On July 20, 2012, James Holmes slaughtered 12 Aurora, Colorado, moviegoers and critically wounded another 58.
On May 4, 2015, he finally goes on trial.
Even his attorneys admit he staged the masscare.
Of course, they’re claiming he was insane at the time and thus not responsible for his actions. And certainly not deserving of the death penalty.
But there is another culprit whose presence at the trial makes it the proverbial elephant in the room.
The National Rifle Association (NRA).
Like Al Qaeda, the NRA promotes violence on an unprecedented scale. Yet there are profound differences in the way Americans view these organizations.
On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists snuffed out the lives of 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.
The World Trade Center under attack on 9/11
For more than ten years, the United States–through its global military and espionage networks–has relentlessly hunted down most of those responsible for that September carnage.
On May 1, 2011, U.S. Navy SEALS invaded Osama bin Laden’s fortified mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan–and shot Al Qaeda’s leader dead.
Turning from foreign death-dealers to domestic ones: According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
Every day–365 days a year:
- 270 people in America, 47 of them children and teens, are shot in murders, assaults, suicides, accidents and police intervention;
- 87 people die from gun violence, 33 of them murdered;
- 8 children and teens die from gun violence;
- 183 people are shot, but survive their gun injuries;
- 38 children and teens are shot, but survive their gun injuries.
And what does all of this add up to?
- In one year, almost 100,000 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides, accidents, or by police intervention.
- Over a million Americans have been killed with guns since 1968, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated.
- U.S. homicide rates are 6.9 times higher than rates in 22 other populous high-income countries combined, despite similar non-lethal crime and violence rates. The firearm homicide rate in the U.S. is 19.5 times higher.
- Gun violence impacts society in numerous ways: medical costs; costs of the criminal justice system; security precautions; and reductions in quality of life owing to fear of gun violence.
- An estimated 41% of gun-related homicides would not occur under the same circumstances had no guns been present.
(This average annual estimated composite picture of gun violence is based on death certificates and estimates from emergency room admissions.)
And who, more than anyone (including the actual killers themselves) has made all this carnage possible?
The National Rifle Association, of course.
But unlike the leadership of Al Qaeda, that of the NRA is not simply known, but celebrated. Its director, Wayne LaPierre, is courted as a rock star by Democrats and Republicans seeking NRA endorsements–and campaign contributions.
He frequently appears as an honored guest at testimonial dinners and political conventions.
The largest of the 13 national pro-gun groups, the NRA has nearly 4 million members, who focus most of their time lobbying Congress for unlimited “gun rights.”
The NRA claims that its mission is to “protect” the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
NRA members conveniently ignore the first half of that sentence: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State….”
For the NRA, the Second Amendment is the Constitution, and the rest of the document is a mere appendage.
At the time Congress ratified the Constitution in 1788, the United States was not a world power.
A mere 26 years later, the British seized and burned Washington, D.C., after repeatedly defeating American armies. On the frontier, settlers had to defend themselves against hostile Indians and marauding bandits.
Only after World War II did the country maintain a powerful standing army during peacetime.
But World War II ended 70 years ago, and today the United States is a far different country than it was in 1788:
- It boasts a nuclear arsenal that can turn any country into nuclear ash–anytime an American President decides to do so.
- It boasts an Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps that can target any enemy, anywhere in the world.
- Its Special Forces–Green Berets, Delta Force and Navy SEALs–are rightly feared by international terrorists.
- American Intelligence has come a long way since 9/11. The FBI’s top priority is to prevent another such terrorist attack, not simply investigate it afterward.
- And waging war on criminals generally are about 836,787 full-time sworn local/state/Federal law enforcement officers.
If a criminal flees or conducts business across state lines, powerful Federal law enforcement agencies–such as the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration–can put him out of business.
But apparently the NRA hasn’t gotten the word.
- The NRA has steadfastly defended the right to own Teflon-coated “cop killer” bullets,” whose only purpose is to penetrate bullet-resistant vests worn by law enforcement officers.
- The NRA and its lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, is responsible for the “stand-your-ground” ordinances now in effect in more than half the states. These allow for the use of deadly force in self-defence, without any obligation to attempt to retreat first.
- The NRA rushed to the defense of accused murderer George Zimmerman, the self-appointed “community watchman” who ignored police orders to stop following 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and ended up shooting him.
- Police did not initially charge Zimmerman because of Florida’s “Stand-Your-Ground” law, which the NRA had rammed through the legislature.