The National Rifle Association is holding their annual conference in Indianapolis this year, and Wayne LaPierre is sounding more unhinged than ever. He sounds almost as paranoid as our quail-hunting former vice-president.
Perhaps the nation’s most visible gun rights advocate, LaPierre drew a stark picture of the dangers that he said plague the country and argued the government has failed to protect its citizens.
“We know that in the world that surrounds us there are terrorists, home invaders, drug cartels, car jackers, ‘knock-out’ gamers, rapers, haters, campus killers,
airport killers, shopping mall 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 as a society that sustains us all,” he said.
“So I ask you this afternoon: do you trust this government really to protect you and your family?” he continued. “We’re on our own. That’s a certainty.”
LaPierre got so worked up there that basic grammar broke down for him. I don’t know quite what to make from such heated rhetoric. Is it some kind of sign of desperation? Do the people who travel to NRA conferences really need to be sustained on this level of high-octane bugnuttery?
Notice the incredible inversion of reality, where campus killers and shopping mall killers and airport killers are less a threat because they’ve legally purchased semiautomatic weapons despite being insane than they are an excuse for the rest of us to purchase semiautomatic weapons for our own defense.
Notice that the argument is not that we need to be armed to serve in a well-regulated militia but to prepare for the complete breakdown of modern civilization.
We must be prepared for “vicious waves of chemicals” that will no doubt be unleashed on the unincorporated hamlets of red state America rather than in our densely-populated cities.
Maybe the following helps explain the true source LaPierre’s angst:
The share of American households with guns has declined over the past four decades, a national survey shows, with some of the most surprising drops in the South and the Western mountain states, where guns are deeply embedded in the culture.
The gun ownership rate has fallen across a broad cross section of households since the early 1970s, according to data from the General Social Survey, a public opinion survey conducted every two years that asks a sample of American adults if they have guns at home, among other questions.
The rate has dropped in cities large and small, in suburbs and rural areas and in all regions of the country. It has fallen among households with children, and among those without. It has declined for households that say they are very happy, and for those that say they are not. It is down among churchgoers and those who never sit in pews.
The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 49 percent in the 1980s, 43 percent in the 1990s and 35 percent in the 2000s, according to the survey data, analyzed by The New York Times.
The only way to make up for this is to get gun owners to own more guns. And the best way to do that is to completely freak them out about some imminent demise of law and order.