Tonawanda News

January 1, 2013

CONFER: The NRA's inconsistent message

By Bob Confer
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Sometimes the best friends of the liberty movement are its worst enemies. This problem is created by organizations and people who are single-issue oriented. Quite often they call for the sacrifice of rights in order to strengthen the rights that they deem most important. This was made evident again over the past two weeks during which the protectors of the Second Amendment – the National Rifle Association (NRA) – have offered solutions to the issues that led to the Newtown massacre. 

Among its cures is the deployment of armed guards on school campuses.

Putting armed guards on school grounds does not offer a direct threat to the rights of the individual. It does, though, offer a secondary effect in that it indoctrinates Americans to an ever-present police state.

As it stands now, seemingly-intelligent adults have been conditioned to sacrifice liberty (and the Fourth Amendment) for alleged safety at the airports; for that, Americans willingly subject themselves to sexual assault at the hands of TSA agents. Now, think of how their children will be conditioned to seeing that in their travels and the armed government agents roaming the halls of their schools and how they will come to accept as the norm such constant, overreaching babysitting by Big Brother. As they age, thanks to such ubiquitous exposure to the police state in their formative years, they will come to accept — even desire — the anticipated expansion of Homeland Security as it brings TSA agents to bus depots, football stadiums, shopping malls, parks, and other public places. They will also accept without question the ever-growing network of surveillance that saturates our biggest cities and smallest towns. They will never know – or expect - anything different.

While the attack on the individual is subtle, the NRA’s plan is a more direct assault on the 10th Amendment and states’ rights. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mandate the federal policing of local municipalities and public places. That power is left to the states. The NRA, on the other hand, sees it the other way. Their Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said as much in his Dec. 21 comments to the media: “With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget, we can’t afford to put a police officer in every school?” and “I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school.”

Doing so would set an ugly precedent by denying the rights of local governments — and therefore the people — to maintain and oversee their own police and security forces. Local control of police is one of the most important pieces of the liberty puzzle – the moment that the people lose that and the federal government gains control of the protection of our city streets and school hallways, is the moment that we lose everything. Unlike other countries where the police forces are managed by the national government, our police are accountable to the very people they are empowered to serve and protect.

Under federal funding – therefore federal control - police forces would end up reporting to a higher, distant power less in tune with the needs of the residents and more intent on the maintenance of power than the maintenance of freedom.

So, it’s ironic that the NRA claims to fully support the Second Amendment, which was listed in our Bill of Rights by the Founding Fathers to not only offer a means of achieving self-defense and sustenance, but also as a means to offer protection from the evils of totalitarianism, whether that threat came from another country or our own country itself. The NRA’s hopes for federally-funded armed security opens the door to the very type of federal government that our Founding Fathers wanted protection from.

Because of circumstances like this, the liberty movement would be better served if single-topic groups like the NRA focused solely on their task at hand and their specialty niche – in this case, maintaining and/or reclaiming our right to self-defense – and didn’t delve into other areas and ideas that only serve to harm other rights.

If the whole of the Constitution is important to groups like the NRA, they should leave certain matters to individuals and organizations that have a broader and more consistent approach to Americanism.

Gasport resident Bob Confer also writes for the New American magazine at thenewamerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer

Gasport resident Bob Confer also writes for the New American magazine at thenewamerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer