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Sunday, April 14, 2013

NASCAR, NRA race buddies; fans take sides

Samsung/RadioShack 500 on Sunday, April 9, 200...
Texas Motor Speedway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I hope there were plenty of empty seats at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night, as NASCAR decided to partner with the NRA as its race buddy. It isn't surprising that these two entities would team up, given their corporate mentality to better the bottom line no matter what the cost, but I'm glad to have stood my ground. I hope others did as well.

I chose not to watch this race. By allowing the NRA to sponsor the Texas race at a time when Congress and the entire country is debating gun safety measures in light of the tragic killing of 26 people including 20 little first graders in Connecticut last December, it was simply distasteful to me to be a participant in any way. I have made no secret of my dislike for NASCAR's corporate behavior in the past for many reasons, but for me, this was something I couldn't ignore.  

When I declared my decision to forgo this race, so did many others. I was actually surprised by the number of people who felt as I did. Then there was the other side--those who love that NASCAR supports the NRA. The trouble with them is they, more often than not, used such hateful rhetoric that ranged from unplaced paranoia about someone knocking on their door to take their guns away, to those that spoke about their firearms in the same way a small children describes its beloved security blanket. Then there were the racist zealots who simply can't get over having a black man in the White House and blame President Obama for everything wrong with the world.

I understand that the culture in the south, where I live, by the way, includes guns for hunting, target practice, and protection in remote rural areas. I have no problem with that; but neither does anyone else. For cripes sake shooting is an Olympic event. And there is certainly nothing wrong with supporting this activity.

NRA Headquarters, Fairfax Virginia USA
NRA Headquarters, Fairfax Virginia USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The NRA has crossed the line, however. Their reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is in my view extreme at best. It demonstrates a desperate attempt to maintain its hold on the power it has amassed in recent years, reflected on humongous salaries and its big, shiny corporate office building in Fairfax, VA. While I recognize that not everyone shares my view, I have no problem talking about our differences.

That doesn't seem to be the case however, with the irrational comments posted on social media by NRA supporters/NASCAR fans who apparently feel somehow threatened by non-gun owners' opinions. Their comments were rude, insensitive, racist, demeaning, and insulting. It is frightening to think that these quick-tempered, irrational people own guns. Not only can they not accept a divergent point of view, but they have trouble expressing their own ideas in an intelligent manner. The Hatfield/McCoy mentality is a real danger in our rapidly-growing population, which we see in the headlines every day. Guns should not be used for settling a personal dispute or making a point. Too often times, innocent people die. 

On a brighter note: Congratulations Ryan Newman who is obviously back in top form, with a 10th place finish at Texas. While I didn't actually see his performance, reading about it was just about as sweet. 

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