From Columbine High to Robb Elementary School: NRA and the brutalisation of America


The weekend will end with America’s National Rifle Association (NRA) wrapping up its annual convention, all blasé about the fact that in the first 144 days of 2022, America has suffered at least 213 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. (A mass shooting, incidentally, is categorised as one that has resulted in at least four victims killed or injured.)

This year, the world is paying a bit more attention than usual to the NRA because the organisation is meeting just days after a young man armed with a military assault rifle and high-capacity magazines walked into an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and killed 19 children and two adults.

The tragic incident occurred just 280 miles from Houston, where the NRA is championing, as it does, the right for Americans to bear arms, despite everything…

The NRA is growing bolder with every year and its cascade of mass shootings across America.

Consider this. According to leaked tapes, after Columbine, which is seen as the most significant school shooting of its kind, the NRA mused on the appropriate response. Its officials pondered whether to cancel a planned convention and if it would be politic to adopt a more sympathetic tone towards the victims of mass shootings.

That was in 1999.

Nearly a quarter-century later, the NRA is brazen in its certainty, not just about continuing with the show, as planned, but also about its deadly grip on the American right and American politicians’ instincts to do nothing.

The NRA’s generous lobbying dollars mean Congress has made it impossible to study gun violence in schools. As Bloomberg recently noted one study has just started, but that’s it, even though guns are now the No. 1 killer of children in America. “Imagine if carrots were the No. 1 killer of children. We’d be swimming in carrot studies,” it added.

The NRA’s unconcern reflects the coarsening and brutalisation of America.

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