by Yvette Carnell
During Friday’s press conference, National Rifle Association President Wayne Lapierre shifted blame away from his organization and onto ‘evil’ people and violent video games. Some speculate that the NRA is willing to say anything it needs in order to protect the financial interests of those seeking to make billions of dollars by offering more guns as a solution to the guns already on the street. The capitalist motives of the gun industry effectively preclude the NRA from having any set of policies that put the value of life over economic gain. But never have they met a greater challenge than explaining to the nation why they are allowing their financial motivations to trump the importance of 20 dead school children.
The NRA argues that it is evil people and not money hungry corporations that are causing the bloodshed in American streets. While they seem to have grown comfortable overlooking dead school children in order to protect profits, one question they are not comfortable answering is this: What influenced the son of NRA head David Keene, who fired into the car of another motorist in 2002?
The New Yorker previously reported on how Keene’s served jail time for his misuse of a firearm.
In 2002, Keene’s son David Michael Keene was driving on the George Washington Memorial Parkway when, in a road-rage incident, he fired a handgun at another motorist. He was sentenced to ten years in prison for “using, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in a crime of violence.” I asked Keene if this private tragedy had left him uncertain about what the N.R.A. had wrought. He said no: “You break the law, you pay the price.”
But paying the price is not the issue. The issue is that Keene’s son who, like too many gun owners, abused his second amendment right and could’ve killed someone in doing so. Perhaps the NRA is not aware that having so many easily accessible, high-powered killing machines available in a society full of emotionally fragile people can turn our nation into the wild-wild west. Do they realize that they can still get rich by selling hunting rifles and hand guns without offering every lunatic with Internet access the chance to buy a gun that can take out 20 school children before the police have time to respond?
And Keene has still not come out to answer whether or not he agrees with the position of Lapierre, that violent videos, games and ‘evil’ people are the cause of the gun problem. If that’s the case, one wonders if Keene considers his son evil? Or is he is just one of thousands of people who get emotional, and because of the availability of guns, made a decision he can’t take back.
In the words of Syracuse University Professor Dr. Boyce Watkins, this incident highlights the depths of NRA hypocrisy.
“What I find most astonishing about incidents like Sandy Hook is that many people don’t connect to the human side of these tragedies until they hit close to home,” says Dr. Watkins, who is an outspoken critic of the NRA. “The fact that Mr. Keene’s son is one of the very people that his organization demonizes puts this man in a very awkward position. In fact, it sounds like he is every bit as irresponsible as his fellow gun owner, Nancy Lanza (mother of Adam Lanza).”
The media should ask Keene… what was wrong with your kid? Let’s talk about that and let’s also ask Keene if he’d be saying the things he’s saying if corporations weren’t paying him to say it. Selling your soul to corporate America is certainly the motto of the NRA. But there’s a point where you don’t have a soul left to sell. Mr. Keene will have quite a few regrets on his death bed and just like Nancy Lanza, his extremist viewpoints have ruined the life of his son.