After Newtown, the National Rifle Association came under attack, first for just being the NRA and second for suggesting that schools have armed guards. The organization retreated for a time but has become more vocal with the advance of gun control ideas. Its membership is swelling.
The NRA was excoriated over a website message pointing out (accurately but also needlessly) that the president's daughters are protected with armed officers and no parent should have to worry about unprotected children. This message was characterized by news reporters (as opposed to commentators) as a personal attack on Barack Obama.
We haven't heard those journalists express the same concerns about personal attacks on NRA officials or politicians who generally support gun rights and uphold the Second Amendment. Why, for example, was there no outrage over Donald Kaul's mainstream media assault on the NRA? Kaul, former Des Moines Register columnist, briefly came out of retirement after Newtown to write that the NRA should be declared a terrorist organization.
He also suggested Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner should be tied “to the back of a Chevy pickup truck” and dragged across a parking lot “until they saw the light on gun control.” For those who refused to give up their guns, Kaul wrote on Dec. 29, “that ‘prying the guns from the cold, dead hands' thing works for me.”
The nation is having a serious discussion on gun violence right now. We've seen nothing from the NRA that descends into the gutter that Kaul put himself in, but some gun control opponents do engage in irrational, personal attacks. Supporters, meanwhile, milk the Newtown tragedy with irrational arguments — such as saying that those who disagree with them might as well have pulled the trigger at Sandy Hook.
Extreme views were bound to surface after Newtown. Let's holster our emotions and keep this debate in the realm of rationality.