“I want for you to write something about the NRA” said a friend and I replied “the National Restaurant Association?” “No re the National Rifle Association.” “I don’t think so” I said. Like most Greeks I may have an answer for everything but when it comes to guns people get defensive and I don’t think I want to go there.

So, one Sunday morning soccer is called off because half the players have orders from their cardiologists not to play in the cold. There were no hot chicks on Greek tv and Panathinaikos had played and lost the day before. So as I’m flicking thru the channels I come across Wayne Lapierre the vice president of the National Rifle Association on “MEET THE PRESS” who’s trying to do some damage control in the wake of the Newtown school shooting. I’m listening to the rhetoric and can’t stop thinking what a great job the NRA has done capitalizing on the FEAR and the FEELINGS of the people in this country. Here are some of the quotes from the show:

“There’s a media machine in this country that wants to blame guns every time something happens”.

Here’s another one:

“The ONLY thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.

Wait there’s more… “I have people calling me from all over the country telling me I went to bed safer last night because I have a firearm”. There you go. Grandpa who just woke up and needs 15 minutes to stretch his legs find his glasses and get out of bed FEELS safer because he has a loaded 357 right next to his heart medication.

I understand that there’s a second amendment, law abiding citizens with guns and a tradition in this country that goes back to the frontier days. I also understand however that a waiting period (which by the way the NRA was against) is a must, so that Theio Taki doesn’t go out and buy a gun so he can shoot the neighbor’s dog because it peed on his garden.

By waiting a few days Theio Taki can instead blow some steam and kick the dog (like they do in Greece) instead.
I, like most of the people in this country have had it because the NRA is the mouthpiece of gun manufacturers who profit and use “freedom” as an excuse to sell FEAR, which translates to record breaking gun and ammo sales. See:
National Rifle (Selling) Association. See also: How The Glock Became America’s Weapon Of Choice.

The solution for the NRA is to have police officer(s) at every school in the country and better screening from the Government to prevent “lunatics” from obtaining firearms. So lets get this straight, pro small government. Mr. Lapierre wants Government out of our lives but more Government to enforce what he thinks will stop shootings. Who knows, we may just have another school shooting with children and… ..shot police officers and then the NRA can say that if only the teachers were armed and the second graders this would never have happened. Well don’t you know it, a few days go by and see: 3 officers shot, gunman killed at N.J. police HQ.

No I’m not some anti-gun, tree-hugging, “save the whales” crazy. I’m a gun owner and outdoorsman who hunts. “Kostaki” was only 5 years old when his father handed him a loaded shotgun and pointed to a dove and said “aim and shoot”. The year was 1969 and my father who happened to be a serious hunter had just had enough of my crying and screaming and finally took me with him with his buddy “Kotsolangas” against my mother’s will. I could just picture my Mom screaming from the top of her lungs (to paidi kai ta matia sou) I was the “paidi” and my sister was well… she was just a girl.

So we migrate to the land of opportunity and continue the hunting tradition with my father and I like thousands others bought into the NRA propaganda machine. I heard it all, “keep the hunting tradition alive and protect the 2nd amendment” etc. Oh yea. In the meantime send us your money. You give us this much you get a hat and a decal for the car. Give us more and you get the jacket and the scarf and the gold bullet key chain. I ate it all up.

Then something interesting happened. Michael Dukakis was running for President of the United States and as a Greek like most Greeks the thought of Dukakis as President was just mind blowing.. I mean think about it: With a Greek president in my mind we first take back Northern Cyprus, Invade FYROM and next thing you know March 25 replaces July 4th as the National Holiday and as a bonus Macy’s is having a sale.

I could just envision Proedros Michalis Dukakis locking arms with his vice president (as Anthony Quinn did in ZORBA) and dance the syrtaki on Greek independence day. Every white house employee is replaced by a Greek and you have 4 years of tsipouro and mezedes in the white house and everybody is loving it except for the homophobe “XENOI” who go on Fox News and say “there, he’s dancing with another man, he’s gay impeach the President”.

So during that time which I will call the “Dukakis Dream” I remember seeing bumper stickers saying things like: “AMERICANS FOR BUSH” and “DEFEND YOUR ARMS DEFEAT DUKAKIS and I just couldn’t believe how much power NRA had. Well we all know what happened, Dukakis lost so no kourabiethes in DC but not 2 days go by and as a member of the NRA I get a shiny silver envelope in the mail that says “The fight is just beginning” and in it were pictures of some democrats who were “going to take our guns away” so make a contribution to the NRA and there were little boxes indicating if you wanted to send $25 $50 $100 or more so that’s when I realized that the NRA was not for me.

People use guns to hunt and participate in shooting sports all over the world so why do we need AK-47’s with multiple clips in this country? To protect ourselves? Really? Do you know what the best weapon is to defend your loved ones in case a bad guy invades your home ? A shotgun. Ask any expert and I bet you $1 that they will tell you a shotgun is the way to go That’s right a good old Remington pump-action model 870 with a 24” barrel and a cylinder open choke loaded with copper plated #4’s. I know because I load them myself. You see a pistol shoots ONE bullet (single projectile) at a time and trying to “STOP” (a term used by gun enthusiasts) a moving individual who’s trying to harm you is difficult and requires training. For those of you who know nothing about guns think of your garden hose that’s set on the “stream” setting and you trying to wet say a cat that’s running across your lawn. Now turn the head to the “spray” position and you cover a much greater area with little effort. You wet the cat and the dog that’s chasing it. That’s the difference between a shotgun and a pistol.

How about carrying a gun? You can’t carry a shotgun can you? I agree you can’t but let’s be realistic here and say you’re at a restaurant, a mall or a theater and you’re carrying a pistol. What are you going to do if there’s a bad guy with a gun? Do you have the training and the ability to pull your weapon from your holster and FIND your target and not hurt anyone else in the process? I seriously doubt it. Shooting at a range once a certified shooting instructor told me that the common gun owner couldn’t hit a moving target to save his life so please don’t go out buying a gun that only makes you FEEL safer when in reality it may fall into the wrong hands and end up hurting you and ignore NRA propaganda machine and the gun manufacturers trying to empty your wallet.

The NRA talks of the price of freedom and that we should be able to make choices as citizens. My question is: can we as a society look at the parents who lost their children to shootings and tell them that?