NRA Polarizes U.S. | Nel’s New Day

NRA Polarizes U.S. | Nel’s New Day.

“Stand and Fight”: that was the theme of the annual NRA convention when approximately 70,000 NRA members descended on Houston (TX) this past week to explain why the United States needs guns to kill each other. One excuse is that people in the nation need weapons to protect themselves against a tyrannical government: 44 percent of the Republicans believe this. These people say that they believe “an armed revolution might be necessary to protect our liberties.”

Where should the guns be stored? The NRA has an answer for this: in the kids’ room. In the “Home Defense Concepts” seminar taught by Rob Pincus, who also teaches an intruder defense course in schools, parents would run to their kids’ room in case of a home invasion, so they should just leave their guns there. However, children are wounded and killed by accidental gunshots with horrifying frequency; 900 kids were killed in gun suicides or accidents in 2010. Also children ages birth through age 4 were 17 times more likely to be killed in a gun accident in states with the highest levels of gun ownership than in the states with the lowest gun ownership.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, one-third of all households with children younger than 18 have a gun, and more than 40 percent of gun-owning households with children store their guns unlocked.The fund also reported that 22 percent of children with gun-owning parents handled guns in their homes without their parents’ knowledge.

Although the deaths of these children may sadden adults, they seem to view these as isolated accidents that couldn’t have been prevented. In Kentucky, 5-year-old Kristian Sparks got a child’s size gun called “My First Rifle” for a present; he killed his 2-year-old old sister. Nobody thought about a bullet being in the .22-caliber single-shot child’s Crickett rifle sold in pink and blue. Keystone Sporting Arms, a company that specializes in guns for children, ranks as the country’s 10th-largest manufacturer of long guns.

crickett.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeMother Jones caught some imagesfrom Keystone’s website before they took it down. Fortunately for those people who want to buy guns for their children, the Chipmunk website is still up. Spokesman John Renzulli said, “We need to respect the privacy of these people, this family is going through a lot.” This is a commons statement that translates as “we’ll guilt you into being quiet.” Renzulli means that people should let the gun manufactures continue to market an object that was invented to kill something or someone.

 Another person captured testimonials before the Cricket website sent down for “maintenance.”  One person wrote:

“We bought a pink Crickett from my six year old daughter and wanted to say thanks for making quality affordable firearms for new shooters. The “girls” option is especially appreciated because as scary as it sounds the color really helped get her excitet about it. Bethany says thanks too! She’ll be quite fashionalble at the Sportsman Club tomorrow.”

 Last week in Arizona, 3-year-old Darrien Nex shot himself after finding a 9mm pistol in his 35-year-old grandmother’s backpack. This is the state where Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill preventing municipalities from destroying guns that they buy back, requiring them to distribute them into the public arena.  She also signed another anti-gun bill last weekbarring counties from collecting or maintaining any identifying information about a person who owns or sells a firearm. Her excuse was that most of the people who wrote her liked the law. If you disagree, here’s where you can email her.

Brummett gun

On April 17, 7-year-old Gavin Brummett shot himself in the head while firing his father’s semi-automatic handgun. He was on a family shooting trip in Kansas. The family now needs money to bury the child.

On April 13, 9-year-old Shayla May Shonneker was shot in the face by her mother’s boyfriend in Oregon City (OR). She was in the backyard while 32-year-old Joseph Wolters was in the house practicing holstering and unholstering a handgun for his new job with an armored transport company. A week later in Donald (OR), 4-year-old Cody R. Hall died of a gunshot wound in his home; nobody is saying who shot the boy.

 These are some of the children who died within the last few weeks. Still alive but incritical condition is 6-year-old Angela Divin after her 13-year-old brother shot her at their Oakland Park (FL) home last Saturday.

In addition to suggesting that guns should be stored in children’s bedrooms at the conference, the NRA conference included a vendor who featured a bleeding target thatlooks like President Obama, one of Zombie Industries’ life-sized targets that “bleed when you shoot them.” When asked if the Obama likeness was intentional, the booth worker said, “Let’s just say I gave my Republican father one for Christmas.”

bloombergGlenn Beck made a popular speech at NRA to 10,000 people that used a huge photo-shopped image of Mayor Michael Bloomberg giving a Nazi salute. He said, “When somebody argues for gun control, they are either living in self-imposed ignorance or they are just living an argument of control.” In addition, he urged the crowd “to make sure that we give no more power to those in government at any level.”

In gun manufacturers’ attempt to appeal to the “ladies,” some vendors featured pink guns that could be strapped to a bra—with manikins demonstrating their “holsters.”

porter betterThe most long-lasting effect of the NRA conference, however, will  be its new president. Jim Porter, son of the NRA president from 1959 to 1961, is replacing past president David Keene. Porter is known for transforming the NRA into the militant organization it is known for when he helped the hardliners transition the NRA in 1977 into its current no-compromise lobbying powerhouse.

In a June 2012 speech, Porter described Attorney General Eric Holder as “rabidly un-American” when he tried “to kill the Second Amendment at the United Nations” with the help of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He claimed the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty would “make it illegal for individuals all over the world to own firearms.”

Porter expressed his perspective on the Civil War when he called it the “War Of Northern Aggression.” Porter traces NRA’s roots to 1871 when “some Yankee generals who didn’t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to shoot in what we call the ‘War of Northern Aggression.’” Porter, 64, is part of a small Birmingham (AL) law firm of Porter, Porter & Hassinger. The firm’s website notes its expertise in defending gun manufacturers in lawsuits.

In telling his audience that they are on the front line of a “culture war” that goes beyond gun rights, he throws fuel on the flames of the gun debate. In telling his audience that he wants every U.S. citizen to be trained in the use of standard military firearms to defend themselves against tyranny, he is declaring war on the U.S. government.

Having called President Obama a “fake president,” he accused him of revenge because of his “unrelenting attacks on gun owners today.” Porter’s sole goal is to further polarize the people of the United States to increase profits for the gun manufacturers.

A protest in Washington, D.C. on July 4th is going to exacerbate this as people are encouraged to march with loaded rifles in an act of “civil disobedience.” Despite the fact that openly carrying guns in D.C. is illegal, over 1000 people have said they will attend. Libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh describes  the march as nonviolent, “unless the government chooses to make it violent.” He recently tweeted:

“When the government comes to take your guns, you can shoot government agents, or submit to slavery.”

We need to stop the NRA and gun manufacturers from running our country.

Does It Make Sense To Work When Child Care Is So Expensive? – Erin Matson

Does It Make Sense To Work When Child Care Is So Expensive? – Erin Matson.

On the brink of another life change, before I got married the first time, my mom offered the following unsolicited advice:

“Always have girlfriends, and always keep your own bank account.”

In other words, always stay interdependent with others outside your family, and always maintain enough independence to call at least some of your own shots.

It’s something I’m considering as I navigate the fraught terrain for women planning to merge career and child care for the first time. How do I find this stuff? How much should it cost? How do you make sure it’s good?

And the biggest question of all, one that keeps coming up with other friends who are expecting children or new parents:

Is it selfish to keep working when child care is so expensive and he makes more money than I do?

That question. My goodness. That question we’d heard before and never thought would apply to us.

I keep thinking back to my mother’s advice. Always have girlfriends. It’s not just about friends. It’s not just about marriage. It’s about a woman’s place in a broader world. It’s about support systems. Having just one support system is not supporting yourself as well as you could. My family is important to me. But I feel like I’m selling all of us short if I don’t have friends and career, which are also important to me and my sense of identity.

Always keep your own bank account. This one feels more tricky. Like a lot of women married to men, my husband makes more money than I do. And with a kid on the way, the questions get louder. As one New York Times blogger wrote, Why Do I Think My Salary Pays for Child Care? I admit to the same thinking, and hearing it among friends. Does it economically make sense for me to work? Given that we almost always direct this question at women, how will we clear the way so our daughters don’t have to ask this question? Sure, we often get paid less. But maybe if we stick around at work we can help be part of the ongoing and as-yet unrealized call for equal pay.

It’s also about now and not just the future. As one of my friends said to me, sure he makes more than I do, and he’s going to pick up more money for the baby’s needs. What if I work less or not at all to stay with the kid, and I want to buy a pair of jeans? What if I want to stop for a coffee? And whether we’re talking about disposable income or accessing basics like food and health care, that’s what money really comes down to: Power. The power to make your own decisions and be in control of your life.

I don’t have easy answers to these questions. Our baby will come soon. As I consider a life on the brink of great change, I can’t stop thinking about what my mom said. Mixing interdependence, independence, child, work and family is not easy. It makes me frustrated that these issues are typically seen as women’s issues. They are societal issues. My guess is the more we move toward that frame, the easier it will be to make some changes.