People Need to Stand Up to the Extremists Within and Without

We all know that the problem is the radicals, the extremists, and that most of the faithful do not have those kinds of ideas, do not want confrontation, just simply want to live their lives peacefully. But it's the fundamentalists who screw things up for everyone else, especially those who are willing to use violent rhetoric, if not actual violence, to defend what they think are attacks on their beliefs. It doesn't matter how wrong the extremists are in their interpretation of those beliefs; that's the nature of the delusions and blindness of fanaticism.

The radicals refuse to even entertain the idea that there is a moderate path. They shun and condemn those who would oppose their extreme vision of their ideology. The fanatics seek to convert or purge anyone who strays from the strictures of their militancy. We see this happen time and again, on small scale and large. And, obviously, the extremists are manipulated by more powerful people who benefit from the chaos and fear the extremists spread.

Sure, sure, most of the faithful prefer to play a part in society at large. They want to be part of the mainstream, and they are willing to compromise aspects of their beliefs in order to assimilate. We who stand outside, who do not believe, know the solution to the extremism. It must come from within as well as from us. That majority must speak up and stand up to members who want to pervert the true meaning of their beliefs.

Until then, though, the National Rifle Association will continue to bully and threaten anyone who would challenge its absolutist dogma on gun laws.

For instance, how shocking was it that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have allowed people with restraining orders on them the ability to buy guns. The NRA, of course, of course, supported the bill, saying that some people under restraining orders might not be involved in anything violent, like domestic abuse, and we wouldn't want to deny them the sweet, sweet protection of guns.

The gun "rights" extremists have so successfully transformed the identity of "gun owner" that, frankly, you can't talk to anyone who owns any kind of firearm without wondering if they're some kind of Second Amendment freak who thinks any minor regulations are just an attempt to strip them of the means of "defending" themselves. The truth of the matter, as we know, is that, by a wide majority, gun owners support simple restrictions, like universal background checks. Most gun owners just want to be left alone to do whatever kind of shooting they want or to have the fake comfort of a gun in the home. They don't want to march while carrying rifles, they don't want to confront politicians, and they're perfectly fine with gun control laws.

But the NRA, as a front for the gun industry (who really benefits from loose gun laws), will not have it. So the organization's leadership behaves as if any attempt to restrict must be destroyed and anyone who dares to criticize the sanctity of guns must be called out as a heretic or threat.

Perhaps Gov. Snyder's veto is the first step in some growing strength on the right to do what the majority of the nation wants. Snyder was actually endorsed by the NRA. See? Someone from the inside made an entirely rational move that is easily supported. Let's see how the NRA attempts to treat him as an apostate and cast him out.

This post began with a rather obvious analogy, between the way we talk about Islam and the way we talk about the NRA. You might say, "Well, isn't the goal to get rid of all guns?" Sure, and good luck with that. It ain't gonna happen. When someone says that "Islam is the problem," it solves exactly nothing. You're not gonna get rid of Islam or religion in general. Your argument is useless. Let's frame the discussion in useful ways.

That will take another post later this week.