July 2014

Americans frequently shoot themselves and others accidentally – often fatally. You would have thought that the NRA – an organization purportedly representing the interests of gun owners – would work to reduce this senseless violence. Perhaps the old NRA would have, but this current lot cannot afford to highlight this problematic side of gun ownership.

Should you mention that the NRA never publicly addresses accidental shootings, the gun absolutists will indignantly – and misleadingly – point to “Eddie Eagle’, the NRA’s gun safety character. Superficially this cartoonish figure has some safety cred – but it is only skin deepEddie EagleHe comes with two strikes. One, as critics maintain, is that he is a Trojan Horse. That he is to guns what Joe the Camel was to cigarettes. That is to say, he is a cynical promotional tool, foisted on impressionable kids, by an organization that has morphed from a gun-owner advocacy group t0 a marketing arm of the gun manufacturers.

These critics claim that Eddie’s role is to lure new customers to the gun industry. Certainly there is a Ronald McDonald cast to the smiling bird. But is the characterization fair?

To get at that truth let’s consider the second strike. The NRA is very vocal about gun ownership rights. Even going so far as to fret that a law banning the sale of ivory might make criminals out of the owners of ivory embellished guns. But as noisy as they are about the rights of gun owners they are silent on gun responsibility. Just try and find an NRA public service announcement addressing gun safety.

In addition to Eddie Eagle, the NRA trumpets its training. Indeed, the NRA was founded as an organization to teach marksmanship after  the disastrous performance of union riflemen in the Civil War. But safety and training are buried on their website. You can easily find its lobbying arm – and its store – but safety requires navigation.

It’s simple really. If reducing accidental shootings were a priority for the NRA they would talk about them publicly and feature solutions to them on their website. It doesn’t – because they aren’t.

To put the NRA’s approach to gun safety in perspective, imagine if the AMA had reacted to the dangers of smoking by staying silent. Then, when their passivity was challenged, they had reacted by huffily pointing to their website, with its cigarette warnings three clicks from its home page.

A reasonable person would question their commitment to reducing tobacco-caused illness. Especially if they had also lobbied to give the tobacco industry legal protection from product liability suits. And cowed the GOP into demanding that the CDC cease to research the connection between smoking and disease.

The truth is that the NRA – and its acolytes – will never pursue an aggressive path to reducing accidental shootings as long as their priority is to pursue a promiscuous view of the 2nd amendment.


Really? 7.24.14 – Religion and Intolerance

July 24, 2014

“Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine.” – Jonathan Swift, “Gulliver’s Travels”. God and morality. Religious folk claim that without God there is no morality. That if you don’t believe in God you […]

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Really? 7.23.14 – Texas hates on women; Politicians with ADHD; Ignoring evidence; Cruel, but not so unusual; ACA games.

July 23, 2014

“And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite.” – Oscar Wilde Texas wants them barefoot and pregnant. Texas promotes abstinence-only sex ed. It has slashed funding for family planning services. It has so regulated […]

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Without People Scientific Truth Would Still Exist. Religion Wouldn’t.

July 21, 2014

The difference between the theory of evolution and creationism is the same as the difference between an explorer and a missionary. A good explorer has no agenda, he is merely interested in what he finds. The good missionary has no interest in discovering anything, but only in browbeating others into accepting his religious point of […]

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Microsoft CEO Explains At Great Length That The Company Must Be Leaner.

July 18, 2014

Microsoft is a mature business. Which gives it the same advantages and disadvantages that mature people have. They know a lot. But they become stodgy and set in their ways. Mature people, who want to shed weight, exercise and experiment with diets. Mature businesses cut payroll and experiment with business strategies. Some people succeed. Some corporations fail […]

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Nineteen Eighty-Four’s “Newspeak” in 2014.

July 17, 2014

Part of George Orwell’s genius was his understanding of how language shapes ideas. Words and phrases are not neutral. Consider the difference in meaning between the glass half-full and the glass half-empty. In ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ Big Brother’s authority stemmed in part from “newspeak” – a language designed to simplify English – and remove negative words -in […]

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Language Matters. Orwell’s “translation” of Ecclesiastes 9:11

July 16, 2014

You can speak with clarity and strength, or not. George Orwell’s reworking of Ecclesiastes 9:11 illustrates this well. In the King James version of the Bible, the verse is rendered thus, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread […]

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July 14, 2014

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. – Henry Ford Conservatives enjoy Ann Coulter, in much the same way a child enjoys fireworks.They are colorful, make a lot of noise, are easy to understand and don’t take up a lot of time. Children – and […]

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Really? – 7.12.14. – Christians Taking Care of the Environment; Sexaholic; Enzymes in the Anus; Fencing Out the Kids; America’s Dumbest Congressman?

July 12, 2014

Christians taking biblical care of the environment.  Some “Christians” have strayed so far from Jesus’s philosophy that it is chutzpah for them to call themselves Christian. But there are many who still do the Christian thing. The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced it will divest itself of all investments in fossil fuel companies, […]

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