When I listened on the radio to the NRA’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, speaking at his press conference addressing the Sandy Hook school shootings, I missed the newscaster’s introduction so I initially had no idea what I was listening to. After the first few minutes I thought I was listening to a farce. As I turned my attention to listening intently, I realized this was supposed to be a serious address, and I was stunned. Listening to LaPierre’s reasoning about the need for guns in schools I felt I was living in some bizzaro world.
His argument was the ultimate denial: we don’t need gun control, we need more guns, and we need them in schools. You know, good people with guns to stop the bad people. He even has the perfect tag line for creating gun-toting moms and dads (making the idea of the soccer moms and dads passé).
The whole conference seemed like such a parody that I searched for the words to create a satire describing the conference. However, the mighty New York Times was on the job. In Babe in Arms Bill Keller’s opinion piece is a memo from NRA president, David Keene, to Wayne LaPierre, and it satirizes LaPierre’s news conference in the form of congratulating LaPierre on its success.
The truth isn’t far from fiction. As the Huffington Post’s Jason Linkins said, and which I agree with, LaPierre’s performance was a success for reasons he intended. Linkins said, “Wayne LaPierre went out in front of reporters…to leverage the Sandy Hook shooting into a unique, sales-boosting opportunity for the industry he represents.” That he did.
Some highlights from Keller’s piece:
The next phase of the NRA’s plan is called A.O.K., Arm Our Kids; “a comprehensive K-12 carry program”.
Logic and research show that AOK would be a job-creation program, creating “demand for trainers, shooting-range operators, engineers to develop new lines of weapons for little fingers”.
Planning will cover the following needs:
a curriculum (on this the NRA could rely on former presidential candidate candidate Rick Perry to “happily tell the Texas State Board of Education to work with us on a line of animated textbooks” that will work “issues like caliber and muzzle velocity into the math curriculum”;
merchandising: Cub Scouts can expand from BB-gun skills “into pistols and rifles, perhaps with a Good Guy merit badge; for girls there can be “bulletproof backpacks, including a Disney Princess line”
military tie-in: can use the army of kids who’ve already done that type of work in that country in Africa, “Sergio Leone”
Moving on… As I watch the U.S. congress in action, it’s noticeable how old the leadership is. It amazes me the number of stories I’ve heard about age discrimination in the private sector especially, and how tough life is for workers after a certain age. However, if you have the occasion to grow old, Congress seems to be immune to the blight that is ageism and therefore if one can deal with complete workplace dysfunction, that may be the place to be. With these thoughts I read with interest an article on MSN that covered categories that address: the fastest aging fields (lawmaker wasn’t listed); jobs with the highest proportion of retirement aged workers; states with the highest/lowest proportion of retirement-age workers.
The top five fields that has the highest number of workers 65 or older are the following, according to Anthony Balderrama of CareerBuilder in his article, “A snapshot of retirement-aged American workers”:
- Embalmers (83.5 percent)
- Funeral attendants (78.9 percent)
- Motor vehicle operators (54 percent)
- Crossing guards (36.6 percent)
- Music directors and composers (35.3 percent)