Take aim at the NRA

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I’d like to talk about the Second Amendment and the misguided and misunderstood ways it has been interpreted. It seems to me to be some sort of riddle that would require a shaman to interpret. Some say it is about home protection. What has happened in society since the time of the Founding Fathers that we need so much home protection?

I grew up in a small farming community about the size of Cortez. No one locked their doors. We had no deer to hunt, as they were reduced during the Depression. There were people of many races and cultures coming through looking for work and a meal, always willing to trade labor for nourishment or a place to sleep. I can remember no break-ins, rapes or robberies.

My father had only a .22 rifle and 12-gauge shotgun for duck, goose and pheasant hunting. Yet we felt safe, despite not having an arsenal in our home.

Enough of history, now to my fears. With the many mass shootings and now the latest, the welfare-receiving elected politicians spout the same old line: Now is not the time to speak about the Second Amendment. If not now, when? It’s getting difficult to find time between one mass slaying and the next.

I was at one time a dues-paying member of the NRA, and possibly owned more weapons than most people. I even owned an AR- 15. I could hit the broad side of a barn with it but never the bull’s eye and it was a very costly, unnecessary weapon. I traded it for an over-and-under 20-gauge trap shotgun. My oldest son got some trophies with it — none being schoolchildren or concert-goers.

Now the latest idea for preventing tragedies such as the killing of 17 people in Florida is to pay attention to remarks one might make and who they are directed toward, and notify authorities of anything suspicious. But a word or phrase may be misunderstood and one may take it as a threat.

Your remark could be innocent, but you might have to hire an attorney to explain it to a judge. Off-hand remarks are made quite often and how someone interprets them could make your life a hassle. I have some trepidation as I listen to the politicians and police speak of examining what and how we are saying and thinking. It looks like bye, bye, First Amendment in order to protect the Second.

I have a small suggestion instead. We all know that Congress has passed legislation protecting the gun manufacturers from being sued for any damage done by their weapons of mass slaughter. But why not a class-action lawsuit directed at the National Rifle Association, aimed at making them pay for the funerals, hospital stays and emotional trauma for the families of those killed?

It’s the NRA, after all, that buys the loyalty of our politicians through their massive campaign donations (bribes). According to a full-page ad in the New York Times on Feb. 21, our own Third Congressional District Representative, Scott Tipton, has received $105,214 in funding from the NRA, while Senator Cory Gardner got a whopping $1.23 million. That ought to buy a lot of loyalty.

So if the NRA has money like that to throw around, they ought to be able to pony up for some floral bouquets for the dead and some physical therapy for the wounded who may need months of treatment.

If the NRA actually has to suffer consequences for its mindless support of every type of weapon and form of ammunition anyone can create, maybe they’ll be more willing to think about advocating for some common-sense measures like strict background checks (no loopholes!) and limits on semi-automatic weapons.

It would be far easier to do that than to try to ascertain the mental health of every person in America by monitoring their oral comments and Facebook posts. As I see it, because of the Second Amendment our First is in danger.

I’ve never tried it but I don’t think I would like the flavor of hemlock.

Galen Larson writes from Cortez, Colo.

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From Galen Larson.