I peered up from the book I was reading yesterday and saw Wayne LaPierre’s face on the tube, and angrily grabbed the remote and shut TV off. Having worked in a broadcast newsroom for nearly all my adult life, I always have CNN on in the background, very low volume, just as newsrooms always have the police scanner volume up 24/7. News can break at any time.
Scanner traffic and all-news 24/7 cable channels become part of your environment in this biz.
I thought about my initial reaction of anger at seeing LaPierre on the tube. I am as tired of his “more-guns-more-guns-more-guns” rants as I am of the media constantly plastering his face on TV and broadcasting his rants. The man is on every network every day!
A few hours later, on the local TV nooz, a reporterette was interviewing some local law enforcement guy who was saying they’re concerned about a possible shortage of bullets, and how they might have to cut back on their training activities if they can’t get enough bullets.
Then it clicked for me.
LaPierre is a genius. An evil genius to be sure, but a genius nonetheless. He has kept the cycle of fear and paranoia alive since December 14th last year – well over three months since the mass murders at Sandy Hook. Whatever the gun and ammo manufacturers are paying him can’t possibly be enough.
He has, pretty much singlehandedly, created the biggest business boom in history for gun and ammo manufacturers, and the boom is showing no signs of slowing down. He has engendered a bull market in the firearms industry the likes of which has never been seen, and every nooz story that airs telling of possible bullet shortages and empty shelves and racks at the gun store drives the boom another notch higher.
Every time LaPierre opens his mouth some TV camera records it. This is a fairly recent phenomenon in the nooz biz, this rush to “balance” every gun-control advocate (or, name any issue or cause under the sun) with someone who has a different viewpoint. Every time somebody like Joe Biden says “gun control”, something from Wayne LaPierre must be run alongside it to “balance” the story.
And please, don’t get me started on the concept of “false equivalency”.
But, you know what? Of all the gun groups out there (and there are more than you might think) Wayne LaPierre is the least extreme national spokesman! Spend a few moments reading the stuff that Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America has put out, and you’ll come away thinking LaPierre is a moderate.
By whipping up the fear that Barack Obama’s Secret Muslim Army is going to come in black helicopters to take your guns away, LaPierre gins up more and more business for the gun and ammo dealers. By constantly repeating his message of fear to “balance” their gun control stories, the media helps spread LaPierre’s paranoia.
Shortage of bullets? “The Government” is buying up all of them so you can’t get them. Just ask LaPierre or any one of hundreds of right-wing bloggers.
Shortage of assault weapons? Manufacturers can’t crank them out fast enough to meet the demand of those who STILL don’t own one, but know in their heart of hearts that if they don’t get one now, THE GOVERNMENT will soon shut down production and then they’ll have to pay an arm and a leg to get one on the black market.
Hitler’s first move was to disarm the populace? The gun guys love saying that, but it’s complete BS. The only people Hitler took guns from were the Jews. The average German household under Hitler was awash in firearms, many of them brought home after World War One.
The combination of crackpots like LaPierre, the media echo chamber, and native stupidity combined with ignorance of history and topped off by an inept congress have made gun and ammo manufacturers modern-day robber barons.
Yes, I own firearms. Yes, I’ve gone deer hunting with a high-powered rifle.
No, I don’t have an AR-15 and no, I don’t own any high-capacity clips.
I don’t need them, nor do you.