Thursday, October 22, 2015

The AmericanRifleman, the Democratic Debate and Drug Commercials

                                   

Read the AmericanRifleman! (an NRA publication)


I’ve been reading the AmericanRifleman, particularly NRA Excecutive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s column.  It is convincing stuff, emotionally and statistically, for those who are against any further government (any government, Federal, state or local) restriction on gun control, or any more restrictive interpretation of the Constitution’s Second Amendment.  The rest of the editorial content of the magazine is similarly potent.  After digesting this highly opinionated material, the reader is left with many pages of articles about and ads for weapons in the AmericanRifleman, all of which are no different from the specialized articles and ads found in any sportsman’s magazine, be it devoted to golf, tennis or mountain climbing.  They don’t matter.  Or do they?


What definitely does matter, however, is the tone which the magazine sets, that the ownership of personal and efficient killing devices (guns) is perfectly normal and usual since they are useful for self-defense.   Tennis rackets, golf clubs, bowling balls, guns .... we have a right to possess them all.  Except that the ultimate purpose of guns is to kill ... and they do that to more people than tennis rackets, golf clubs and bowling balls combined do.


Wayne LaPierre, NRA Exec. V.P.

LaPierre’s November column deals with the recent shooting of two TV news people by another employee, who had purchased his weapon legally.  He had wanted “to start a race war” and had no mental health record despite some very dangerous anti-social thoughts.  LaPierre asks “What has this got to do with us?" (the NRA) and answers “Not a Single Thing.”  


The title of his column is “Gun Control is a Tool to Make Innocents Pay the Price for the Guilty” and goes on to point out that “you cannot ‘prevent’ evil” and furthermore, that gun control is “a danger to our freedom and way of life” because it implies that “one-third of the U.S. population, vastly good people who enjoy the exercise of liberty guaranteed by a God-given constitutional right should be responsible for one ‘troubled personality’.”  This approach was also taken by the NRA after other killings (Newtown, Aurora, Columbine) over the past years.  Why blame us?


Reading on in the magazine, the NRA President’s column deals with the failure of gun control to thwart crime in El Salvador and its Political Report column talks about the stakes for the NRA in the 2016 elections.  There also are numerous articles describing how good people averted being the victims of crimes because of the fact that they were armed, and a detailed article refuting the claim of gun control supporters that “armed self-defense” is rare.


There are 300,000,000 guns in the United States, many in the hands of those who should not have them.  The ones in the hands of the five million NRA members are not the ones we should be worrying about.  What we should be worrying about is the mindset of the NRA’s leadership, and many of its followers, that having a gun for self-defense is something we all have a right to have like having a refrigerator to keep food cold, an automobile to drive around in or a bathroom in which to take a shower.  That right exists, and nobody wants to take it away, but it must be controlled because it’s not the same as the right of civilized people who live in a world where law and order prevail to take showers, drive cars and eat refrigerated food with a government in place to protect them from those who would defy law and order. 


I would hope we live in such a world.  The NRA’s leadership does not …  at least so long as the magazine is filled with articles about and ads for guns, and that mindset enables guns to be readily available to those who should not have them, as well as those "vastly good people" who own guns.  That's why more gun control measures are needed.




Get your hands on a copy, old or new, of the AmericanRifleman. It's in most public libraries.  Right now you can read some of its articles by clicking on AmericanRifleman.  To defeat an enemy, one must know about them.  Read the AmericanRifleman and find out what those of us who still believe in a nation where law and order prevail  are up against. 
Jack Lippman


                                                                                       



Advertising Drugs

I think it is obscene the way pharmaceutical companies are permitted to advertise their prescription drugs on television, pointing out their curative benefits while people using the drug, often accompanied by a dog, walk through idyllic settings in slow motion.  Viewers are urged to speak to their doctor about the drug, as if the 24 billion dollars the pharmaceutical industry spends each year “educating” physicians about their products (eight times what they spend “educating” consumers) wasn’t enough to get their message across.  This is particularly true of drugs aimed at treating malignancies, as if one’s oncologist were not aware of a drug which the patient saw in a one minute TV commercial between episodes of a sitcom.  These numbers can be reviewed graphically at http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/11/big-pharmaceutical-companies-are-spending-far-more-on-marketing-than-research/.


At the end of these commercials there is sometimes a briefly-displayed warning in very, very, small print that only a speed-reading expert can decipher (like the small print at the end of automobile commercials telling you the amount you have to pay up front) citing all of the hazards the drug presents.  The text of this is also provided as a gentle “voice over” as the commercial proceeds, at the same time the patient and his dog or grandchild are shown strolling in slow motion through the verdant countryside or on a beach.  The narrator often says in dulcet tones things like “occasional fatal events have occurred when using … “





And while on this subject, shouldn’t there be similar warnings in the recruiting commercials for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.  Wouldn’t a caveat like “you also run the chance of getting killed“ be appropriate?
JL 

                                      


The Democrats Debate

Sanders and Sanders