Cliff Schecter
Cliff Schecter
Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients.
Boys with toys
The way most Americans react to a tragedy like the shooting in Colorado is to feel overwhelming sadness for the victims.
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2012 10:50
A section of the population constantly obstructs logical debate on gun control and social programmes [AFP]

There is a scene in the James Bond movie GoldenEye, where the Russian defence minister, Dimitri Mishkin, and 007 get into a testosterone-fuelled shouting match, each trying to see who can outwit and intimidate the other. Finally, Natalya Simonova, a computer programmer and Bond's eventual love interest, can’t take it anymore and yells out in frustration, "Oh, Stop it both of you! Stop it! You're like boys with toys!" 

Welcome to the angriest and loudest voices in response to the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. The ones who tend to have absolutely no evidence to back up anything they say, except their own warped worldview of the coming apocalypse from their mom’s basement. 

You know the guys I'm talking about. They drive pick-up trucks with "don't tread on me" decals and bumper stickers telling you to "choose life" next to ones helpfully reminding you that you'd have to pry their gun "from my cold, dead hands". They see no irony in this, as critical thinking is not as key to their persona as say, a shaved head, a barbed wire tattoo or wife-beater t-shirt. 

It is hard to have a debate in this country about an issue of national importance, without these overgrown petites showing up everywhere from press conferences to PTA meetings, talk radio to Twitter. 

They don't believe in government assistance - except for that from which they have all inevitably benefitted. They hate government spending - unless it is on things that go boom and are not even needed, according to our own military. And on the issue of gun safety, their Rush-fed anger and paranoia kicks up a level to just beyond (Gary) Busey and just below Bane. 

What we have is a form of cultural cacophony that's become demented by adolescent, male angst. Not most of us, mind you, just the loudest and most maladjusted voices by which we ultimately become defined. 

 Does the US need stricter gun control laws

The way most Americans - ones not bought off by blood merchant Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) - react to a tragedy like the shooting in Colorado is to feel overwhelming sadness for the victims, and try to figure out how to stop future massacres. It is the least we can do in their memory, and is a reaction that befits a great nation that strives to be its best. 

The way the our very own Boys of Brazil react, however, is to make patently absurd arguments that in a chaotic, noise-enveloped, pitch-black, theatre if only everyone had a gun, problem solved. (I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!). 

They fantasise and fetishise like little boys playing laser tag, not accepting reality, like those of us who've chosen to become adults. They threaten, bully and posture because deep down, as studies show, they are consumed by fear. They come up with conspiracy theories that the massacre was planned by our government to pass more gun control. 

The NRA leadership counts on these guys to make them millions. With the vast majority of the NRA's own membership overwhelmingly supporting common sense gun restrictions, they obviously don't buy their leadership's propaganda lock, stock and barrel. So here come their very own rough boys to the rescue -ready to occupy a comments section or social media account near you, trying to grapple with feelings of inadequacy, helplessness and rage. 

It wouldn’t be a problem if these outlier Tea-Party types didn't influence a whole political party infected by the childish need to get everything or go home pouting; never to compromise for the good of the country, never caring a bit about 9-year olds in Tucson or six-year olds in Aurora gunned down with impunity (in fact, blaming the victims themselves). 

It should be no surprise that they've chosen the hilarious Mitt Romney as their leader, a man who goes to England and spends his first day trying to prove his manhood by denigrating their Olympic preparation and publicly discussing his meeting with their intelligence agency, MI6, which is never supposed to be publicly acknowledged (The Brits didn't even acknowledge its existence until 1994). But, as they say, boys will be boys. 

Batman, from what I've heard, is an excellent movie. And I love the Bond series. But they are films and this is real life. And in this life, in America, our silent majority must take our reality back from the fantasies of the boys with toys.

Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients.

Follow Cliff Schecter on Twitter: @cliffschecter 


The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

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