Sunday, April 21, 2013

How The NRA Prevents Law Enforcement From Catching Violent Terrorists


As voting patterns started emerging among the freshman class in the new Congress, I saw a lot of new Members who tried appealing to progressives during the election, voting regularly against progressive initiatives. Although Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) have 100% ProgressivePunch crucial vote scores, many more have abysmal scores. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA), for example, has a dismal 52.63% score. Although she represents a solid blue district (CA-35- Pomona, Ontario, Chino, Fontana, where Obama crushed Romney 67.4- 30.6%), her conservative record in the state legislature predicted a conservative voting record in Congress. I asked one of her exasperated colleagues about her tendency to vote with Boehner and Cantor so often. He said she's old and feeble and probably wouldn't be around long. Small consolation! Mike Bloomberg, eager to rid Congress of one of the NRA's most dedicated shills, Joe Baca, financed the independent campaign against Baca that swept McLeod into office. Baca spent $1,162,457 in his failed reelection campaign, while McLeod spent $294,428. Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC spent $3,296,583 boosting McLeod and slamming Baca-- $3,036,181 in the last week. The NRA independent expenditure on behalf of Baca was $1,370. (The NRA also contributed $2,500 directly to Baca's campaign.) Baca wound up with a mere 44% of the votes.

What was odd about it, though, was that McLeod wasn't exactly an NRA enemy. In fact, she wrecked the plans of the Democrats in the state legislature to tag every bullet fired from an assault weapon so that they would be traceable (AB 352, Microstamping of Bullets) and earned a B- from the NRA that year. Tagging bullets makes a lot of sense. But did you know that there is also a way to tag the kinds of bombs that terrorists use-- and that the NRA has prevented that as well? Take a look at the Lawrence O'Donnell explanation in the video above. David Cay Johnston explained how the NRA hampered the police investigation in Boston last week.
The inability to quickly track the gunpowders in the Boston bombs is due to government policy designed and promoted by the NRA, which has found a way to transform every massacre associated with weapons into an opportunity for the munitions companies that sustain it to sell more guns, gunpowder and bullets.

The price for such delays was put on terrible display Friday morning when the two brothers, who had been caught on video placing the bombs, killed one police officer, wounded another and carjacked a motorist, creating conditions so unsafe that the 7th largest population center in America spent Friday on lockdown.

But for the NRA-backed policy of not putting identifiers known as taggants in gunpowder, law enforcement could have quickly identified the explosives used to make the bombs, tracking them from manufacture to retail sale. That could well have saved the life of Sean Collier, the 26-year-old MIT police officer who was gunned down Thursday night by the fleeing bomb suspects.

...Had the Boston bombers used a plastic explosive, it would have included identifiers that would have allowed a quick trace. Those taggants exist because the NRA does not oppose them.

Why is that? Why this breach in the NRA’s Maginot Line of defense against reasonable regulation of guns and ammunition?

The answer appears to lie in who makes plastic explosives like Semtx, which was used to bring down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The world’s main supplier was not a company that finances the NRA, but Libya under Moammar Khadafy.

That this one breach in NRA policy traces directly to the economic interests of the American munitions industry provides powerful evidence of what motivates the NRA-- profits.

That the gun makers have managed to turn each massacre into a spike in sales of both expensive rapid-fire weapons and ammunition adds to the evidence that the NRA should be viewed as the mass-murder lobby.

...Hobbling law enforcement, and attacking it, has long been an NRA strategy.

After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, federal agents had a tough time tracing the fertilizer used to make the bomb that killed 168 people and injured 680 more because the NRA had fought using identifiers for explosives.

...Let’s not forget what Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s CEO, said shortly after that terrorist act in Oklahoma City. LaPierre went on the attack against law enforcement, comparing federal agents to the Nazis and calling them “jack-booted thugs.”

Former president George H.W. Bush then resigned from the NRA in protest, but LaPierre kept his job, which speaks volumes.

As for taggants, the “study” the NRA cites to show that good science found taggants would make gunpowder less reliable and would not work was in fact only a review of the literature.

Anyone who actually reads the 1980 report, “Taggants in Explosives,” will find this revealing line by the Office of Technology Assessment: “Due to severe time constraints, OTA did little original research.”

Technology has advanced since that report, which is so old that it was prepared on a typewriter.

We can get identifiers put in gunpowders because of technological advances, just as reports get prepared these days on computers.  And if “good science” says existing taggants fall short, then Congress can fund research to develop taggants that work without degrading the quality of the explosive charge in bullets.

But as the votes in the Senate killing modest gun regulation and controls on gun trafficking showed this week, what stands firmly in the way of reducing mass murders and bombings is one organization and its backers.

We can change that, once the public understands that the NRA is not so much a defender of Second Amendment rights as a lobby for enabling mass murder.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home