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Friday, April 12, 2013

NASCAR and NRA; bad combination for me

National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I haven't missed a NASCAR race since I became a fan--somewhere around 2004. My friends and family know not to call me on race day because I refuse to answer the phone. 

I have been a devout fan, although admittedly, not always pleased with certain aspects of the sport, which I've detailed in this blog, but I enjoy the racing, the driver personalities, the technical advances in the equipment, racing strategies, etc.

But when I first heard that the National Rifle Association, (NRA), the lobbying arm of the gun manufacturers, was planning to sponsor the NASCAR race at Texas, I decided not to watch. While I am heartened by the many fans that have opted to pass on this race, as I have, I am appalled at some of the comments by certain die hard NASCAR fans on social media displaying absolute ignorance about the gun safety issue, which has been the focus of national debate since 26 people were slaughtered in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

The fact that NASCAR allowed an NRA-sponsored race is telling, but that it would occur at this time is appalling. NASCAR says it wants to appeal to a broader audience, but its actions indicated just the opposite. I happen to love the south; I live in the south. I love that NASCAR embraces its rich history. However, I am not in favor of ignorance, which is what has been displayed by too many NASCAR fans on various online venues that have dealt with the NRA flap, as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has called it. 

It is cool to have an opinion. It is okay to express that opinion. It is not alright to be a racist, small-minded, insulting idiot. So many of them who claim to be trying to preserve their constitutional rights fail to recognize the constitution is more than the portion of the second amendment they like to quote. 

The debate about gun safety has become a nationwide conversation, as it should be. Of course everyone won't always agree, but that's okay. At least the conversation should be civil and hopefully constructive. 

In my view, the arguments supporting the NRA are simply specious. The NRA isn't an organization that supports gun owners; it supports gun manufacturers. It is all about the money; it isn't about what is right and beneficial for people. It isn't even about the people who support it. They are merely pawns. It is said they don't realize they are being used.

My rant against the NRA has little to do with the ongoing gun safety issue. The NRA isn't talking about safety; they are just talking about selling more guns. There is nothing wrong with owning a gun. It is a guaranteed right of citizens to protect themselves and to use firearms for hunting, and other types of sport. But what is going on in this country today is totally insane. Doing nothing will not stop the killing. Since the Sandy Hook massacre--December 14, not even four months ago--there have been more than 3,000 people killed by a firearm. I used to live in a town that had less people in it. I find that number shocking. Everyday headlines scream about another murder, suicide, or accidental gun-related death. I saw three just today. This has to stop. There has to be a rational discussion and viable solutions we can all live with.

For my own small part, I am taking a stand against all the violence; refusing to participate in something I thoroughly enjoy, with the hope that it will make some kind of a difference.

Perhaps it has. NASCAR has reportedly decide to scrutinize its race sponsorships in the future. That is a small thing, but I believe change takes time and is often incremental. At this point, any step is a step in the right direction.

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