Last night’s “town hall” on CNN was riveting. The students asked better questions than the adults, and I’m not the only one to note that they would not allow the responder to filibuster or waiver. For example, student Emma Gonzalez asked NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, “Do you believe that it should be harder to obtain the semi-automatic and – – weapons and the modifications for these weapons to make them fully automatic like bump stocks?”
Loesch talked for several things for several minutes (how she feels the student’s pain, mental illness, etc) before Emma interrupted politely but forecfully: “I think I’m gonna interrupt you real quick and remind you that the question is actually, do you believe it should be harder to obtain these semi-automatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic, such as bump stocks?”, and incredibly, she got a direct two sentence answer (well, pretty close to a direct answer – Loesch said she was there to represent the NRA’s 5 million members, not offer her opinion, but she did comment on the fact that the ATF is looking into bump stocks).
Marco Rubio was eaten alive, especially in trying weasel his “no” response to the direct question of whether he would refuse NRA campaign contribution. That said, the students gave him credit for showing up all, which I suppose is true (although technically, it’s his job since they are his constituents).
All in all, my biggest take-away was that if these kids are representative of the future, I’m highly optimistic and hope I’m around to see what happens.
But again, the most tension-filled moments were when the NRA, in the form of Loesch, took the stage. Normally, an incendiary speaker, Loesch was toned down significantly for this stage. Twice this year, Loesch has come under criticism from a range of viewers, including a few gun owners, who say her public service announcements about the purported left-wing war on decent Americans have crossed the line.
A June video shows clips of protests and riots with Loesch warning of a societal collapse while ominous music plays in the background.
“They use their media to assassinate real news,” she warns. “They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again.”
“The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country, and our freedom,” she concludes, “is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth.”
But that Loesch was not there last night. Clearly, she prepared to go full force on mental illness and avoid any discussion of bans on guns, or fixing loopholes with background checks, or raising the age limit for gun buyers to 21.
She shared the “panel” with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, a remarkable man who called on Loesch at one point, interjecting: “You just told this group of people you’re standing up for them. You’re not standing up for them until you say, ‘I want less weapons.’ ”
The crowd roared in approval. Loesch sat silently, her hands folded in her lap.
This morning, speaking before CPAC, Loesch spoke again. Talking of last night, she reminded conservatives that the real victim last night was her. “I had to have a security detail to get out,” Loesch said, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland. “I wouldn’t have been able to exit if I didn’t have a private security detail. There were people rushing the stage and screaming ‘burn her.’ And I came there to talk solutions, and I still am going to continue that conversation on solutions, as the NRA has been doing since before I was alive.”
Meanwhile, on the gun control front, Trump is coming to the defense of the…. you guessed it… the NRA.
I believe that THEY believe they are doing the right thing, but they are biased. Sure, MAYBE unintentionally, but they are still biased. Nobody wants to believe they work for the devil.
As for proposals, Trump wants to arm teachers. Except… well.. he has a problem with that characterization:
Right. So Trump never said “give teachers guns” but he wants to give teachers guns.
I’m not sure I need to point out how ridiculous this idea is. It won’t solve mass shootings (arming teachers would not have prevented the Las Vegas shooting or Pulse nightclub shooting), and it counts on teachers being in the right place at the right time. A student with an AR-15 can kill dozens of students before a teacher can pull his or her handgun from his safe.
Not to mention, that MORE guns never solves the problem. And who wants to go to a school where adults are armed? That’s a prison, not a school. The NRA has been so successful at focusing our attention on the “bad guy with a gun,” who can only be stopped by a “good guy with a gun,” that some people are willing to turn the whole enterprise designed to educate our kids into a defensive battlefield.
Some people at Fort Hood would like a word with you https://t.co/cvH1vnsrZk
— Matt Oswalt (@MattOswaltVA) February 22, 2018
Plus, it’s not thought through. Let’s say you’re an armed teacher, and 90% of the time you’re going to be in your classroom with your kids. Something happens. Do you then leave your kids and go bad guy hunting? Pretty bad ethical dilemma to put somebody in.
Also, teachers won’t do it, and who can blame them? National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, said bringing more guns into schools would not make them safer. “Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms,” she said in a statement. “Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff.”
Which brings us to CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is going on today. ACU’s Matt Schlapp said this morning that Wayne LaPierre’s speech would be part of an effort to address gun violence with “the right and appropriate tone. But LaPierre, the executive vice president of the nation’s most prominent gun-rights lobbying organization (NRA), got onstage with a strange Orwellian diatribe about political enemies. He started by saying that gun control advocates care more about destroying liberty than protecting kids (“Opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain”)
He then gave red meat for conservatives and attacks on Democrats, calling for increased school security, repeatedly ripping the “rogue” leadership of the FBI and blasting the left for promoting a “socialist” agenda. Name-checking a long list of prospective Democratic 2020 presidential candidates and lawmakers like Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a leading advocate for gun control measures, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, along with the “national media,” LaPierre condemned those he said were “eager to smear” the NRA.
This provoked a response from Schumer:
The NRA is once again spewing pathetic, out of touch ideas, blaming everything but guns. In the past, even after horrible shootings and empathetic words, President Trump and Congressional Republicans have toed the NRA line. 1/2
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 22, 2018
The gun debate rages on.
Oh, and speaking of CPAC —
— jordan (@JordanUhl) February 22, 2018