In his response to the Newtown mass shooting, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre slammed ultraviolent movies and video games for celebrating killing and catering to our antisocial fantasies. Not surprisingly, he did not mention the abundance of paraphernalia marketed to law-abiding gun owners that glorifies firearms and minimizes gun violence. Ten t-shirts that exemplify the uglier side of pro-gun gear:
"AR-15 Asshole Remover"
That's the same rifle that was used to remove 26 lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Bearing witness to the worst year of gun rampages in modern US history.
—By Mother Jones staff
| Fri Dec. 21, 2012 5:16 AM EST
The media coverage tends to linger on the killers. But as the nation mourns the excruciating losses in Newtown—and finally begins to confront an epidemic of mass shootings amid the worst year for them in modern US history—it is equally important to bear witness to the victims. What follows are portraits of 151 people physically wounded or killed in the rampages of 2012. In addition to the victims of this year's seven mass shootings, we've included the victims of similar but less lethal rampages in a Portland shopping mall, a Milwaukee spa, and a Cleveland high school.
The total number of lives devastated by these attacks far exceeds 151, of course, starting with survivors who narrowly escaped physical harm, such as the unidentified six-year-old girl who played dead and walked out of Sandy Hook Elementary School against all odds. Mother Jones has only included photos of those injured and killed that were shared publicly by the families or survivors themselves, or for which we were granted specific permission. For essential context and findings from our in-depth investigation, also see our guide to mass shootings in America.
Scroll down to begin, or jump directly to any of these attacks of 2012:
Front cover of the NRA's 2006 brochure "Freedom in Peril" National Rifle Association
"Second Amendment freedom today stands naked in the path of a marching axis of adversaries far darker and more dangerous than gun owners have ever known." So opens "Freedom in Peril," a slick 2006 brochure by the National Rifle Association that serves up the group's agenda with a heavy dose of omnious hyperbole. The UN and George Soros are coming for your guns! PETA will ban hunting! Suburban dadsmust defend their families from torch-carrying marauders!
The document's text and its illustrations are so over-the-top that when they were first leaked by Wonkette, there was speculation that they were a hoax. But the NRA confirmed they were real, though it maintained they were from a stolen draft of a publication that has still yet to be publicly released.
In their introductory note, NRA president Waye LaPierre and chief NRA lobbyist Chris Cox warn of "the coming confrontation" between the "pro-freedom voting bloc" and "the gun-ban crowd." Though they focused on the threat of anti-gun legislation carried out under the guise of fighting terrorism, LaPierre and Cox also anticipated the calls for action that might follow an event such as the Newtown massacre:
It's inevitable that terrorists will infest America for generations to come. It's also inevitable that an anti-gun president will occupy the White House, and anti-gun forces will control the U.S. House and Senate. This is when the alchemy explodes, never to be contained again. When these two certainties intersect, America's anti-gun agenda will emerge in full force masquerading as an anti-terrorist agenda. Unless we are well-financed to face that moment, the final disarmament of law-abiding Americans will occur beneath the shroud of anti-terrorism legislation. […]
History teaches us that their assault will be precipitated by a high-profile criminal act, like an L.A. riot, a D.C. sniper or a schoolyard shooting. All it takes is a rare, tragic anomaly to roll out a blood-red carpet for the gun-ban crowd.
The brochure criticizes the "tragedy chasers" and "vultures" who sensationalize and politicize gun violence, including school shootings. The NRA has a history of not commenting on prominent shootings (including, so far, Newtown), though "Freedom in Peril" suggests that it will not stand on the sidelines much longer:
Until now, NRA has rightfully declined to join the debate, because no effective solution includes infringement of the Second Amendment. Although tragic, these incidents have called for no more anti-gun measures than any other crime committed with firearms.
But the advent of domestic terrorism, compounded with recent high-profile school shootings, force America's gun owners to join the national discussion in a way we can no longer decline. Not because the Second Amendment is at fault, but because the Second Amendment is at risk.
As its guardian, NRA must accept the financial responsibility to take its place at that table of debate, and prevail. […]
Too often, the media have given enormous attention to school murderers as a tactic to promote the gun-control agenda. Too often, such attention has likely led other sociopaths and losers to conclude that their one chance to become famous is to attack a school.
The document also features fantastic images of the NRA's foes, including Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, and congressional Democrats.
And it's not just the liberals and one-world-government types you should be afraid of. "Freedom in Peril" also reminds NRA members who the real scary gun owners are: "[T]o criminal aliens, America is a giant supermarket, and nobody's minding the store."
BoingBoing still has the full document; download it here.
A knife is not simply a cutting instrument. There are dozens of types of knives, from Arkansas toothpicks to X-Actos. Keeping track of them all and their legality is not easy since knives are regulated by a jumble of federal, state, and local laws, much to the chagrin of knife-rights advocates. A quick guide to some of the most common—and commonly confused—blades out there.
Assisted-opening knives: These are folding knives that are opened by putting pressure on the blade until a spring-loaded mechanism flips it out the rest of the way. These knives, which can be opened with one hand, are the most popular nonkitchen knives in America, according to the American Knife and Tool Institute, the knife industry's lobbying group. They are not switchblades, which are largely illegal, though this distinction is not always recognized by law. (The Federal Switchblade Act was amended in 2009 to exempt one-handed openers.) This video explains the difference between the two kinds of knives.
This has been a very bad year for conservative megadonors. That includes Charles and David Koch, the famously secretive industrialist brothers who pledged a do-or-die effort to unelect President Obama with the help of their wealthy allies and affiliated dark-money groups. So how have they been spinning the disappointing election results to their friends and fellow donors? This (entirely fake) letter imagines one possibility…
Read more on the Kochs' political activities in 2012 and the real stats cited in the phony letter above.