Now, setting aside for a moment the validity, sound or not, for either argument, can any of us really imagine a mother welding an AR-15 assault rifle when she answers her front door- or better yet, having one set up in her living room like a piece of exercise equipment? Has America descended so far down the hellhole of violence that irrational thought is now the new normal? Powerful lobbies on both sides of the issue are turning to women as leading spokespeople and symbols. In television advertisements and op-ed articles, speeches at rallies and testimonials before legislators, both types are stoking emotion and fear in an attempt to sway public opinion. What is far worse however is, that lost in all of this fear mongering are the voices of those that really matter, the children. In the midst of this conflagration, the so-called adults on both sides of the issue are using the very bully tactics they de-cry as a major part of the problem that leads to these horrendous tragedies.
Those in favor of stricter firearm restrictions are employing mothers of shooting victims in their public relations push, calculating that when they speak out against gun violence they are hard to dismiss. Hundreds of thousands of moms who began organizing on Facebook after December’s Newtown shootings are staging rallies nationwide and lobbying lawmakers to pass President Obama’s gun-control proposals. The gun lobby, meanwhile, is using women to create a gentler image of the male-dominated industry and to frame its status-quo agenda as more about family safety and self-protection than about hunting and aggression. When CNN aired a town hall forum on gun violence last week, both of the pro-gun panelists were women. Manufacturers sell product lines of feminine firearms and accessories, retrofitting weapons to better accommodate women’s bodies and marketing them in pink and other bright colors. One Web site, Girl’s Guide to Guns, describes itself as “dedicated to women who dig fashion and fire power.”
“America’s women, they are leading the way,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a speech at the gun group’s convention last year. “Nearly 30 million American women now own guns. And they know what all of us have known for a long time: the more women who buy and own and shoot guns, the safer and the better off we’ll all be.” News flash Mr. LaPierre, arming women is not what this debate is about. It’s about disarming troubled teens, urban and suburban. It’s about our children and somehow I just cannot imagine Mother Theresa or Annie Oakley squaring off in the middle of the street armed to the teeth with an AR-15. Can you?
~~~ Jay Arrington (EMAIL)
Maryland Daily Examiner
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