The National Rifle Association did warn us. We have until Friday to finish mourning the children.
“Out of respect for the families,” they cooed in a press release, “and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.”
I felt like throwing up.
I could parse this piece of sophism until the cows came home. But here's a start:
- Notice, “respect” is for the families, not the children or their teachers. No mention of death here. No mention of the dead. No mention of children anywhere in the press release. This is not an oversight; this is by design.
- Notice the word “common” next to “decency”? What, then, is un-common decency? Does this mean they’ve waited as long as they – The Mighty NRA – should be asked to wait?
- And, well, what were they hoping would emerge from a “full investigation” of the facts? Involvement of the Taliban?
- Yes, and talk about tone deaf. This dreadful sentence pronounced the exact length of time the NRA believes to be adequate for the families to mourn and pray. Could anything be more arrogant?
Friday, the NRA warns, it will begin the offensive – or defensive. All who teach public relations, or learn public relations, or do public relations, should be tuned into this. This will be a textbook case, a case of sophism for the ages. This – have I already used the word dreadfull? – this dreadful sentence notwithstanding, on Friday you will witness the beginning of a masterful public relations campaign, a campaign without conscience or context, a demonstration of pure skill to rival any in ancient Greece. To be sure, most of the campaign will be hidden from view. But the public portion will still be as good as the art of public relations gets.
Even tobacco shills will look up and take notice.
President Obama has to act fast. He only has one more day to get something done before the NRA – after what it has determined constitutes a “respectful” length of time to mourn the massacre of children and the teachers who died covering them with their bodies – unleashes the dogs.
They did warn us. Or, was that warning aimed at weak-kneed self-preservationists on Capital Hill?