“The age of terror”: NRA’s new fearmongering ad campaign equates American exceptionalism to more gunsThe ad is alarmist -- but, if this New York Times story is accurate, it's perfectly attuned to America's mood:
... The ninth installment in the NRA’s “Freedom’s Safest Place” campaign features the group’s leader, Wayne LaPierre and is titled, “Demons At Our Door.” The ad was released just days after 56-year-old Robert Dear entered a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood and shot 12 people, killing three, and days before this latest shooting rampage in San Bernardino. In it, La Pierre makes specific reference to “the age of terror” and goes on to fear-monger over the threat of terror and violence to promote the NRA. The ad is currently running prominently on Fox News.
“Innocents like us,” LaPierre says, addressing his NRA members directly to camera, “will continue to be slaughtered in concert halls, sports stadiums, restaurants and airplanes.”
“They will come to where we worship,” LaPierre warns as ominous music waves over blurred images of American everyday life, “where we educate and where we live.”
“But when evil knocks on our doors, Americans have a power no other people on the planet share,” LaPierre proudly proclaims, touting the Second Amendment. “Let fate decide if mercy is offered to the demons at our door.”
... As the long roll call of mass shootings added a prosaic holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., to its list, a wide expanse of America’s populace finds itself engulfed in a collective fear, a fear tinged with confusion and exasperation and a broad brew of emotions. The fear of the ordinary. Going to work. Eating a meal in a restaurant. Sending children to school. Watching a movie.To some extent, I understand the fear. On the other hand, I was here in New York for 9/11 and anthrax, not to mention the crack years a decade or so earlier. I got here in the bad old 1970s, and I'd grown up in Boston, which actually had a higher per-capita murder rate at the time. Part of me thinks, You now know that you could theoretically be killed at any moment? Welcome to my world. But I'm white, and I was always able to live in neighborhoods that, if not exactly safe, weren't the epicenters of fear. It wasn't that bad.
Wendy Malloy, 49, who lives in Tampa, Fla., said she now worried about being caught in an attack on a daily basis, just doing what anyone does. “When my son gets out of the car in the morning and walks into his high school,” she said. “When I drop him at his part-time job at a supermarket. When we go to the movies, concerts and festivals. When I walk into my office. It is a constant, grinding anxiety. And it gets louder every single day.”
... In the aftermath of the San Bernardino shootings, coming close on the heels of the Colorado killings, The New York Times invited people to respond online about their fear of a mass shooting.
More than 5,000 wrote in. In addition, many others were interviewed on Thursday around the country: teachers and students and office workers, even some Army veterans who confided that they felt safer in war zones than on the streets of the United States.
People spoke of being spooked by gestures once ignored as utterly unremarkable. As one young woman from Massachusetts put it: “The guy in the corner always looking at his watch or the woman reaching into her bag too quickly.”
... People are able to recite with precision how often they think about a mass shooting touching them. Every day. Twice a week. Up to four times a day. Every other day. Every two weeks. Every time they’re in a crowded space. Whenever her teenagers are out. Every time she walks into her office and back to the parking garage. Every day. Every day. Every day.
For a 16-year-old in Berkeley, it is “almost constantly.” ...
I don't know what to say about this. Yes, folks, you could draw the worst hand. This could happen to you. On the other hand, the odds are still in your favor. So live your lives.
In any event, conservatives have mastered the art of stoking fear and offering right-wing solidarity, or something similar, as the bulwark against the fear that's stoked. Want to be protected against marauding urban superpredators or undocumented Mexican rapists or terroristic Syrian toddlers with Ebola? Vote Reagan. Vote Trump. Buy gold. Stockpile dried food. And surround yourself with as many guns and rounds of ammo as you can possibly afford.
Now, if you keep the guns and ammo flowing the way the NRA insists we must, evildoers can eagerly join the arms race -- a group that now clearly includes homegrown terrorists. I keep being told on Twitter that the problem in San Bernardino wasn't guns, it was terrorism. Actually -- as any idiot can see -- it was both.
But fear is the national mood. The NRA ad above says, "I feel your fear" -- and adds that the gun demimonde is "freedom's safest place." In San Bernardino and Colorado Springs, it was terrorism's safest place, but never mind.