The Deafening Roar Of Silence
The New Yorker:
The consistent failure of our politics to take reasonable steps to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands makes it difficult to predict with any confidence that even the slaughter of police officers will alter the frozen politics. But it may have a subtler effect, causing gun owners to reconsider whether the N.R.A. truly has the country’s best interests at heart. More than a hundred million Americans live in households with guns, but many remain largely uninvolved in gun politics. The N.R.A. has between three and five million members, which means it represents only a sliver of American gun owners. Moreover, even among its members, many are unconvinced, I and others have found, by the belligerent rhetoric; they own and love guns for a variety of reasons—from sports to hunting to self-defense—and they overwhelmingly support reasonable steps to prevent innocent people, civilians or police, from being killed by gunfire.
On Friday, after hours of silence, the N.R.A. issued a statement from LaPierre, who had authored the “jack-booted thugs” letter. This time, he expressed “the deep anguish all of us feel for the heroic Dallas law enforcement officers who were killed and wounded, as well as to those who so bravely ran toward danger to defend the city and the people of Dallas.”
The N.R.A.’s explicit call for a more armed society reveals the lie behind its homage to “coexistence.” By directing rage against the government, by preventing politicians from heeding the overwhelming demands of their constituents for broader background checks, by endorsing Donald Trump’s plan for mass deportations and bans on Muslim immigration, the N.R.A. has assembled a volatile case against the idea of coexistence—and then disavows the result when it explodes.