While the two sides of the aisle cannot even agree on the root cause of gun violence in this country, the Europeans, hearing reports of yet another mass shooting in the US, scratch their heads and wonder what the hell is our problem.
The answer is that the devil, as they say, is in the details, and what the Europeans don’t hear about is a not so small detail called the National Rifle Association (NRA). Though it is neither a governmental institution, nor run by elected officials, yet, when it comes to the subject of firearms, the NRA has had more than 230 legislative victories in the past ten years on the state level alone, never mind federal. Why is that? Judging by the likes of Wayne LaPierre, they are neither intelligent, nor very persuasive in their arguments, which are often as outlandish as they are misleading or downright untrue. Is it that Mr. LaPierre is just so incredibly charming? Hardly. Even among his staunchest supporters, I doubt “charm” is the word that springs to their minds in connection with ol’ Wayne.
So what other reason is there? Well, let us answer that question with another. If the NRA were an organization with limited or no financial resources, would they have been able to push as many laws through as they have? Not bloody likely. So then, it must all come down to money. Lots and lots of money being funneled to where it can do the most good for the NRA’s cause. But wait a minute! Money being paid to buy legislation? Isn’t that what we call corruption when it happens somewhere else? No, you say, here it’s not corruption because it’s done legally. Aha, legally; do you mean because there just happen to be so many loopholes built into the laws that this money can flow unimpeded or questioned? Remind me, who was it who wrote those loopholes in the first place? Who added all those caveats here and there for manna to rain from “benefactors” such as the NRA or, say, Americans for Tax Reform, another “poor” organization, this time working to further the cause of the financially challenged!
Now, I admit, maybe it’s not exactly non-sequential, used bills, stuffed into briefcases, changing hands in secret locations, maybe cash goes through several permutations and transformations before it benefits its intended target but hey, doesn’t a rose by any other name, still smell as sweet? All expenses paid trips, campaign funding, a favor here, a discount there? They all had to start at some point as Jacksons, Grants and Franklins before being converted into something else, no? Ah, hang on! I seem to recall that this sort of thing is called, now, don’t tell me, it’ll come to me any minute, oh yes, money laundering! Well, well, no, you say? It’s not money laundering because the money used was not proceeds from an illegal enterprise? Oh, OK, then. How about we just call it something like, I don’t know, “cash disguising” or “currency dress-up”? Does that sound better?
We are most vociferous when pointing our self-righteous finger of indignation, shouting our claim for all to hear that it it our duty to teach our moral values to all those countries rampant with corruption; that it is our responsibility to stamp out money laundering by drug cartels and mobs, that we, as the most law-abiding nation in the world, must set an example; we must be the shinning beacon of light when it comes to honesty and integrity. Really?