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The evil 'they' are out to get 'us'

My fellow Americans, tyranny is at hand!

If they ban assault weapons, a new Hitler is going to crush our freedom-loving America!

If they limit weapons, next they'll take our huntin' guns away!

Soon, we won't be able to defend our homes, our lives!

Sound familiar?

"They" are the black-hatted villains of big government. "Our" includes the gun-totin' heroes with white hats defending our freedoms. So goes the NRA propaganda machine. We've all seen that cowboy movie. Too many times.

The slaughter of children in Newtown, Conn., shows those lamebrain assertions for what they are: preposterous lies.

There's no end to the verbal contortions the NRA leadership goes through to justify their beloved assault weapons. One of the most mindlessly parroted phrases, encouraged by the NRA, is "They're gonna take our huntin' guns away!" That phrase encapsulates the paranoia that gun fanatics feed upon - they, the sinister government, and us, the "real" patriots. That "us," it should be noted, does not include such misguided nuts as peaceniks, bunny-huggers, nerds and eggheads.

Those misfits don't own guns; they don't even like hunting for cryin' out loud. There's something wrong with them; they're un-American. Probably communists.

Why is "the gun" so sacred to so many Americans? It actually approaches the dimensions of a genetic disease. Some people store guns up like they'd hoard food in preparation for the end of the world. There are basements and attics chock-full of guns.

Guns are the stock-in-trade of hate groups and of so-called survivalists and weekend warriors. Why isn't there a clinical name for gun mania? Come to think of it, there is. It's called arrested development.

In all fairness, the NRA has done some good things, such as gun training and gun safety programs. And most of its members are rational, reasonable, good people.

The latest polls, in fact, indicate that at least 70 percent of NRA members are in favor of some form of gun controls, especially those regarding assault weapons. It's the stone head monomania of NRA's top echelon that is the problem. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the NRA membership demanded the resignation of that leadership? Wouldn't it be even better if huge numbers of NRA members resigned in protest against such bullish intransigence?

In the meantime, the many good NRA members should be calling, e-mailing and writing their representatives at all levels, demanding a ban on assault weapons and multi-ammo clips.

It's well and fine that the brainstorming in Vice President Joe Biden's task force includes mental illness issues, violence in the media, school security methods, universal gun checks and the possible banning of multi-ammo clips.

It's about time those issues are addressed legislatively. They've been on the backburner for too long. However, if the task force does not recommend a ban on assault weapons, its members are cop-outs. And if President Barack Obama doesn't fight for an assault weapons ban, he too will be a cop-out.

Isn't it astounding how many in the U.S. Congress heed the advice of unelected tin gods like Grover Norquist (no new taxes) and NRA's Wayne LaPierre (no gun bans)? Why aren't our elected leaders heeding the advice of the grieving loved ones who lost their precious children to vicious killers, most of them armed with assault weapons? The answer should be obvious: fat-cash bullies (aka gun lobbyists).

The NRA brags about a recent boost in membership. It now claims close to 6 million members. Are you impressed? Well, I'm not. For the simple reason that there are 305 million Americans who are not NRA members. And most of those people, most of us, want a ban on assault weapons. Now. Not to mention many NRA members who do, too.

I heard a great quote today submitted by a TV viewer: "Using an assault rifle to hunt is like using a chainsaw to sharpen a pencil."

If the U.S. Congress doesn't ban assault weapons, its members will prove themselves once again to be gutless wonders. If there is any hope at all, it's in the heartbreaking testimony of the grief-stricken parents of those children. Maybe our leaders, at long last, will really listen to them and heed their advice for a change.

Dennis Dalman

Via the Alexandria Echo Press