Commentary: The NRA’s Adventure in the World of New Lows

Commentary: The NRA’s Adventure in the World of New Lows

Commentary: The NRA’s Adventure in the World of New Lows

The National Rifle Association has now used the Obama daughters as fodder for their misguided campaign against gun control.

Published January 17, 2013

Passionate disagreement with the president of the United States is simply part of the fabric of the nation’s political discourse. But the National Rifle Association has plunged into a new, sickening level of attack against President Obama that is simply beyond any sense of decorum.

In taking the president to task about his wide range of common sense reforms to curb gun violence in the United States, the NRA has produced a web video commercial. It’s not so much that the ad accused the president of being an “elitist hypocrite.” Obama has certainly been called worse from conservative forces during his first term.

But the NRA crossed a line of decency when it invoked the Obama daughters.

“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the ad asks. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”

The video continues, “Mr. Obama demands that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security” as an altered image of the president peers over a stack of dollar bills.”

Sasha and Malia Obama are minors who, by the very nature of their family ties, are among the most visible young people in the country. Placing them in the midst of a debate about gun violence is a cold-blooded, reprehensible approach in undertaking one of the most significant public policy debates the nation has ever held.

As always, the NRA finds their approach to be highly appropriate. “It wasn’t about the president’s daughters,” said David Keene, the NRA’s president, speaking during a television interview. “It was about how to keep children safe.”

Keene and his colleagues have proven themselves predictably tone-deaf to not only the response to the president’s proposals but, more profoundly, the entire issue of protecting young people from the carnage that took place a month ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Their answer to the problem, indeed their only proposal so far, is simply to increase the number of guns in schools. Guns, the NRA reasons, should be available to principals, teachers, cafeteria workers and school librarians. In short, they should be available to anyone who could help increase sales for the gun manufacturers they represent.

In the aftermath of the killings in Connecticut, the country has a need for calm, sober deliberations on a problem from which no sector of the United States is immune. On just Thursday of this week, for example, one youth was killed by gunfire in Chicago, a girl was shot in a suburban parking lot in Kentucky and three people were shot dead in a suburb of Atlanta.

In the midst of this environment stands the NRA, with its shrill calls for more and more guns and its knee-jerk condemnation of anything that might depress gun sales. It is an organization utterly without conscience or, as the recent ad proved, a shred of decency.

Meanwhile, the president is doing what he seems to do best. He is ignoring the fanaticism of the NRA ad while urging Americans to lend their voices on the topic of sensible gun control.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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Written by Jonathan P. Hicks


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