By: David A. Franklin, Jr.

The GOP has been noticeably silent on Gun Control in the wake of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 little angels and six of their caretakers, mentors and confidants were brutally murdered. Not until Rick Perry, Texas Governor and Dennis Baxley a Florida GOP Lawmaker opened their mouths, and true to form we got the crap spewing.  

The new “back to school” list for teachers according to these two reads “Chalkboards, Pencils, Erasers and Guns” 
Not to be outdone – or underdone, FOX News staffers were instructed not to discuss gun control over the weekend.  It is alleged that an email to staff from David Clarke, Fox’s Executive Producer made that call. AND although I was not copied on the email I can say, the network’s action - or silence was an indication of Mr. Clarke’s instructions. I for one do not watch FOX News. As a rule, so as not to be counted in the network’s statistics as a viewer, I scroll up or down the channels CNN (40), HLN (41), MSNBC (42), CNBC (43) but religiously when I am to scroll to the next channel which is 44 FOX, I punch in 45 so as to skip and not be counted as a viewer.

On the weekend however, I deliberately on multiple occasions during day and night, punched in FOX and behold there was nothing being said about the Newtown, Connecticut massacre! The usual comfortable snuggery of gloating you come to expect on the faces of these newscasters and pundits was substituted for an “I don’t know exactly what to say next on the topics we are discussing which are really not the top-most subjects/concerns of the day”. I witnessed and noted this befuddled action of the FOX News persons even before I read Gabriel Sherman’s of the New York Magazine stating the reason for this tomfoolery- the muzzle was put on them. 

The other and most powerful arm of the GOP, the National Rifle Association (NRA), has been silent for the most part until four days after the incident. Even then, they say when the organization will be saying something. The action or non-action of the GOP and the Foxes of this world is playing out the “He who pays the piper calls the tune” paradigm. The NRA and its grand members such as the Koch brothers rule the Republican Party to such extent that they inhibit any spontaneous actions or utterances the party or its affiliates dare to contemplate. Republicans have to march lockstep to the drumbeat of those who pay them, their owners. 

The marriage of the NRA and the GOP is a dysfunctional one. This is a union that is the epitome of domestic abuse. Mind control, psychological abuse and a total “if you dare, speak before we (NRA) tell you to, or dare to have an opinion which is contrary to ours (Koch Brothers, et al)”

A sampling of the deep involvement of the NRA in the affairs of the Republican Party is as follows:

• NRA Board members Joe Allbaugh, Scott Bach, Bob Barr, Ronnie Barrett, Clel Baudler, Ken Blackwell, John Bolton, Chris Cox (Executive Director), Cam Edwards (NRA News Radio Host) all campaigned openly and abashedly for the Republican Party. They spoke and wrote against President Obama in the most acrid and vitriolic manner. 
• October 2011 NRA Board Member Allbaugh was appointed as senior advisor to the Rick Perry campaign. He served also as campaign manager for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

• Bob Barr in an October of 2012 op-ed for the Marietta Daily Journal endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. In June 2012 op-ed for the Daily Caller he wrote scathing remarks against the Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

• John Bolton, Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee, criticized President Obama’s foreign affairs performance in a speech at the NRA Convention in St. Louis, MO.

• To top it all, Chris Cox, NRA Executive Director in an October 2012 op-ed in the Daily Caller wrote: “Few elections in American history have mattered more to the future of our gun rights than the one that will take place just two weeks from today … Just one vote on the [Supreme] Court is all that stands between the America our Founding Fathers established, and the America [President] Barack Obama and his gun-ban allies envision. If Obama wins a second term, he could nominate up to three additional anti-Second Amendment judges in the same mold as his previous two [Supreme Court] nominees, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Obama’s new majority would then almost certainly erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights … Barack Obama’s vision for America is a nation that most of us would hardly recognize, let alone want to live in. And if re-elected, Obama will have the chance to make his vision a reality … It’s time to take our country back. It’s time to defeat Barack Obama.”
Every NRA board member and former board members, to celebrity spokes-person Chuck Norris, to Oliver North, to Ted Nugent, Tom Selleck and Clint Eastwood have been vocal about their support to the Republican brand. It is therefore an open secret that the GOP is in the pocket of the NRA and that they dare not do anything but the NRA’s bidding. 

Rick Perry not only advocates arming teachers but admonishes the federal government from keeping control on directing gun control laws in his speech at a Tea Party event in Texas.  He wants to see states be the final authority on this. Perry puts forward as a model, the Harold Independent School District that became the first school district in the country to permit teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons. Permission to bear arms at school is given to a ‘select’ set approved by the school board.

Whereas I can see the logics of this, I share the unease that parents and educators alike on allowing guns on school grounds. Just this Sunday (two days after the Newtown shooting the American Federation of Teachers, a 1.5 million member strong organization, urged Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan to veto the pending ‘Gun-In-Schools Bill’ describing the Newtown shooting as a “chilling and heartbreaking reminder” that “firearms have absolutely no place in our schools”. America’s population is just under 350 million but there are over 310 million guns in the hands of gun owners almost one to each person counting babies!

Rick Perry, at the Tea Party’s Monday meeting, underscored his defiance to arm teachers said: "If you have been duly back-grounded and trained and you are a concealed handgun license-carrying individual, you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state."

Kudos to the Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder, who exhibited a glimpse of good sense. He vetoed the ‘Guns-In-Schools’ bill. Snyder’s decision, in my opinion is unfortunately not driven by his deep personal belief nor did it exhibit his strength in going against the wishes of the Tea Party and the NRA but by the fact that he is up for re-election in 2014. Funny how when the sword is hanging over these politicians’ heads by the thread of rejection at the polls that they can make decisions that fall in the categories of rationality and reasonableness. Of course shrewdness and prudence are both motivated by re-election possibilities. 

The NRA decided to break its silence on Tuesday, four days after the incident; and they still postponed making any policy statement. They are trying to resolve the conflict of their hard-line, numbskull thinking on the free-for-all ownership of guns and their interpretation of the Second Amendment to mean ownership of guns and ammunition to your heart’s content and without the need for proper check. 

Now it is the Glock 10mm and the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle (assault weapons). Soon it will be the M-252 Motar.
I am anxiously awaiting the NRA’s press conference on Friday (December 21st). In the meantime I will continue to hear what the brave or fool-hardy, attention-seeking Republicans such as Rick Snyder, Rick Perry and Dennis Baxley are saying and doing.


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