For relentlessly pushing an agenda that is neither vital nor promoting of the common good ...
For encouraging a distorted and fear-based narrative that sees other people as potential criminals instead of neighbors, citizens or children of God ...
For swiping away like plates off a table the real issues from the attention of politicians ...
For spoiling the divine message of peace-making, forgiveness and turning the other cheek ...
And for the unyielding allegiance to the lie that says that guns make a people safe ...
I charge the current National Rifle Association lobby with treason.
The NRA has become a threat to the people of Tennessee, betraying -- which is at the heart of treason -- the best interests and better angels of the people.
We've moved past the tipping point, past the line where logic and reason are allowed into conversations about the safest and healthiest ways for citizens to arm themselves.
The dogs have been unleashed, and it seems nearly impossible to call them back, as everywhere -- churches, bars, schools, parks, parking lots -- the NRA seeks to arm. It's like some twisted form of colonization.
During a recent screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" -- the same Batman movie playing at last month's mass shooting in Colorado -- one North Alabama man walked into a Chattanooga movie theater with a friend who was carrying a concealed gun.
The two sat on the very top row, able to see anyone and everyone who walked into the theater. The gun by their side the whole film. Just in case.
"It's comforting to know you could defend yourself," the man told Times Free Press reporter Joan Garrett, whose story on guns and personal safety classes ran in Sunday's paper.
Comforting? Not in the least.
It is something to grieve.
To enter a movie theater carrying a weapon to prevent a mass shooting is an act of delusion.
Movie theaters are some of the safest places in America. So are churches, schools and your own home. The odds are far greater that the North Alabama man would be killed by a drunken driver on his way home than a movie theater shooter; nearly 30 people die every day from alcohol-related crashes, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2011, there were 43 home invasions in Chattanooga, according to police spokesman Nathan Hartwig. With more than 70,000 households in Chattanooga, this means there's a 0.0006 chance your Chattanooga home will be invaded.
On Tuesday, Chattanooga City Councilman Peter Murphy introduced a resolution that would ask the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to "expedite rule-making regarding the making of brightly colored firearm components."
He's talking about guns that look like toys. Brightly colored. Pistol handles in hot pink. One police officer told Murphy and the council that he's seen guns painted with cartoon characters. He spoke about the dangers these guns pose to officers and to the public.
"And for what purpose would anybody create that?" asked Deputy Chief Tommy Kennedy.
The NRA should be sponsoring this effort. Imagine if it put as much energy into promoting youth involvement in hunting as it did the defeat of Tennessee Rep. Debra Maggart or the effort to let people in bars carry guns. Imagine if it worked tirelessly to end mass shootings without violating the spirit of the Second Amendment while praying without ceasing for an end to firearm deaths.
What a world that would be. Many gun owners I know want that type of world. Their NRA lobby betrays them. And us.
Within crimes of treason, the guilty party is often executed. No need for that here.
People are already dying.
Contact David Cook at email@example.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DCookTFP.
David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...