NRA zealots part of the problem

The heroic actions last week of Antoinette Tuff in Decatur, Ga., might be considered a “teachable moment” in the public debate over gun control, but opponents of any form of gun control seem to be incapable of learning anything that doesn’t conform to the ongoing campaign of misinformation conducted by the NRA and its stooges.

Thus far, the NRA honchos have been silent about Antoinette Tuff. Like the cowards they are, these zealots are quietly pouring money into (court-contested) efforts in Colorado to have courageous lawmakers like state Sens. John Morse and Angela Gidon recalled for their part in enacting new laws that require more extensive background checks, restrictions on illegal gun-trafficking and sales of combat-style firearms and high-capacity magazines to felons and mentally-ill persons.

The Decatur gunman admitted that he was “mentally-ill” and “on probation.” He told Ms. Tuff that he was “off his meds.” If he was on meds, a doctor prescribed them. There is a record of his mental instability. If – as the NRA fibbers contend – “adequate background checks are already in place,” how then did such an individual obtain an AK-47 assault-weapon and 500 rounds of ammunition? One answer might be greed!

The outcome of the incident in Decatur might have been different. Many of the 870 5- to-11-year-old students at the McNair Academy might have lost their lives if not for Ms. Tuff’s extraordinary negotiating skills and her sense of compassion toward her fellow human beings (a sense that seems to be lacking among hard-core gun fetishists.) Her accomplishment proved the fallacy of the NRA’s dogmatic position that “only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns.”

Others can be trained to do what Ms. Tuff did. Also – since compassion, unfortunately, is not always enough to stop dedicated killers – properly-trained law-enforcement personnel need to be posted in schools and other public places (by “properly-trained” I don’t mean silly NRA proposals for teachers packing guns, or hiring George Zimmerman-style “rent-a-cops”). Schools need better surveillance-equipment and lockdown technology. Hiring police and obtaining such equipment requires money. It’s ironic that the alleged “lawmakers” who toadied to NRA demands by rejecting the Toomey/Manchin background-check bill are mostly the same ideology-driven demagogues who want to “shut down government” by using the “sequester opportunity” to defund public schools, police departments, and mental-health facilities across the nation.

When it comes to protecting our children from violent attacks, these ideologues are not part of any “solution.” They are part of the “problem!”

Fred O’Neill

Marietta