The Civil War had ended and the country was looking for a way to honor the dead. There were several false starts but the end result was today’s Memorial Day holiday. It was primarily guns, mostly rifles that were used to kill the other side in the War Between the States. Soldiers were recruited to fight, some with little or no real instructions on how to use their weapons. It was a war that was put together rather hastily.
But it was a couple of Civil War veterans from New York that were concerned about the state of marksmanship in the military and who decided to do something about it. It was 1871 when the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) was founded by Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate. The purpose was to promote and encourage rifle shooting. The organization’s first president was Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, also a Senator and governor of Rhode Island.
By the way, this comes right from an NRA site.
Their goal was to establish a rifle range that improved marksmanship, and a site was built on Long Island, NY in 1873. But the promotion of marksmanship met opposition from some New Yorkers—probably a Michael Bloomberg ancestor—which forced the range to move to New Jersey. They got the youth involved and this is still a cornerstone of the NRA. We are talking about gun education here, something clearly absent with most state gun regulations today.
So where is all this going? The site, Common Gun Sense, posted an article last week on the celebration of Memorial Day and where we are today when it comes to guns. It talks about the “stunning” number of lives lost to gunfire in our communities. “Every year, 100,000 Americans are shot. Of these, about 30,000 die from their injuries. This includes homicides, suicides and accidental shootings.” And much of this can be attributed to the NRA and the gun lobby.
In the years since inception, the NRA, headed by CEO and Exec. Vice President Wayne LaPierre, has managed to turn a worthwhile movement, originally designed to promote gun education, into a bunch of power-hungry thugs whose main thrust is to put guns in the hands of every person in the U.S. and make sure they can carry them anywhere they want. Oh, and their political appetite for power has now exceeded guns and is into other causes like immigration, etc.
|NRA with blood on its guns
Memorial Day is now a celebration for all those who have served their country in war. The time has come to establish a memorial for those who have fallen at the hands of gun freaks like George Zimmerman, now charged for the killing of Trayvon Martin. We need a day that articulates the gun violence that is increasing in this country in a way that will illustrate to a public that has been brain-washed by the NRA that guns do kill people.
It is interesting that the NRA initially supported the Gun Control Act of 1968 and even helped draft portions of the bill that was introduced by Senator Thomas J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut. Then it later turned to its true nature and opposed the law. Wayne LaPierre has served as the NRA head since 1991 and during his reign has produced the loosest gun laws ever enacted in the U.S., perhaps the world, which have resulted in a rapid increase in gun deaths.
I started documenting monthly shootings in the U.S. and resulting deaths in March; something you gun worshippers cannot argue with, and the results are frightening. In March there were 38 shooting and 40 deaths. Then April surged to 69 shootings and 66 deaths. But the lunatic LaPierre raves on about the 2nd Amendment and how it protects gun owners. Well, it is time to examine the “how” and consider completely revamping its meaning. And now!