What an irony it was to watch the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre finally emerge after a self-imposed and highly publicized week of silence after the incomprehensible killings of 20 elementary school children.
To the elite media, the NRA is the unrivaled boogeyman of Washington lobbyists. The ignorant and urban press would have you believe that the NRA is behind every piece of legislation that has ever passed Congress. That these evil gun-toters sit in the balconies above the House and Senate floors controlling the lawmakers below like marionettes on strings.
So moneyed and talented are these slick-tongued lobbyists that lawmakers cannot help but crumple beneath their spell.
Then out walks Mr. LaPierre into the lights. And in an open news conference carried live, he tells a nation of brokenhearted people who are worried and even a little terrified about all the diabolical mayhem going on to, basically, "Quit crying and arm up!"
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun," he said, "is a good guy with a gun." The only way to keep our children from being slaughtered, in other words, is to post armed guards inside ever elementary school.
Now while I certainly subscribe to the everlasting wisdom of a well-armed society as described in the Second Amendment, Mr. LaPierre's argument at this moment isn't exactly going to win anyone over. If you are already inclined toward gun control, you are probably not going to suddenly buy into the idea that the problem here is not too many guns, but rather not enough guns.
He said plenty of sensible things as well, but did he really think that the media would give much oxygen to sensible arguments by the NRA when they could pounce on the one that causes gun non-owners to break out in hives?
These people in the urban media despise guns so much that the vast majority of them live in places where guns are largely illegal. As such, the only people who have them in their neighborhoods are criminals. And their closest association with guns is when they got mugged that time. No wonder they hate guns so much.
The only people who are dumber about guns than the media are the politicians most eager to round them up. Few have ever handled a gun, and even fewer understand how they operate. Which is why here in Washington, politicians are put in charge of writing legislation to regulate guns.
It would be like putting me in charge of regulating the falafel vendors in New York City or dope dispensaries in San Francisco.
And then there are all the gun-buyback programs that politicians and the liberal media love so much. This is where big-city police departments offer our tax dollars to residents in exchange for guns they turn in. Then everybody proudly poses beside tables bristling with the hundreds and hundreds of guns they took off the streets.
These displays are a continual reminder that only the people out there on the street who are not armed are the law-abiding chumps like you and me.
Among the rounded-up firearms — destined for destruction in a smelter — are always a few rare and beautifully kept rifles and collectible World War II long guns, as if antique guns and fireside gun-cleaning is the stuff of urban gunplay.
Am I the only person who suspects that probably every single one of those nice guns was once somebody's favorite hunting rifle before it got stolen in a home burglary?
All the police would have to do is copy down the serial number on each of those guns and run that against guns reported stolen. Not only could the cops return the cherished gun to its rightful owner, they could also track down whoever turned it in and arrest them for peddling stolen property.
That would be a truly fine place to start getting guns out of the wrong hands.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.