firmly structured to share andr delegate authority in situations of true emergency or terror.
That means there’s a big hairy gap between what the NRA is advocating as the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment as it relates to the life and liberties of everyday Americans. The NRA conveniently ignores the first and qualifying phrase of the Second Amendment, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state…” in favor of the more selfish and individualized interpretation of the second phrase, “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Constitutional originalists should be aghast at the destruction of that sentence as a wholly vested expression of law as it pertains to gun ownership. But the Supreme Court in its conservatively lopsided obsession with ‘personal rights’ has been an enabler to all people like James Woods who refuse to be held accountable for anything but their own selfish interests.
As a result, we do not have a “well-regulated militia” at all. That intention of the Founding Fathers has been tossed on a junk heap of Twitter-infused jingoism equating unrestricted gun rights with real freedom in America.
This lie has been exposed over and over, but it has been repeated so often the layers of gun fetishism cannot even be peeled back. This fetishism for guns is rampant as John Lennon pointed out more than forty years ago in his song Happiness is a Warm Gun:
When I hold you in my arms (oh, yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (oh, yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (oh, yeah)
Because, (happiness) is a warm gun, mama (bang bang shoot shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (bang bang shoot shoot)
The security about which Lennon sang is, in reality, the massive insecurity of gun fetishists whose fearful worldview insists that only guns provide real protection from harm in this world. They must lie to themselves and even call the government itself a threat in order to sustain the pathetic lack of trust they have in fellow citizens.
In the end, this is what it’s all about. James Woods laid bare the shallow concerns of the selfish, insecure fears of an American populace that cannot manage to function without a finger on the trigger and while packing heat. But despite what James Woods says about NRA members, their fingers share the pressure of every trigger pulled in violent acts against fellow Americans. There is blood on their hands despite the fact that no supposed NRA member is doing the physical shooting. The NRA and its members have created, sponsored and supported the lack of accountability in the legal destruction of the first phrase of the Second Amendment in favor of a second, far more selfish interpretation that says bearing arms “shall not be infringed.”
Tell that to the thousands of first responders, the police and other emergency workers who do abide by the authority of a “well-regulated militia” in America. That’s how our public servants function, by the authority vested in the structure of a well-regulated militia.
But the NRA boldly ignores that fact, favoring instead the ugly vigilantism and unrestricted access to guns for those well-beyond the selfish political party we call the NRA. The organization and its supporters wash their hands of crimes every day in order to protect their supposed status as “pure” gun owners incapable of such violence. The fact of increasing violence by the police toward the public is is a direct result of the NRA’s wanton disregard for the safety of all citizens in America. The police are simply in the line of fire of the cognitive dissonance wrought by wanton disregard of the “well-regulated militia” phrase in the Second Amendment.
For moral perspective, we can turn to the tenets of the Christian faith to debunk the seflish, deceitful lies of the NRA and its terror-driven impact on human life.
Jesus confronted all those that he perceived to ignoring the works of evil or worse, misleading the easily deceived into dreams of power and authority where it was not warranted. Jesus also condemned those who twisted the law to serve their own purposes, and who created stumbling blocks from legalistic ideology that prevented people from seeing or encountering the truth. All these are characteristic of the sins of the NRA.
Way back when, Jesus branded people like these “hypocrites” for lording themselves over others. He called them a “brood of vipers” for their calculating ways and chastised them for the offenses they imposed on the culture at large. Jesus would not, in other words, like the NRA or James Woods one bit.
James Woods and the NRA are selling America a hollow “bill of goods” on gun rights versus true freedoms in America. They have lied by method of exclusion, and they are avoided responsibility for gun violence by method of inclusion.
Hypocrites. Brood of Vipers. All of them.