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18 January, 2013

National RIFLE Association Logo

What's in a logo?

Not just a poorly-drawn eagle. 

The spangled shield and date tell a creation story. Half a dozen years after the Civil War, veteran Union officers founded the NRA to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis," according to the website's history. That's a damn sight better than the organization founded by Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, but then the KKK has stuck to it's crazed cracker roots a bit more than the NRA, which has become lobbyist extradordinaire for the arms and private security industries, an extremely active political actor in the affairs of our nation. 

One of three words on the logo is "RIFLE," and a couple of iconic rifles appear as well. Once, this was the central reason for the NRA's existence. Train people to use rifles properly, accurately, and safely. The NRA still participates in training, but it also lobbies extensively on behalf of handguns and "sports rifles" that bear no resemblance to the clipless bolt-action firearms chosen for the logo.

Were the NRA to get back to its roots, support might erode among it's loudest and most rabid gun-rights membership (and the quieter but richer support of assault weapon manufacturers). But more Americans would support an organization promoting scientific shooting than one which demands absolute fealty from politicians and seems intent on proposing extremism.

An NRA that focused on the RIFLE would be something even a blue-state peacenik could live with. I have no trouble with people owning what are--Civil Wars aside--tools for hunting, maybe shootin' varmints. But the inaccuracy of most handguns and the sprays of high-velocity flesh-insulting bullets from assault weapons renders these tools most useful as fashion accessories, means of intimidation, and in all too many cases, maimers and killers. If the NRA (Not just Rifles Anymore) were really here to protect my right to wield a muzzle loader like in those oft-used pics of Heston, or even the plain old rifles in their logo, I could believe that they love my country.

As it is, the logo is a shameless sham. If the NRA wanted to protect the Constitution, they'd give a whit about the "general welfare" and "domestic tranquility," values that the Founding Fathers put right up front. Instead, they focus on an extreme interpretation of a single amendment, and demand that the rest of our law take a back seat. 

It's time to either get in line with your logo, NRA, or change it to reflect your actual mission. Shrink the eagle, form a star with Bushmasters, add a few hundred handguns and thousands of rounds of ammo. Or maybe a modern militia man with an AK-47, firing rounds of rolled-up dollars at the Constitution (the 2nd Amendment remaining unscathed, of course). 

Railing against any restriction at all, suggesting that the only solution to gun violence is more guns makes the NRA more ridiculous every day, and they are on their way to becoming Not Relevant Anymore. Not to worry, though. The NRA is ready for the post-gun world with a back-up plan:

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