I've been waiting for some words from the National Rifle Association concerning the Trayvon Martin tragedy. Sure enough, on page 15 of yesterdays New York Times the headline N.R.A. Official Attacks Florida Shooting Coverage caught my attention. Wayne LaPiere, executive vice president of the N.R.A., accused the news media on Saturday of engaging in sensationalized coverage of the Trayvon Martin killing. His were the first comments that the gun lobby has made publicly about the fatal shooting since it occurred six weeks ago. Mr. LaPierre criticized news organizations for singling out one killing and ignoring many other violent crimes that happen in the United States every day.
“You manufacture controversy for ratings,” he added. “You don’t care about the truth, and the truth is the national news media in this country is a national disgrace, and you all know it.”
Poor Mr. LaPierre. He’s not satisfied with having the U.S. Congress and most state legislatures in his back pocket. Now he’s out to trample the media. He apparently does not understand that the media does not ignore the many other violent crimes that happen in the United States everyday, a good number of which involve one of his weapons of choice. He does not understand that the Trayvon Martin murder is an example of the absurdity of the “stand your ground" laws his organization is vigorously promoting in legislatures across the country.
It is the N.R.A. lobby that is becoming a national disgrace not the media. Mr. LaPierre can act tough only because arguing for gun control has become the third rail in politics. Without the help of our political leaders in reining in the N.R.A. agenda, we are faced with a gun in every household. That indeed would be a national disgrace.