It's not hard to be a pro-gun liberal. Most of my friends are. I'm one. The good people over at the Oregon Democratic Party's Gun Owners' Caucus are. What's difficult is dealing with some of the people who support the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Somehow during the seventies it got tied up with Right Wing politics, and many of the major gun rights organizations started getting into unrelated issues like immigration, tax cuts, religion and foreign policy. Lately it seems like they've been genetically grafted to the Republican Party.
It's a shame. Essential civil rights shouldn't be a partisan issue. It does nobody any good when they're used as a wedge to divide people. The NRA has been falling closer to that trap, but they've mostly stayed focused on firearms. That may have changed.
A couple days ago Wonkette's blog posted pictures of a pamphlet supposedly from the NRA. The art is excellent. The text is disturbing. The artwork is very high quality and utterly disgusting. The race-baiting isn't even a subtext. The good guys are always White. Every single dark-skinned person except one is a member of an (and I quote) "Alien Gang". The one exception is a huge demonic head bursting out of the television set to snap its enormous teeth at the White suburban family. The police officers holding the helpless (White) little old lady down with guns to her head are dressed head to toe in black. The nameless hordes descending on the (White) homeowner are silhouetted so as to appear, you guessed it, black. George Soros appears in as a grotesque caricature with an exaggerated hooked nose.
Since then it's been all over tha Intrawebs. An African-American NRA member on Daily Kos expressed some skepticism. There were more comments on Wonkette, Boing-Boing and Raw Story - both of which are hosting the whole document. It's probably discussed been on every single forum that even touches on self defense or guns. So far it's all conjecture. Nobody knows who the real author is or where it came from.
There are references to the National Rifle Association and NRA logos throughout including several pleas that only the NRA can save our precious freedoms and one would assume our precious bodily fluids. Several people including me have called to ask if this is a real NRA publication. The responses have ranged from "No comment" to "I'll have to get back to you." I got through two layers to someone who wouldn't give his name but said it was the first he'd heard of it and the NRA's publicity people would issue a statement as soon as he could do some research and find out what was going on.
At some point you've got to take people at their word. If the NRA comes out in the next day, two at the outside, and says "It's not ours. We never had anything to do with it. We're going to sue whoever it was who used our name and trademarked emblems without our permission. That's a disgusting piece of tripe," or "Someone in our organization did it. We didn't realize what he was up to. He's been sacked and has moved on to bigger and better things in his new job with the Ku Klux Klan. So have the people who green-lighted it," that should be enough. If they weasel and say something like "This has never been an officially released document of the National Rifle Association" or "We consider many options for getting our message across" or just say nothing we'll have to assume that it's theirs. If it is I'm sending my membership card back and will not renew it next year. This is some really hateful race-baiting crap, although the vicious lobster scuttling out of the water to pinch with its tiny claws and the Spotted Owl carrying a dynamite bomb are pretty funny. And the hairy-legged environmentalist chick looks kind of cute even if we can't see her face.
It would be a real shame if the NRA has stooped to the worst excesses of current American politics. I'm still holding out some hope that this they haven't but not for too much longer.