If the National Rifle Association were a person, rather than an organization, wise people might wonder if its actions were actually a call for help.
Well, as Mitt Romney so famously explained, “corporations are people, my friend.”
The NRA’s recent actions can’t be seen as anything other than a self-destructive rampage, not so different from those displayed by people who attempt suicide or engage in life-threatening behavior.
Just take the last couple of weeks as an example.
In Tucson, Arizona, a local grocery chain teamed up with city officials for a gun buyback. This is a city in which a Congresswoman was shot and several other people killed by a deranged individual a year ago.
The buyback was simple and, one would have thought, noncontroversial. The police agreed to let people who owned guns they didn’t want to turn them in and the grocery chain offered them a coupon worth $50 as an incentive.
No one had to turn in a gun. The reimbursement was minimal. The federal government wasn’t involved. There were 200 guns and rifles turned in and the city destroyed them.
The local NRA people tried to stop the procedure. They said Arizona state law demands that a community can dispose of property like guns only by offering them to the highest bidder. They even plan to change state law to make sure no future guns can be destroyed.
This is insane.
More recently: The NRA sponsored an iPhone “app” to be used by children as a video game allowing them to do target practice at coffin-shaped targets. It originally was marketed to kids aged four and older, though, now, I think, the recommended age is 12.
This is insane.
Then, the association started displaying a web ad asking whether President Obama’s children are more important than “your” children since his kids go to a school protected by armed guards. The ad sneers that the president is a “hypocrite.”
I’m not exactly sure whether the NRA thinks all schools should receive Secret Service protection. Anything less than that would make the ad irrelevant.
In any case, it is insane.
You see, here’s the thing: A month ago, 20 little children were massacred in a Connecticut school by a guy with a semi-automatic assault rifle. Actually, that kind of weapon has been used several times in recent history to massacre people.
The NRA is busy doing everything in its power to make sure that no laws are passed that might, in any way, limit the ability of future killers to duplicate that tragedy. It has picked a very public fight with the President of the United States over the issue.
Now, one might think that the NRA is taking a public posture that the lives of those 20 kids are less important than its efforts to intimidate the government of the United States.
One might think that.
One might also think the leadership of the NRA is insane.
And trying to destroy gun buy-back programs, promote target shooting apps for four-year olds and using the president’s children as pawns in a political campaign just might be the organization’s way of pleading with the public to stop it before it completely destroys itself in the public mind.