If the fire department, which we all hope is staffed by sane men and women who are charged with the imperative of protecting us and our loved ones from combining with oxygen in an unpleasant way, were to pour gasoline on a house fire, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense, unless of course it turned out that the fire department in question was owned and instructed by an oil company. So when late last month the Florida senate voted to arm Florida’s teachers with loaded firearms, many were horrified but few were surprised. The state senators are owned and directed by the National Rifle Association, of course, and if they want to keep their jobs they will do as they are told. Presumably, on their way to the bank, those senators who still recall what shame feels like, blushed all the way.
If the governance of a nation of over 300 million people can be controlled and manipulated by what amounts to a mere gun club with only 5 million members, it’s time to stop calling that nation a democracy. Most Americans (59%) don’t want to arm teachers. In presidential election terms that is a landslide.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this statistic also means that 41% of Americans are blithering morons. You may be relieved to learn that fully 73% of American teachers do not want to be armed, suggesting that only 27% of American teachers are blithering morons.
Now comes a bit of good news. It looks like the NRA is in deep trouble economically and, perhaps, criminally. The $70 million that the NRA spent to assist Republican candidates in winning or maintaining their seats in 2016 may not be available in 2020. To the recent fractious NRA leadership squabbles, including charges of insider self dealing involving its CEO and president Wayne LaPierre, was recently added a new investigation by New York’s Attorney General Letitia James into allegations of financial improprieties. Donald Trump, predictably, tweeted about it, saying, it’s time to “stop the internal fighting” involving charges of financial misconduct by top leaders and “get back to GREATNESS – FAST!”
Whether this double barreled bit of good news spells the ultimate doom of the NRA is a story yet to be told, but most are certain that its political efficacy has been substantially diminished. Vigorous political aid from the NRA may very well have been one of the seven or eight necessary but, by themselves, not sufficient factors that combined to hand Donald Trump his “win” in 2016. With the NRA gone or sufficiently hobbled, Trump’s chances appear gloomier than ever.
But don’t sleep easy just yet. Evil has a funny way of making a comeback in these odd times. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan to put anything past the NRA until that blessed day when its ascendancy over the American political landscape is snatched away at last from its cold, dead hands.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.