Prove Your Manhood and Enrich the Arms Dealers

If you think America’s latter-day “merchants of death” are fiends in human form, you could be right. Illustrating  just how grotesque they are, Bushmaster, the maker of the assault rifle that was used to kill those little children in Connecticut last week (illustrated above), has issued a “Man Card”  as part of a grisly advertising campaign.

I was stunned by an article in this morning that revealed details of the campaign.

According to the article:

“To become a card-carrying man, visitors of will have to prove they’re a man by answering a series of manhood questions. Upon successful completion, they will be issued a temporary Man Card to proudly display to friends and family,” a press release for the campaign reads.

Most of the quiz questions are pretty predictable and harmless, if dumb — Do you eat tofu? Can you change a tire? Have you ever watched figure skating “on purpose”? — but others are more challenging. One question gives you four possible options of how to respond if a car full of the rival team’s fans cuts you off on the way to the championship game. The correct answer, it turns out, is to commit arson: “Skip the game, find the other car in the parking lot, and render it unrecognizable with a conflagration of shoe polish and empty food containers.”

If property destruction isn’t your thing, you can always reclaim your manhood by purchasing a Bushmaster assault rifle, like the .223 Adam Lanza allegedly used.

But watch out, manly friends. Don’t let those emotions show or that glass be full of anything but non-light beer, because your buddies can “revoke” your Man Card at any point. Revokable offenses include being a “crybaby,” a “coward,” a “cupcake” (we have no idea what that means either), having a “short leash” (presumably thanks to a wife or girlfriend), or being just generally “unmanly” (this one has a woman icon).

The article, by Salon reporter Alex Seitz-Wald, left me disheartened. What hope can there be for new laws to end the bloodshed? How do you persuade such shameless people to relent in their opposition to any and all gun-law reform?

And if they don’t relent, what will it take to defeat them?

Arms manufacturers are the backbone of the National Rifle Association. They are the source of the mountain of money corrupting and intimidating Congress. They are the true power behind the association’s bureaucracy. They call the shots , not the association’s 4.3 million members. They are the ones who abuse the Constitutional protection of the First Amendment to ensure that nothing gets in the way of their arms sales.

There is so much money to be made. And that kind of money brings so much power.

The directors of these companies include the most highly placed government officials. For example,  President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary was the chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, which owns Bushmaster and several other gun manufacturers.  And Dan Quayle, George Bush Senior’s vice president, is chairman of the company’s Global Investments division.

According to Wikipedia, investors include prominent government and private sector pension and retirement funds, charitable foundations, university endowments, insurance companies, family savings and sovereign wealth funds.

Does the American public, do the public’s political representatives, does this sorrowing nation have the will to oppose such vested interests?

Perhaps with the help of our Creator, we will prevail.

But it will not be simple or easy. The outrage and resolve inspired by the Connecticut tragedy must not be a passing phenomenon; it must be sustained for as long as it takes.

As President Obama has said, the constant carnage can no longer be tolerated.


UPDATE: I have just come across a news item that indicates the tide may be turning. At least one investment group is balking at the bloodshed. Here’s the report from Reuters:

Following pressure from a major investor, U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management is selling gunmaker Freedom Group, whose Bushmaster AR-15 rifle was used in the Connecticut school massacre last week.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) said on Monday it was reviewing its investment with Cerberus in the wake of Friday’s shooting, in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School and then took his own life.

Click here for the Reuters report.

Click here for the article.

Click here for reaction to the ad campaign.

Click here to visit a Bushmaster site.

Click here to see who owns the gun manufacturing companies.