Should we consider the NRA a terrorist cult?

This was originally published on Medium on 3/7/18, before I created Issues Unite. So, some of the info is dated but the point remains valid.

Recently, the NRA released a video warning journalists that their “time is running out”. Very intimidating and threatening tone.

If such a video had come from another source, perhaps we, as a people, could laugh it off. But this is the NRA. Realistically viewed, a minority group of people who gather for the near worship of firearms and appear to seek to use those firearms. They routinely use veiled threats of force and various forms of coercion to attain their ends, no matter the cost to society.

Perhaps at this point we should consider declaring the NRA a terrorist group. Or at least spark the comparison and the suggestion of doing so. Because they themselves have made it completely evident that they will not even discuss reasonable gun control measures without the use of political and legal force to bring them to the bargaining table.

For the record, I personally do not suggest the complete disarming of America. I am a veteran and a gun owner. Like so many, I only want to see steps taken in regards to stricter gun laws. Our children and our citizens should have more rights than our guns do. That’s not being unreasonable.

One has to ask why the discussion of arming teachers went directly to firearms, skipping immediately over less lethal options such as Tazers or electromagnetic locks on schoolroom doors.

Back to the subject, let’s compare characteristics of a terrorist cult with the NRA.

They basically worship firearms.
They hold large rallies to reinforce their commitment to guns.
They have their own Bible.
They consider anyone who even questions their teachings a “heretic”. 
Elitist- You are with them or you are an enemy.
They indoctrinate children to their beliefs.
They hold training camps and events involving large numbers of weapons, often in remote, sometimes undisclosed areas closed to the public and media.

They have their own media outlet. Non-members truly have to question what mentality it takes to watch gun-related media on a daily basis. They have magazines, newsletters, websites and mailing lists in addition to their meetings. 
With media coverage, they have preferred sources (aside from their own media). If not approved, media sources are treated with suspicion, contempt or simply not allowed. 
Funded by large private and corporate donors, often covertly.
They enjoy tax exempt status, just like a church. (Which should tell us that our government recognizes them as a religion. They cannot be viewed as a charity or realistically as an educational organization.)
Continuous efforts at political power with many members in elected office. This has been true since their inception.
They basically bribe elected officials via campaign donations and PAC’s. 
Members are a minority of the population, yet speak as though they represent all Americans. If you do not agree, they accuse you of not being a “true American” and make statements to the effect that you do not belong in this country.
They publicly denounce use of violence while defending a large number of violent fanatical members.
Some members are willing to engage in suicide missions and will admit to this publicly.
Some members make death threats to anyone who opposes or exposes them. Rarely if ever are such members ejected or sanctioned by the organization.

So, if using such tactics as this do not constitute terrorism, then what does, short of blatant large scale armed conflict? Is that what this will come down to? From their own words and actions, it seems that way. It is what they infer with such media releases as the ad mentioned above.

If this were a smaller private group the government would have been stepping in to place limits on them long before this point. As far as their own attitude toward the government is concerned, they claim to be completely in favor of the government while also claiming fear of the same government and ready to take up arms against the government if they do not get their way on every single thing they want.

Make no mistake. Many members of the NRA support stricter gun laws. Yet even they become oppressed and intimidated by the more radical members of their organization. It is highly notable that there has not been a general poll of NRA members to ask THEM what they think of stricter gun laws. That is because the NRA does not represent the members nearly as much as it represents gun manufacturers.

I know there are good chances that I myself will receive threats as a result of this article. Anyone who speaks out against the NRA receives death threats. This is not new. Many are afraid to speak out against them for that very reason.

No matter what threats are issued at any level, from personal to economic to political to large scale violence, it is beyond time that we recognize the NRA for what it is. A direct threat to the safety and security of the United States. They have the power to change that but none of us expect them to respond with anything but more aggression and thinly veiled threats.

So bring on the insults, the personal attacks and threats. Tell me I am wrong but present no evidence. It is exactly what is expected from cultists when their belief system is questioned.

Define Terrorism

Define terrorism.

Since 2001, the US has incited the world to engage in “the war on terrorism”.

The biggest problem with this entire concept is that “terrorism” is never truly adequately defined. It is an amorphous, vague term which can be applied to basically any activity by any authority against anyone they please.

Non-military combatants? Traditionally, terrorism is defined as armed actions by non-military personnel against either a civilian or militarypopulation. Yet in the case of Palestine, this poses a problem in and of itself. Palestine is not allowed to have their own military force by decree of the occupying Israeli Defense Force (IDF) under command of the Israeli government, who refuses to recognize Palestinian human rights. Therefore, any military actions in aggression or defense taken by Palestinians is deemed terrorism. Look at the living conditions of Israeli citizens and Palestinians and consider, whom do you think lives with more terror?

Non-traditional tactics. Historically, the term of terrorism also denotes nontraditional military actions, also known as guerrilla tactics. By this very definition, the American Continental Army was a terrorist force. They engaged in guerrilla tactics against the occupying British military, using methods described by the British as uncivilized and barbaric. It was also a fully civilian force at the outset of the American Revolution against a formal militia. Yet we consider our forefathers heroes for using those tactics.

More recent times. More recently, Muammar Qaddafi was described as a terrorist, even as he was the formal ruler of a country with a formal military. Many in our government and media describe Bashar Al-Assad as a terrorist, while he is also a democratically elected leader of a country with a formal military.

Military force is terrorism. Nobody can incite more terror in a populace than a formal military force. Interviews with civilians in countries subjected to US “humanitarian interventions” reveal just how terrorized the civilian population can be with very good reason. Children describing how they fear blue skies because that’s when drone strikes are most likely to occur. Just the fact that those children have that knowledge is horrifying in itself. How terrifying do you think it is to see family, friends, neighbors, playmates or your own children scattered in pieces or so torn apart as to be unrecognizable?

Refugees. To date, millions of people from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and other countries have been driven from their homes and countries from the terror visited upon them by terrorists and US military intervention. Forced to evacuate over land on foot, over sea in unstable boats where many die on the way. Only to arrive and seek shelter in countries where they, the victims, are treated with suspicion, hate and derision when all they really wish is survival at that point.

Camera angles and editing. Our media is fond of showing sanitized video of individual car bombs or suicide bomb attacks but never pan out to show the absolute destruction caused by our 121 bombs dropped per day, every day, relentlessly. Cities in rubble covering many bodies that may never be identified, if they are ever found. Cities where millions once lived. No longer inhabitable.

Skin color and religion. In America, a person of a certain religion or ethnicity can be deemed a terrorist by owning a firearm legally, wearing a traditional scarf or speaking their native language. Meanwhile, a white Conservative male can shoot over 50 people, massacre the patients and staff at a clinic or kill dozens of children in cold blood, only to be called a “mass shooter” who was “troubled”. But that’s not my point in this article.

Resources. Right now, in multiple countries on different continents, citizens are terrified. They are not terrified of some mad suicide bomber in the marketplace or driving across an IED. They are terrified of the US government, our foreign policy. Our “humanitarian interventions”. People right now are terrified in Iran, North Korea and especially Venezuela. In most cases, they sit atop oil resources envied by American corporate interests.

What to fear most? They have no idea what to fear most. Cooperating with the US, which would bring crushing poverty as in Haiti, with destruction of their culture and land. Or not cooperating and being prone to drone strikes, proxy or direct invasion by military or mercenary forces bringing rape, interrogation by torture, torture for torture’s sake, looting and leveling of their homes, disease and murder of their country’s people. While US media hails the attackers as “liberators”.

They understand what they are facing. These countries have seen what we are capable of, not only in the countries I mention above but closer to home, in their own histories. Americans do not know what regime change and fascism looks like. They do. Many of the older citizens of these countries have seen regime change and CIA-directed coups up close and personal. They’ve seen US military and proxy mercenary interventions in Venezuela, Honduras, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Iran and many others. They have watched Qaddafi accede to every demand placed upon him, only to be assassinated, cities destroyed and the citizens of Libya sold at slave markets on the streets of what was once their relatively peaceful land.

No surrender. So these countries have no reason to surrender to the will of the US. Even if they have problems in their country it is their right as a sovereign nation to solve their problems on their own without our “help”. Help which has already been defined openly by numerous US politicians as having nothing to do with the plight of the people and everything to do with oil. The other problems are caused by US sanctions, now being made worse by more sanctions.

Define terrorism. Has that definition changed for you yet?

Yes, White Shooters ARE Terrorists

Over the past few years we have heard rhetoric about Islamic terrorists and Mexican/South American criminals. We have political actions, police actions and intelligence actions being taken against anyone from Islamic or South American countries to “protect us” from them.

Yet, when we hear of mass shootings, school shootings, even the majority of bomb threats, the guilty party is almost invariably a white male. Much of the time they are members of white supremacy groups as well.

The same white supremacy groups have been revealed over and over to make open threats against minorities and Jewish people. Threats of violence and fantasies of genocide.

So the question arises over and over, why do we not declare these white shooters terrorists? Why do we not consider white supremacy groups to be terrorist organizations?

The answer goes further than most really consider. The first and best answer is that if this happened, the government and police would be obligated to take action against these people and groups. The media would have to actively and openly admit that the greatest terror threat in this country comes from people who are commonly in their own ranks.

It has been well documented and well known that American politics have had numerous white supremacists in elected office. This is not distant past history. It includes Senator Robert Byrd, who served in the Senate for 51 years until his death in 2010. In recent elections we have had alleged and admitted white supremacists run for office and even get elected. It is unquestionable and in some cases proven that we have lawyers, judges, prosecutors, wardens and forensic examiners who are white supremacists.

It is also well documented that many police officers are white supremacists, some having been photographed in full KKK robes or sporting tattoos to include Nazi symbolism.

While not all NRA members are white supremacists, nearly all white supremacists have ties to the NRA. My own guess is that at least some executives of the NRA and major weapons manufacturers are white supremacists.

So, if we admitted that white shooters are terrorists, that would eventually lead to the necessity of making direct correlations between the individuals and their organizations. From there, actions would have to be taken. Those actions would have to begin with examination of the investigators. From the FBI to the police to forensic specialists to lawyers and judges.

That would still not be enough. When enough members of an organization or corporation were found to have ties to white supremacy, they would have to be investigated further, censured and members placed on terror watch lists. In some cases, this could result in the full dissolution of some groups.

Make no mistake, white supremacists are fascists in the most real sense of the word. They seek to oppress certain groups based on skin color, sexual orientation and religion. They use threats and violence to instill fear and have been known to murder people. Less obviously, they use legal actions, deny housing and employment to those they deem “unacceptable”.

Notice that our media and some elected officials have ignored the threat of these organizations while promoting fear of the only major group opposing them, Antifa? The name Antifa means anti-fascism. In promoting fear of Antifa, they use vague and misleading claims. To date, no major violent acts have been attributed to Antifa in this country. If there have been acts of violence or property destruction, that is typically not Antifa but Black Bloc Anarchists, who are not the same. A few months ago, some members of CONgress proposed a bill making membership in Antifa illegal. However, Antifa is not actually an organization, it is a political and social ideology. They specifically oppose fascists. So, what is the goal of such legislation? To discourage acceptance and support for Antifa. To prevent Antifa from openly forming an organization.

If Antifa actually did organize so that anyone opposed to fascism could join, what would that mean for groups like the KKK and Nazis? White supremacist tactics seek to divide and attack individuals. Imagine if they faced a group with public funding and the power of lobbying behind them. Such a group could well bridge any gaps between numerous minority organizations while possibly organizing mass physical opposition against the violent fascists groups in this country. Yet the more of us that get involved, demanding police protection, legislation and prosecution, the less likely any physical opposition becomes. Honestly, such an organization is needed badly. If not Antifa, then some other group should take on that role. Bring together all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions formally to oppose groups like the Proud Boys, who continue organizing and growing with no formal opposition and no laws to limit them. Yet how much do you hear of that from MSM?

This issue is going to keep evolving. More and more people are speaking out, asking why this is being labeled as anything but terrorism.

Yet certain things in this battle are absolute:

1- We cannot march in step with or bow down to gun-toting, jack-booted, white robed, Brown Shirted fascists who want to talk about “freedumb” and “Constitutionality” while attempting to oppress others by force.

2- We cannot fight fascism with fascism. Censorship, whether government or corporate, has backfired on us and will continue to do so. The corporate fascists own and run the media.

3- We cannot claim to oppose fascism or be afraid of violent fascists and then be more afraid of the opposition to them when the police refuse to stand up. Someone must step in.

4- We cannot oppose fascists and then vote fascists into office.

Passivity is not an option. Choose your side. There is no middle ground. You either oppose fascism or you are a fascist. What do we today call Germans who did not oppose the Nazi party in 1930’s Germany? We call them Nazis. History will remember us in the same way.