In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, Wayne LaPierre of the NRA did everything he could to offend and outrage people who don't agree with him short of breaking into the homes of the victims' families and defecating in their living rooms.
And yet even as LaPierre said outrageous and offensive things, poll after poll showed that the Americans continued to view the NRA more unfavorably than unfavorably. And recently, in Colorado, just before two state senators were recalled as a result of pro-gun outrage, we saw this:
The main elements of the new [Colorado gun] law -- requiring universal background checks and limiting magazines to 15 rounds -- have strong backing in Colorado polls, yet a recent poll found a slight majority opposed to the new law. "People want background checks yet they don't want 'gun control,'" said Jennifer Hope, a Denver activist in favor of stricter regulation.People favor what's in the Colorado gun law, but oppose the law. People wanted specific gun control laws in the wake of Sandy Hook (and Aurora and Tucson and Virginia Tech), but they continue to look favorably on the NRA, which is not only unswervingly opposed to popular gun control measures but is offensive and boorish about it.
What's going on?
It's all part of the culture war we've been living through for at least half a century. Oh, sure, Americans support universal background checks, and want the likes of Aaron Alexis -- previously arrested for more than one gun offense -- not to be able to obtain guns effortlessly ... but "gun control" is something that comes from liberals and hippies and untrustworthy rootless-cosmopolitan city slickers like Mike Bloomberg. Whereas the NRA (despite being a Beltway lobbying operation) is identified with heartland America, so it's trustworthy and admired.
Heartlanders don't reject gun control because of how they feel about gun control proposals. They reject gun control because of who supports it. If we're for it, it's absurdly easy for the NRA to tell heartlanders they should be against it.
And that's why twelve people had to die at the Washington Navy Yard today.