Sunday December 8, 2013
The NRA -- A terrorist organizationBy Daniel Johnson, Deputy Executive Editor, Salem-News.com
Guns + testosterone + NRA = American terrorism.
(CALGARY, Alberta) - There were sombre ceremonies across Tucson, Arizona on Sunday, January 8, 2012, in remembrance of Jared Loughner’s shooting spree a year earlier where he seriously wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords, killed six and wounded 12 more.
I suggest that the Untied States, is the only country in world, where remembrances could be held virtually every single day of the year for egregious killings of citizens by other citizens—all indirectly supported by the National Rifle Association.
The day before the Tucson ceremonies, on January 7, there was a funeral in Brownsville, Texas, for a fifteen-year-old eighth grader who was gunned down by police three days before. Jaime Gonzalez Jr., had a "gun" tucked into the waistband of his pants. Asked if it was a gun, he apparently said it was. The school was locked down and when the police arrived, he would not put the gun down but instead pointed it at the officers. Two of them fired their weapons, fatally wounding Gonzalez.
Gonzalez’s "gun", it turned out, was a high-powered BB gun that resembled a black Glock semiautomatic handgun and was only the latest case in recent years where dozens of police officers in Texas, California, Maryland, Florida and other states have shot children and adults armed with what they believed were real handguns but that were found later to be BB guns or other types of air pistols.
It's important to acknowledge that this is not a police issue. If someone threatens them with what appears to be, in an instant, a real gun, they have no choice, for their own lives, but to fire. In the same situation would you hesitate, saying to yourself--hmmm, is that a real gun or a replica? In 2007, a 21-year-old man threatening customers outside a fast food restaurant in Denton, north of Dallas, was shot and killed by a police officer after he raised what turned out to be a pellet gun at the officer.
Some Texas municipalities have passed laws prohibiting the public display of pellet and BB guns or making it illegal for minors to have them. The Texas State Rifle Association opposed the laws, arguing that those laws limited the rights of legal gun owners.
It’s long past time for the American people to wake up and realize that their so-called Second Amendment rights have gradually turned the National Rifle Association into a terrorist organization through its adamant refusal to repudiate gun violence using the legal technicality that it’s every American’s Second Amendment right to terrorize his (not often her) fellow citizens.
Guns + testosterone + NRA = Homegrown American terrorism.
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Daniel Johnson as a teenager aspired to be a writer. Always a voracious reader, he reads more books in a month than many people read in a lifetime. He knew early that in order to be a writer, you have to be a reader.
Another early bit of self-knowledge was that writers need experience. So, in the first seven years after high school he worked at 42 different jobs ranging from management trainee in a bank (four branches in three cities), inside and outside jobs at a railroad (in two cities), then A & W, factories and assembly lines, driving cabs (three different companies), collection agent, a variety of office jobs, John Howard Society, crisis counsellor at an emergency shelter, salesman in a variety of industries (building supplies, used cars, photocopy machines)and on and on. You get the picture.
In 1968, he was between jobs and eligible for unemployment benefits, so he decided to take the winter off and just write. The epiphany there, he said, was that after about two weeks, “I realized I had nothing to say.” So back to regular work.
He has always been concerned about fairness in the world and the plight of the underprivileged/underdog. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that he understood where that motivation came from. Diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) he researched the topic and, among others, read a book Scattered Minds by Dr. Gabor Maté, an ADD person himself. Maté wrote: "[A] feeling of duty toward the whole world is not limited to ADD but is typical of it. No one with ADD is without it."
That explains his motivation. Hard-wired.
As a professional writer he sold his first paid article in 1974 and, while employed at other jobs, started selling a few pieces in assorted places. He created his first journalism gig. In the late 1970s, when the world was recovering from a recession, the Canadian federal government had a job creation program where, if an employer created a new job, the government would pay part of the wage for the first year or two. The local weekly paper was growing, so he approached the publisher and said this was an opportunity for him to hire a new reporter. The publisher had been thinking along those lines but cost was a factor. No longer.
Over the next 15 years, Daniel eked out a living as a writer doing, among other things, national writing and both radio and TV broadcasting for the CBC, Maclean’s (the national newsmagazine) and a host of smaller publications. Interweaved throughout this period was soul-killing corporate and public relations writing.
It was through the 1960s and 1970s that he got his university experience. In his first year at the University of Calgary, he majored in psychology/mathematics; in his second year he switched to physics/mathematics. He then learned of an independent study program at the University of Lethbridge where he attended the next two years, studying philosophy and economics. In the end he attended university over nine years (four full time) but never qualified for a degree because he didn't have the right number of courses in any particular field.
In 1990 he published his first (and so far, only) book: Practical History: A guide to Will and Ariel Durant’s “The Story of Civilization” (Polymath Press, Calgary)
Newly appointed as the Deputy Executive Editor in August 2011, he has been writing exclusively for Salem-News.com since March 2009 and, as of summer 2011, has published more than 150 stories.
He continues to work on a second book which he began in 1998.
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