Something is considered normal when it is consistent with common cultural behaviors, values, customs and traditions that represent what people are supposed to do as a matter of course. In fact, normal can be thought of as the opposite of awful that is considered extremely bad and inspires reverential wonder and amazement. No sane human being would think to regard something normal as awful, except when a common occurrence founded on a group’s twisted values and behaviors is exposed for all the world to see; then it is prudent to label “normal” as awful.
When the news broke that another mass shooting claimed innocent movie-goers’ lives in Lafayette Louisiana and injured several others, it was really what Americans have learned to regard as the norm in a lawless gun-addicted country. Oh it is true the shooting spree was awful for some Americans sickened at yet another mass shooting, but for Republicans promoting the National Rifle Association’s crusade to arm every man, woman, and child in America, it was the normal cost of gun proliferation in America. Of course there were politicians’ statements expressing shock and sadness at the latest killings, and calls for prayers for the victims and their families, but those statements of sadness were also “normal” after deadly gun violence and patently insincere.
Probably the most absurd, and fantastic comment in the wake of another NRA-Republican encouraged event was courtesy of Louisiana’s NRA supporting governor, Piyush Jindal. Jindal said that the mass shooting “is an awful night for Lafayette, an awful night for Louisiana, an awful night for the United States. There’s no good reason why this act of evil should intrude on the lives of families.” Piyush, a devout fundamentalist Christian, had to lie because he dare not utter the truth after another gun tragedy he and his NRA friends perpetuate and thrive on.
For one thing, the shooting could not, in any way, shape or form be an awful night for America, Lafayette, or especially Louisiana. Due to Republicans, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the NRA, what happened in Lafayette, like what happened in Chattanooga, Charleston, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Columbine, and Phoenix cannot possibly be considered awful because they are normal for America. All Republicans know, and Piyush Jindal certainly does, that nothing in America is awful, it is exceptional.
It is also exactly what Americans should expect from an exceptional nation that actively promotes putting more guns in the hands of more Americans and why this country continues vying for the number one spot in the world for daily gun violence and deaths. It is a distinction that was at one time reserved for lawless extremist nations like Yeomen, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Under the leadership of Piyush Jindal and his National Rifle Association (NRA) masters, Louisiana has some of the weakest, if not the weakest gun laws in the nation. It is why when Piyush Jindal said “there is no good reason for this act of evil,” he was lying through his teeth. In fact, recently under Jindal’s leadership, the state enacted a National Rifle Association constitutional amendment “providing that the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed,” and that “any restriction on this right will be met with maximal skepticism by the states’ courts.” Within the NRA amendment is a provision that stripped any current or future legislature from daring to contravene the NRA’s power and pass a law to “prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on a person.”
As is normally the case after another typically American occurrence, Republican Piyush Jindal put off any talk about slowing the arming of Americans because “This is a time for healing. There will be a time for those debates.” However, for Republicans there is never a time for “those debates” and like tens-of-millions of Americans, President Barack Obama feels “most frustrated and most stymied because the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws. Even in the face of repeated mass killings.” And, no matter how many mass killings are repeated on a regular basis, America will remain void of any “sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws;” the National Rifle Association, Republicans, and ALEC will not allow them.
The president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Dan Gross, released a statement saying, “Two innocent people are dead, several more are injured and hundreds were terrorized all while taking part in one of our country’s most beloved pastimes — a night at the movies. Investigators have already made it clear that the shooter has a criminal history. As we await further details from the investigation, it will be important to learn whether he legally had any business owning a firearm and, if not, finding out how he got one.” Gross likely knows that to find out how the shooter got a gun, he just needs to ask Piyush Jindal and the NRA.
According to Louisiana’s close adherence to NRA dictates, and an NRA constitutional amendment, the shooter with a criminal past and mental issues had a 2nd Amendment right to have a firearm and likely just waltzed into a gun store and bought his gun. Louisiana does not require gun dealers to obtain a state license, does not limit the number of guns a criminal can purchase at one time, and the state constitution forbids any local government from regulating firearms; including military assault weapons and .50 caliber rifles.
In fact, according to one study of all 50 states’ gun safety laws, Louisiana has “the laxest gun laws of any state;” a distinction the NRA says is “a very good thing” because “it enables armed vigilantes to gun down murderers.” However, Louisiana’s extremely high rate of gun violence contradicts the NRA’s assertion because another study revealed that the state has the nation’s worst rating for overall firearm deaths from 2001-2010, firearm homicides in 2010, and firearm deaths among women between 2001 and 2010. In fact, the study rated Louisiana “the worst state in the nation” for gun violence. The NRA promoted the Republican ban on gun safety regulations because they assert the 2nd Amendment is woefully inadequate and does nothing help the gun industry or Republicans put several guns into the hands of every man, woman, child, criminal, mental case, and domestic terrorist in America; what the NRA and Republicans consider exceptionally normal.
Piyush Jindal’s claim that “there’s no good reason why this act of evil should intrude on the lives of families,” or that “this is an awful night for Lafayette or Louisiana” is an insult to any sane human being who understands the reason for the ‘act of evil‘ is because Republicans, Piyush Jindal, and the National Rifle Association want and promote gun proliferation in a state already racked by gun violence. It is a situation that will allow the NRA to sell more guns for Louisiana residents to carry concealed any place in the state, and the NRA and Republicans amended the state constitution to ensure that no gun safety laws, or regulations, will ever be passed to put a stop to what is now normal in America; mass shootings.
If any politician, regardless of party affiliation, believed for a second that the regular mass shootings plaguing America were awful they would take steps to pass sane gun-safety laws and make provisions to make it more difficult to procure a gun. However, there are Republicans, and no small amount of Democrats, who are terrified of crossing the NRA and take extreme positions to avoid supporting gun-safety provisions, including comparing a gun to a hammer; not because a gun is like a hammer, but because that is the kind of argument the NRA successfully proffers to garner support for its gun proliferation effort. The shooting in Louisiana was awful for the victims and their loved ones, but for Republicans and the NRA it was another promotion for selling more guns, and to busy Americans it was just another normal occurrence and that is awful.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.