44k Signatories of Avaaz Petition Tell NRA “ENOUGH!”

In a petition that on Sunday, 16 December had over 44,000 signatories, concerned citizens from around the US and the world are telling NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre that they “can no longer accept NRA blocking sensible gun control laws.” They call on LaPierre “to recognize that reasonable laws are not incompatible with gun owners’ rights. Our country needs new gun rules now to protect our children.”

I watched LaPierre in action this summer at the UN’s Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty as he and other gun lobbyists gave shockingly misleading testimony on global policymaking efforts to withhold conventional weapons from regimes that abuse human rights. In an article I wrote for Global Policy‘s online Comment and Editorial section, I tried to understand the ideology that would enable one “to represent, in good conscience, an industry that profits from the killing and maiming of thousands of people.” I found that seeing “The World According to a Gun Lobbyist” required buying into a discourse that “relies on a radically individualistic and confident notion of the Self – a kind of frontierist or vigilantist masculinity, more preoccupied with the importance of preserving the right to hunt or the heritage of ‘antique weapons’ than the humanitarian impact of a world awash with AK-47s.”

Unsurprisingly, the gun lobbyist’s inflated notion of the white male Self impoverishes his view of the Social, the institutions that mediate the interaction of the Self with Others. … In other words, counter to any social scientific study of weapons, to the gun lobbyist, guns have no social meaning or context; they lie in pristine isolation from culture, norms, ethics and power relations. Thus, gun lobbyists replace civil society and public institutions with relations mediated by the market and weaponry, leaving individuals radically alone in their interaction with the world.

But this is not the world as so many of us know it. The world is a diverse, complex one. The lines between the Self and Other are blurry. We rely on each other far more than a gun lobbyist would allow us to beleive. That is why ordinary citizens, like the 44,000 signatories of the Avaaz petition, must mobilize to show the NRA that civil society, humanity and altruism genuinely exist. We do not have to live under the gun.

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 16 December 2012.

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