Professor Jooyoung Lee recently published an op ed piece in Maclean’s magazine reflecting on the American gun lobby in the wake of the October 1st Las Vegas massacre. Professor Lee notes that the disjuncture between the terrifying realities of mass shootings and the message that the NRA sends to Americans about the value of guns for keeping safe from shootings. Professor Lee is a faculty member at the St. George campus with research expertise in crime and gun violence in the United States. We have posted an excerpt of the article here; the full article is available on the Maclean’s magazine website.
The NRA is wrong: Real life is not an action movie
The NRA has been lying to you. For years, they’ve promoted the same bumper-sticker motto: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” These were the exact words spoken by National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre killed 26, including 20 children. Since then, this saying has taken on a life of its own. It fuels a frontier attitude toward the second amendment and creates unrealistic beliefs amongst gun owners who think they’ll become Dirty Harry when things hit the fan. And, of course, it encourages people to buy more guns.
Trouble is, a close examination of mass shootings—including the recent Las Vegas shooting, which has killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 others—pokes holes in this logic. The video footage seen thus far reveals an ugly truth: Mass shootings are chaotic, scary, and fleeting, and they rarely conform to our dominant cultural images of active-shooter situations—much less the action-hero prospects promised by LaPierre. While shootouts look cool, stylish, and effortless in movies like John Wick or The Tower, reality is a different animal.