Sunday, April 12, 2009

Accepting mass fatal shootings as fact of life - an NRA success story

Writing about the recent mass killing of 13 in Binghamton, a USA Today reporter noted that “Since 1976, an average of 18 mass fatal shootings have occurred yearly in the USA, killing nearly 3,000 people, an analysis of FBI data by Northeastern University professor James Alan Fox shows. These are incidents in which four or more people have been killed, excluding the attacker.” The shooting occurred just short of two years after the mass killing at Virginia Tech University that left 33 dead.
Some years ago, such mass killings would have sparked calls for more stringent gun control legislation. This incident sparked almost none. There has been a cultural change in the United States. Restricting accessibility to guns of all types has become an issue that few political leaders will touch. Responding to the Binghamton mass killing, an NRA spokesperson was quoted as saying "this is a time to be supporting the bereaved families in their grief, not to be raising political issues [of gun control legislation.]” the majority of Americans and most political leaders seem to agree.

Whatever one’s views regarding gun rights (or gun control) one has to admire the National Rifle Association for its focus, tenacity and political skills. Winning victory in the battle over such a divisive issue is no mean feat.

This semester, I am teaching our International Development Program’s core course entitled simply “International Development.” My class members are an inspiring group. Most have international experience. Four are returned Peace Corps volunteers. Virtually all share a deep commitment to the international development field’s overarching goal: improving the well being of the poorest of the poor and ‘giving voice to those who have no voice.’

One of my class assignments is entitled “How My Professional Life Will Make a Difference.” It is motivated by my belief that class members, in one way or another, intend to be change agents.

Anyone who is seriously interested in becoming a change agent should devote serious study to the National Rifle Association. the leaders of this organization are supporting their beliefs effectively. They are living lives that make a difference. You could begin your research by checking out their website at

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Blogger LFC said...

"They are living lives that make a difference."
Yes, the NRA, in its narrowly-focused way, is helping to make one part of the world (the U.S.) a less safe place.
The moral, one might suggest, is that there is something worse than not making a difference -- namely, making the wrong kind of difference.

6:11 PM  

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