Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The NRA: Making Angels Every Day

I am a bleeding-heart liberal; I think it's funny that the term is somehow intended to be derogatory. Yes, my heart bleeds. It bleeds for the kids killed in Newtown. It bleeds for their poor parents and their families. It bleeds for the kids who survived but will forever be haunted by the horrors they witnessed.

Not just as a parent, but as a person, with a heart, this is all I have been able to think about for the past few weeks. Even amid Christmas, work, weddings, and other distractions, my heart has not been able to wrestle itself free from the weight of this tragedy -- the latest in a long, terrible saga.

So I wrote a song. And I made a video for it, with some facts about gun violence in America courtesy of Stop Handgun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
  • It's an angry song, because I am angry. I'm devastated and desperate to do something.
  • It is directed at the NRA, because they are the biggest, clearest villain in a story that is full of villains.
  • And if you want to be heard, I want you to add your voice to this call for action -- literally. Download the song from Soundcloud, record yourself singing along on the last chorus, and re-upload the new audio file with your overdubbed track (or send me the .WAV file and I can mix it for you).

Some caveats:

1. Of course the NRA is only one part of a very big, very complex problem. We live in a violent society and we celebrate it. Video games glorify realistic warfare at the same time they desensitize us to it. Our idols and action heroes are often ruthless murderers -- even the youngest among them (think Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games). Our intense, militaristic national sport -- this pains me to say, because I love football -- has become so violent it is causing brain damage among its players.

And then there's "The Media," which is at least partly to blame for the pervasive violence we're exposed to. But here's the thing: We control the media, on a micro and a macro level. YOU very much control the media in your home. If something is excessively violent, shut it off. You are directly in control. And WE control it as a group, because Warner Brothers isn't making action movies for the hell of it; they're making them because people pay tons of money to go watch them. Stop supporting this crap if you really want to do something. Consumer spending is one of the most powerful tools we have in our modern capitalist society.

When I studied in London, I remember being delighted that the movies broadcast on network TV largely left in the sex and nudity of R-rated films. It was the violent scenes that were edited out for general audiences. Isn't that the way it should be? Wouldn't you prefer your kid to see a pair of boobs now and then rather than someone getting shot in the face? What the hell is wrong with us?  

2. No one (rational) is suggesting we should take away everyone's guns. Of course you should be able to hunt. Even Lady Mary shoots for sport in Downton Abbey. And yes, you should be able to keep a loaded shotgun by the door to protect yourself if you feel it's necessary (but do note that I will not be stopping by your home anytime soon, which is probably best for both of us).

But there is absolutely no need, and no justification for, legalized semi-automatic weapons or high-capacity ammo magazines. If you need more than 10 rounds at a time to shoot a deer -- or, for that matter, an intruder -- you should pursue another hobby and probably try keeping a baseball bat by the door.

And I get that target shooting with one of these things is probably a lot of fun. That's great. Other stuff is fun, too. Lawn darts were fun in the ‘80s, but they kept killing kids, so they stopped making them. And now we somehow make do with other lawn games like horseshoes, bocce, and cornhole. Hell, drunk driving was probably a lot of fun back in the day; people did it all the time. And most of the time nobody got hurt. But not all the time. So we as a society agreed to crack down on it, and we have spared a lot of innocent lives in the process. Boohoo -- you have to take a cab or a subway home so you don't kill anyone.

 Likewise, this is a tradeoff we must make as a society. If you don't think it's worth it… please think again. If you’re ready to tell parents who lost a 6-year-old child, to their face, that you don't want assault weapons banned because you have a right to shoot targets with them and it's a whole lot of fun, well... you need to reevaluate your priorities, to say the least.

And if you, like the NRA, are blindly rejecting gun control efforts and defending these instruments of destruction from being banned simply because you think it's the first step in some liberal conspiracy to take your shotgun away... I’m sorry, but you should know that I consider you an accomplice to the massacre in Newtown and to the tragedy that keeps unfolding every day in town after town after town across this country.

About 40% of American households -- over 70 million adults -- own a gun. Only about 4 million of them are NRA members. And yet the NRA continues to dictate and dominate the discussion on gun control and to hold our elected officials hostage to their demands.

I trust that many more gun owners are responsible, reasonable people who have no interest in starring in their own Rambo movie and would tolerate, if not embrace, common-sense gun law reform. If you are among them, please help us stand up to the NRA. Let our voices drown out theirs.
Here are some gun control groups worth supporting:
...and don't forget to look up your representatives in Congress and tell them you support gun law reform.

They Make Angels
© 2013 by Jon Gorey

Verse: Am7 G D / G D/F# Em / Am Bm D / Em B7 Em / C / B
Chorus: G B7 Em / C E Am / D D7 G C / G D G

Every time a gunshot rings
An angel gets a pair of wings
The old boys of the NRA
Are making angels every day
They make angels, and it pays

How can you defend your right
To harness military might?
The blood of children on your hands
Twenty slaughtered innocents
Their blood is on your hands

So lay down your guns
In the blood they have spilled
Give up your fight
Defending my right to be shot and killed

Now you want to arm the schools
To extend your martial rule
Your callous war on common sense
Is gruesome in its consequence
Your war has no defense

So members of the NRA
Do you believe in Judgment Day?
Are you prepared to take the blame
When Jesus calls you out by name
When your soul Hell comes to claim?

Lay down your guns
In the blood they have spilled
Give up your fight
Defending our right to be shot and killed

Every time a gunshot rings
An angel gets a pair of wings
The old boys of the NRA
Are making angels every day
They'll make angels... until we say

"Lay down your guns
Clean up the blood they have spilled
Give up your fight
Defending our right to be shot and killed"


  1. If guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have them. The Second Ammendment is there for a reason: to protect ourselves. If the American Milita had not had guns, The USA would not be free. Gun safety courses are available.

    Guns need to be locked up, and the Media needs to stop glorifying violence. There are already too many guns out there to possibly to collect them all.

    I absolutely respect a gun. I always treat it is as if it loaded. Guns don't kille people; ignorant people, who get access to guns, kill people.

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