Helen Avila

Helen Avila

The meteoric rise of hate toward gun-control spokes-teen David Hogg by Neal Larson has given his like-minded self-righteous ultra conservatives a big high five. Their focus on the Second Amendment at the expense of the First Amendment is pathetically typical. Seems even the slightest criticism of gun control by anyone who has been traumatized by gun violence is faced with a wall of foaming at the mouth conservatives screaming the standard NRA and FOX regurgitated rhetoric of “how dare you” take away our guns. How dare you fact check, how dare you suggest we are being used by the gun lobby. Their purchased legislators need to protect them and their (little g) god given rights from people like Hogg and his ilk. They are grieving gun owners. We don’t question grieving gun owners.

With information, based on facts, I respect the grieving process of those too stupid to check facts. After all, brainwashing by ultra conservative hate mongering media is a pathetic means of ingesting information. Gun owners are suffering trauma. They need space between their ears. And for years we have respected that empty space to feel and express and to emote however they are told to by the NRA. But what happens when an adult’s grief gets politically weaponized? What happens when the aggrieved is led to believe that anguish bestows moral superiority, instant celebrity, policy expertise, cultural privilege, and a right to inflict economic damage on detractors and hurl any inflammatory and slanderous thought at anyone at any time without consequence? Oh, but wait, this has been going on for years. It’s called the gun lobby.

Someday gun owners will realize that they are being victimized by closed minded conservative political and media enablers who are giving them the dangerous drug cocktail of instant importance and unprecedented clout. They are not only plying them with this irresistible intoxication of manly-man-ness, but also giving them the keys to the car. We have seen in Hollywood what happens when gun owners egos are first overfed, then starved. The forces exploiting the empty headed are despicable, creating an economy of politically useful grief that will one day leave them abandoned and alone when sensible gun laws, removed by those legislators purchased by the gun lobby, are reinstated by newly elected legislators with integrity and an accurate knowledge of the 1st amendment.

Conservatives are exceptionally skilled at countering such a caricature, because Team Minion always has more fans than Team Intelligent. And, there are rules. The rules are that sympathy for the grief-stricken gun owner must include agreement, approval, and acquiescence. In other words, gun owner grief in the wake of tragedy must be everything it wants to be, even be the tyrants they have always been. We are not allowed to rationally disagree with the conclusions of irrational grief, at least not without inviting the wrath of lynch mobs and rabid hyenas called propaganda filled gun owners who haven’t a clue what a real fact is.

The amount of power the gun lobby has amassed in a short time is horrifying. TV talker Laura Ingraham is having a horrible week. Through a hateful tweet, her trademark ill informed snark mocking Hogg’s failure to be admitted to his college of choice led to a call for a boycott. With the help of Media Matters and Daily Kos, more than a few advertisers have now bailed. Despite a pathetically half hearted apology from Ingraham, she only apologized because her job as a nasty hate spewing purveyor of misinformation is on the line. Her show, and shows like hers, that rile people who are too stupid to think for themselves, will not survive this. Hogg, acting more adult them most adults, rejected the apology and is now demanding she denounce the Fox News Channel. Her arrow was met with a nuclear blast for the first time, with hopeful implications, because politically motivated boycotts are the Back Bone to civic discourse. Spoon fed ideology by hate mongers is a Black Plague to any dialogue and encourages even more violence.

No individual’s grief diminishes a nation’s personal (little g) god-given liberty to shoot as many people as they want to with their high capacity guns. Even reviled or ignored truth, remains truth to them. We should have a healthy appreciation for genuine hate experienced by survivors of an atrocity, but also recognize there must be boundaries to the power given to that hate.

Has anyone noticed that the Gun lobby phenomenon has metastasized from a debate over gun-control to also destroying and silencing anyone’s voice opposing violence and bullying those who support sensible gun control? Integrity and a desire for less hate and less bullying and less violence is expanding.

My biggest fear is that the haters will turn from an anomaly of the uninformed minority into the modus operandi.

Helen Delahunt-Avila of Pocatello is a graduate of the University of Washington where she earned bachelor’s degrees in history and comparative religions and a master’s in international studies.