Short stories and essays by Shaun Costello, as well as excerpts from manuscripts in progress.

HOW THE NRA HOODWINKED AMERICA

By Shaun Costello

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Somewhere along the way, the National Rifle Association, which is nothing more than a lobbying entity representing the firearms industry, has positioned itself as an organization dedicated to preserving the freedoms of each and every American citizen. This extraordinary advertising coup was achieved by enlisting Hollywood actors like Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston to espouse

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the importance of the firearm as an integral element in America’s history, and in every American’s heritage. America’s freedom from the tyranny of British rule was achieved by means of the gun, claims the NRA, therefore freedom itself, the birthright of every American, can only be maintained by the gun. Early on, the NRA ingratiated itself with alleged patriotic organizations like the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and any and every right wing political entity they could penetrate. Over the years, with careful image control, and effective

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advertising, the NRA has positioned itself as the protector of America’s Freedom, and an integral element in the maintenance of democratic rule, as created by America’s founding fathers. The objective of this image campaign was to equate the NRA with all things patriotic, so that the average American would think of the NRA, right up there with the Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, The Boston Tea Party, George Washington, the flag, and Mom’s apple pie.
And it worked. Now that the NRA, which in reality was simply a lobby group for a multi-billion dollar industry, had woven its way into the fabric of patriotic America’s tapestry, its next move was to begin donating to key political campaigns, creating a network of obligated politicians across the country who would vote pro-gun, regardless of their prior, or actual beliefs.

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The word was out now for every elected official, regardless of political affiliation. Want to keep your job? Vote pro-gun.
With political power in their grasp, the NRA would control all legislation that might effect or regulate the firearms industry, which has annual revenues exceeding eleven billion dollars. Through fear tactics, and the patriotic bully pulpit, the NRA’s base expanded, and their power became unchallengeable. But suddenly, America woke up. The recent tragic events in Newtown Connecticut have changed everything. A deranged kid with his mother’s legally bought, .223 Caliber military assault rifle, slaughtered 20 little children in their classrooms, 6 teachers who died protecting their kids, his mother, and finally himself. A catastrophe of such

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magnitude that America has been shocked into a reality that might finally put a stop to unregulated manufacture and sale of assault weapons, and the NRA’s strangle hold on the political machinery that allowed those weapons to find their way into the hands of killers.
After a week’s silence, Wayne LaPierre, the President of the NRA, called a news conference this afternoon, finally expressing the NRA’s response to the tragedy in Newtown. His words were shocking, but not surprising. In keeping with the NRA’s policy of ever-expanding gun sales, LaPierre suggested arming teachers and school administrators. Mr. LaPierre stood there at the microphone and said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” So, the NRA-supported firearms industry will supply both the good guys and the bad guys with more guns, and they can shoot it out.

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Not this time. America seems finally to have awakened to the NRA’s charade of patriotic hyperbole and congressional manipulation. Twenty kids are dead. Enough. The President seems to have awakened as well, and even some Republican Congressmen are beginning to understand the need for more stringent gun regulation. Will it happen? I hope so. Will Americans finally understand that the Second Amendment, which the NRA successfully tattooed on the American psyche as giving anyone the right to unlimited and unregulated gun ownership, is an archaic instrument, used by the paranoid to assuage their fears and insecurities? I can only hope.

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The NRA is not what it claims to be. They’re the playground bully, threatening the weaker kids and stealing their lunch money. Once America begins to understand this simple fact, and politicians stop cowering in fear that their re-election funding will dry up, maybe we’ll stop shooting each other. After all, no playground bully is anywhere near as tough as he thinks. He’s only what you believe he is. Nothing more.

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© 2012 Shaun Costello

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16 responses

  1. Well said, Shaun. They are bullies and liars. Even responsible gun owners are in favor better laws. Unfortunately, it seems that the racists in the NRA are still living in the fantasy land of their own devising.

    December 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

  2. Melissa Y

    Question: How many NRA members does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Answer: More guns -_-

    December 23, 2012 at 1:32 am

  3. Shaun, the right amount and right wordings were said in a short essay. Unfortunately guns will continue to sell, people will still get them, they will still fall into the wrong hands Federal law change or not. It may go the way of the switchblade knife, legal in such and such states with such and such regulations of it, but not totally stopped yet switchblades are still sold, carried and traded. Wasn’t the law on switchblades stupid back in the days ? Aren’t there still crime and death by some type of knife, any knife ? There sure are and owning or carrying a switchblade DOESN’T mean certain death to the first one that comes along nor does the switchblade represent murder and nothing but !!! Any fool can pull a trigger and stab, there are no specific gun or knife made to act on its own, an individual is the blame of crime and that can not be foreseen as sadly as mass killings do happen, they will happen in another way with another weapon. Tell me how many mass murders were ever committed with a switchblade at any one time….none, so why is the switchblade deemed so highly deadly that a Federal law is needed ? Laws on guns are way, way, way behind and badly needed but wait….what about guns for hunting, now another problem or avenue to go to acquire them. I want to go hunting, I love the SPORT, I go for classes, get a license, I but a rifle, I go back to New York and kill the mayor and governor which many people want to see happen. Now switchblades are banned, so lets ban guns and hunting…oh no, that will never happen !!!

    December 23, 2012 at 1:40 am

    • shauncostello

      20 children died in Newtown. Mowed down by a deranged kid with a .223 caliber military assault rifle, which can be easily modified to fire automatically. If legislation had been passed making this weapon illegal, and not having access to this kind of killing machine altered the killer’s actions to where 19 were killed instead of 20, the saving of that one life justifies legislating assault weapons off the market. The life of one innocent child.

      December 23, 2012 at 7:07 am

      • Shaun, The problem may just be “America” herself. This country produces an extraordinary amount of violent films, violent cartoons, super heros do nothing but crush, kill, destroy, the newspapers have so much crime one way or another, weapons of all types can be purchased with ease, traded or passed to the wrong hands. So much is in ones face it is likely someone will act upon violent, take it as a mental past time dwelling on it and performing such acts as Newtown. There are countries that prohibited violent in any manner or form to be seen on TV, movies, etc, not even Karate movies are allowed….its violent and someone will imitate it to some degree, for some reason. Not even Karate weapons can be purchased in those countries. Prohibiting violent sports is another no, no, and yes crime is little in “violent prohibited” countries. But America gone from Mickey Mouse and Popeye to extreme shame of presenting violent as the thing of thrill and necessity. Everywhere you look in America there is violent and hate, no wonder one is sucked into the world of plotting death, dreaming of big time action through violent in any form, in any way. You have awaken, I have awaken but America has yet to awaken to the outcome to violent put in our faces. Until America awakens you can be sure something, somewhere will happen again !!! Vince von Lamburg.

        December 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm

  4. shauncostello

    No Vince, your argument holds no water. First ,the piece I wrote had little to do with the societal eccentricities of America, but instead, the availibility of military style firearms, and how the NRA, a lobby for the American firearms industry, has cleverly ingraciated itself in the American psyche. It is not only countries like America that suffer the carnage of the deranged. Peaceful Norway, much to everyone’s surprise, awakened in July of 2011 to find that a white supremicist racist psychopath named Anders Breivik, in order to make the world a better place, assaulted a youth camp, killing 77 victim’s, mostly white students. Peaceful Norway. It can happen anywhere. Do the math – if we make these military style assault rifles difficult or impossible to obtain, we are saving lives. It’s that simple.

    December 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm

  5. Shaun, I agree with you very much but I was compelled to express a different avenue which I feel leads exclusively to a misconduct of our youths and adults. I feel watching violent “everything” plays a part on the “quack’s” and those whom “dare”. I call this “commercial violence” just like all the beer and cigarette advertising, constantly aimed at the young and it is they who are affected with harming oneself and committing crimes. The sick and shameful youths we have today is phenomenal. I am concerned about our youths, as I see them as the best material for a strong, peaceful and free America, are they not? Unrestricted commercial violence does to some degree effect people of all ages especially troubled ones. Guns of any kind should have been highly controlled going back to the wild west. Again back then there were also senseless, disturbed and planned killings for money, hate, revenge, avenge, you name it. Yes guns should only be in the hands of the police and military. But from here too guns will be smuggled out to the normal and crazy people, it can not be fully contained. The NRA bothered me many times but I always turned them down…guns do not belong in the people’s hands !!! As I mentioned above if hunting continues to exists then rifles will continue to be in the peoples hands and the military type will go the way of the so declared “murderous” switch blade knives and still people will get hold of them beating around the bush. These senseless killings proves one thing, that to give arms to people is criminal, more so then giving them freedom and the government is to blame.

    December 28, 2012 at 11:38 pm

  6. john smith

    Well someone has to protect the second amendment!!!! The NRA is a good thing, it protects the second amendment from politicians and stupid liberals like you that live in a fantasy world where somehow banning guns makes us safe. criminals do not follow laws!!!! if we banned guns then they would be the only ones with them.

    “America’s freedom from the tyranny of British rule was achieved by means of the gun, claims the NRA…” yes it was you dumbass!!! what do you think they would just hand us our freedom? or sign some stupid treaty? they wanted to control us and rule over us!!! guns protect us from tyrants.

    And the gun he used was not a “military assault rifle” a real military assault rifle would be FULLY AUTOMATIC and also a 5.56 nato caliber not a .223. the public can not own assault weapons.

    and for a few comments from others…
    “guns do not belong in the people’s hands !!!” “to give arms to people is criminal” “racists in the NRA” you people are CRAZY like the mass murderers!!!!!!!! how the f**k is the NRA racist? what the hell have you been smoking? to give arms to people is NOT CRIMINAL, IT’S CALLED FREEDOM. something that libtards don’t understand. (hint hint see below)

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

    “To Conquer a Nation, first Disarm it’s Citizens” -Adolf Hitler

    January 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    • shauncostello

      Once upon a time the NRA represented the rights of hunters, marksmen, and gun collectors. It has for many years however, represented the 12 billion dollar a year firearms industry. The NRA has no interest whatsoever in the Second Amendment, or in protecting the rights of anyone whose financial interests they do not represent. It is all a big, successfully executed myth. I served in the military, and had to qualify with the AR15. At the firing range, I watched a young officer adjust the firing mechanism, using only a small phillips head screwdriver, converting the weapon’s rate of fire from semi-automatic to fully automatic. It took him less than a minute. The Bushmaster .223 has the same firing mechanism. The paranoia that seems to afflict a small but noisy fraction of the American population, that the government is coming to take away your guns, to take away your rights, is troubling, and has led to catastrophic encounters between law enforcement and psychpathic splinter groups like the Branch Davidians, and many others. It’s time for responsible gun owners, and most are, to hold the NRA, and the army of paranoids that hides under its protective umbrella, accountable for their actions. Assault weapons must be restricted to the use of our militery. Our children are dying, Enough.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:24 am

  7. Gene Lange

    Shaun, you’re out of your mind and pushing lies as if they’re truths. The 15’s available to the public cannot be converted as you say. In fact, according to the FBI statistics, NO fully automatic conversion has ever been found in any of it’s raids of gang headquarters or their gun stockpiles.
    Fully automatic weapons have been outlawed since 1934, except to law enforcement and federally licensed individuals, and guess what, the NRA supported that.

    February 2, 2013 at 3:41 am

    • shauncostello

      You are absolutely wrong. I have fired the AR15. Have you? I watched a young officer on a firing range convert the AR15 in less than a minute, and fire off several magazines in fully automatic. FULLY AUTOMATIC.

      February 2, 2013 at 7:03 am

      • Shaun, The right of a state and its people to self defense over rides all other statements of international laws, treaties, rules and regulations. The established principles of a state is its job in protecting the people from domestic and foreign violence. So which way does a state turn to over gun ownership/control? Guns particularly hand guns will be the future problem as here in New York, not rifles, no not at all.

        February 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm

  8. Gene Lange

    Vince and Shaun, you guys are both scarier than the average lunatic. You say that guns only belong in the hands of the police and military? Are you absolutely nuts? Go live in Mexico and see how that works for you.

    February 2, 2013 at 3:47 am

    • shauncostello

      But I don’t live in Mexico, Gene. I live here in America. You seem to belong to a small but noisy population of paranoid extremists, who think that the government is out to get them. So they stock up on weapons, and wait for Armageddon. Unfortunately, all too often, Armageddon catches up with them before they can seek psychiatric help, as in the Branch Davidians. This isn’t 1870, and you don’t live in Dodge City, Gene. This is 2013, and we live in America, and America isn’t sending in storm troopers to take away your freedoms. You don’t need an AR15 to kill Bambi. Assault weapons are designed to kill human beings efficiently, and in great numbers. If you feel that you might need to kill human beings efficiently and in great numbers, Gene, then you need to get yourself some help.

      February 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      • Gene, The only type of guns I feel should be in the hands of the people are hand guns, revolvers being the limit. People should protect themselves but no one should have high power military rifles. In fact even revolvers cause murders, how easy to argue and pull a trigger, but fight hand to hand…..no a total different story now, your not fighting able. How many police are shot and killed, the very people protecting us from gun swinging “nut jobs”. How many store owners must die in New York, innocent people from stray bullets, maybe your child someday. Yes, I want a gun, in my case self defense at home not in the streets, there I may be wrong, this is not the wild west where an Indian might attack me. And I might overstep my bounds if I carry a gun and shoot the guy who nudge me in the subway by accident and having the power to get the upper hand I simply shoot him. I want a gun and I will get one, all legally and paid for, for protection of myself and wife in our home only, I’m not worried of losing control of myself and going on a shooting spree like most nut jobs. How do you know the guy next to you has a gun ready to go nuts, you don’t and you can’t walk the streets on obvious guard duty. This is a tough situation and will not be solved for years to come, if so.

        February 15, 2013 at 11:49 pm

  9. Shaun, What we need is “People Control” for it is people that are out of control, does America realize this ???

    February 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm

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