Try finding out what happened Tuesday at the National Press Club.
The bulk of the media reporting calmly and rationally outlines the creepy plan that the NRA has proposed to curb gun violence in the schools. Predictably, it involves weapons, armed guards and/or teachers and of course, lots of taxpayer dollars going into the coffers of arms manufacturers.
The presentation of this creepy plan, however, has been pretty much not remarked upon except by Dana Milbank who noticed that the spokesperson for the NRA was surrounded by jack-booted thugs, heavily armed. The intimidation was palpable as these thugs ordered photographers not to take pictures -- in the meeting room of the National Press Club!
This is the look of the future, if we give credence to the greedy, power-hungry fools in the NRA. Paid gun Asa Hutchinson heads up the NRA "task force," coming up with false information to justify arming guards in all schools. And the NRA parades the one father of the twenty children murdered in Sandy Hook who is against gun control as though this is proof positive that their plan is the right one.
But the most essential and overlooked aspect of this bizarre press conference -- requested by the NRA -- is the atmosphere in that room. Twenty armed guards surrounding speakers in a venue that has never been associated with violence is a strong message if you are not so intimidated by it as to not see it.
This is the future that the NRA would want for our country. Imagine schools with armed guards. Malls. Theaters. Street corners.
Imagine an armed presence in your middle schooler's classrooms and hallways. There will always be the students who challenge authority; do you really want it to be authority with a gun?
In the eye of the national press these men chose to give orders that had nothing to do with the safety of those involved. In the national eye, they felt they had the right to order the media not to take pictures -- as they were presumably trying to sell the public on what a good idea it is to have an armed presence.
And now picture your smart-ass son facing down an armed guard. Or a couple of high school kids making out in the hall. Or even worse imagine a student being suspected of holding drugs.
Is this the future we want?
As I heard this news story (in disbelief) I thought of Nazi Germany, and the phrase "jack-booted thugs." I thought of the happy citizens of North Korea, and how "happy" we would all be, how well-behaved would be our children, if the alternative was facing down armed thugs.
The most amazing thing about this brutal show of force, other than how effective it was in cowing most of the media, is that we are allowing the gun nuts to take over. At a protest by mothers demanding gun control there was also a notable presence of those against gun control, and they were heavily armed. We allow protesters to carry assault weapons. As I write that last sentence, I find that I actually don't know what else to say.
We allow armed men (and sadly women) to walk our streets showing us their weapons. We allow ourselves to live in fear, not of the government they claim they need to be protected from, but of the mentally unbalanced who are allowed to intimidate us with guns.
If the national media won't speak up to this intimidation, what hope is there for our children? Under the claim that we are "free" to be armed, we have become the militaristic society from which our democracy has promised to protect us.