Now that the president of the United States has finally discovered something known as racism, we can all sit back, confident that the violence in Charlottesville will be addressed. But the folks breathing a deep sigh of relief aren’t the few remaining establishment Republicans who are giving Trump ‘one more chance.’ It’s our friends in Fairfax, a.k.a., the NRA. Anyone who believes there’s no connection between the resurgence of far-right activity and recent NRA messaging shares a brain with my mother-in-law, and she’s been in the cemetery for more than ten years. How has the NRA aligned itself with the alt-right, alt-white crowd? On the issue of terrorism, in particular terrorist violence within our own midst.
According to what we know about James Fields so far, this 20-year-old graduated high school, was briefly in the Army but washed out of basic training and sent home. If he had a job, it didn’t interfere with the time he needed to drive from Ohio to Charlottesville at some point before the attack occurred.
But what if instead of using his car to attack the crowd, our young white supremacist had pulled out a gun, let’s say a Glock like the type Jared Loughner used to shoot Gabby Giffords and nineteen others in Tucson or the AR-15 that Adam Lanza used to mow down 26 adults and school kids at Sandy Hook? Trump or no Trump, I suspect the public reaction would have been intense, because the death toll probably would have been much higher than just 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who associates and friends described as being committed to equality and “very strong.” I can just see Trump getting back up there and blustering about supporting 2nd Amendment “rights.” Yea, right.
The NRA has been promoting the idea of armed citizens for a long time, but what was initially a strategy based on the idea of using a gun for protection against crime has now morphed into a more generic argument about the value of carrying a firearm in response to the threat of a terrorist attack. At the 2015 annual meeting, Wayne-o Lapierre told the faithful that ‘terror cells’ were operating in all major American cities and a major terrorist attack was soon going to take place. He’s recently honed the message a bit in order to take pot-shots at the continued resistance to his buddy Donald Trump; now Wayne-o claims the biggest threat is from something called the “leftist movement” which is “angry, militant and willing to engage in criminal violence to get what they want.”
But it wasn’t a member of this militant antifa who committed the horrendous act of violence in Charlottesville, it was someone who identified with the alt-right, alt-white groups who are 100-percent behind Trump’s efforts to “make America great.” In fact, a number of the neo-Nazis were wearing red MAGA hats during the Charlottesville march, no doubt they bought them for $2.26 (marked down from $3.33) on eBay, free shipping when you buy.
In his recent remarks about left-wing violence and terrorism that I quoted above, Wayne-o mentioned that “multiple police officers” were hospitalized during Trump’s inauguration because of injuries suffered at the hands of the left-wing mob. It turns out that all four officers were treated and released; two were hit by “something” thrown from the crowd, a third was because he fell off his bicycle and the fourth because another cop sprayed him with mace. Want to compare those injuries to what James Fields did with his car?
The last thing I would like to see is one of those white supremacists taking the NRA at its word and going out gunning after members of a “terrorist cell.” But if Wayne-o keeps equating carrying a gun with patriotism and Trump-o keeps saying that patriots can make America great again, you have all the ingredients for someone to walk up to a crowd of demonstrators, pull out a cannon and bang away.