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George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

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George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by Katiedot on Wed Feb 06 2013, 17:31

Before we start, I'd just like to point out how wonderfully silly all the headlines about the NRA are to some Brits (well ok, maybe just me). That's because NRA stands for the National Rivers Authority.

Anyway. Apparently George hasn't been pissing off the finest British stickleback collecting policy wonks so I guess this story's about those guys with the rifles:

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NRA's enemies list: Most of America

By John Avlon, CNN Contributor

February 6, 2013

Editor's note: John Avlon is a CNN contributor and senior political columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He is co-editor of the book "Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns." He is a regular contributor to "Erin Burnett OutFront" and is a member of the OutFront Political Strike Team. For more political analysis, tune in to "Erin Burnett OutFront" at 7 ET weeknights.

(CNN) -- Question: What do George Clooney, Chaka Khan, the American Medical Association, Bon Jovi and C. Everett Koop have in common?

Answer: They are among the 500 names on the National Rifle Association's absurd new "enemies list."

Richard Nixon would be embarrassed to find that his once sinister form of score-keeping has been revived so promiscuously by the NRA. But there is some redeeming social value here: The list illustrates an organization that has become hermetically sealed from society at large, so caught up in conservative debates that it has forgotten how to connect with Main Street America.

John P. AvlonThe enemies list was first posted on the NRA's website in mid-September, hiding in plain sight under the banner "National Organizations with Anti-Gun Policies." But with the debate about reasonable gun restrictions reignited after the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter, the NRA's enemies list has become just the latest example of seriously bad judgment inside this once proud organization.

Because whatever staffer was tasked with accumulating the list took the idea of "you're either with us or against us" so literally that everyone who isn't a card-carrying conservative seems to be counted as an enemy.

The list is divided into broad categories, including "Anti-Gun Individuals and Celebrities," journalists, civic organizations and corporations -- as well as a grab bag category that includes religious leaders. You don't have to be a charter member of Mensa to see how this is going to alienate far more Americans than it attracts.

We're living in a celebrity-driven culture, for better or worse, so let's start with a look at the celebrity list.

The first thing that struck me was the preponderance of '70s sitcom stars who are apparently among the leading threats to gun rights in America today, including Sandy Duncan, Marilu Henner, Ed Asner, Hal Linden and Pam Dawber of "Mork & Mindy" fame. It's like the list-maker was locked in a closet full of yellowing TV Guides. It's a near-miracle that "The Partridge Family" was left off the list.

But the NRA doesn't seem content to limit its targets to old reruns of "The Hollywood Squares" -- no, it has to go and bring Sean Connery into the fight, along with Bruce Springsteen, Albert Brooks, Tony Bennett, Jack Nicholson, Britney Spears, Jerry Seinfeld and Oprah Winfrey.

On the civic side, it sees fit to call out everyone from Dick Parsons to Maya Angelou to (the late) Ed Koch to Michael Eisner. You might as well declare yourself the sworn enemy of anyone who doesn't subscribe to National Review.

This idea gets thrown into even sharper relief when you look at a partial list of civic, charitable and religious organizations that the NRA has determined are "anti-gun." Warning: Take a deep breath before reading aloud:

• AARP;

• AFL-CIO;

• American Medical Association;

• American Bar Association;

• Anti-Defamation League;

• B`nai B`rith;

• Children`s Defense Fund;

• Environmental Action Foundation;

• Episcopal Church;

• Lauder Foundation;

• League of Women Voters of the United States;

• National Association of Police Organizations;

• National Coalition Against Domestic Violence;

• National Association for the Advancement of Colored People;

• National Council of La Raza;

• National Urban League;

• National Spinal Cord Injury Association;

• Southern Christian Leadership Conference;

• U.S. Catholic Conference;

• United Methodist Church;

• United Church of Christ;

• U.S. Conference of Mayors;

• and the YWCA of the USA.

I ask this in all seriousness: Who's left?

Because the list includes just about every major American faith group and denomination, every major ethnic group and voter constituency. And adding the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and National Spinal Cord Injury Association to the list of anti-gun enemies is either clueless or callous -- or both.

One of my favorite lyrics by U2 says: "Choose your enemies carefully, 'cause they will define you." The NRA, like too much of the conservative movement, has chosen its enemies indiscriminately and seems defined in opposition to most of modern America.

This is a byproduct of polarization, the cultlike expulsion of any dissenting voices and preoccupation with ideological purity.

In the case of the NRA, this is reflected in its reversal on policies it supported in the past, such as gun-free school zones and universal background checks. But it is also reflected in tone-deaf speeches such as the ones recently delivered by Wayne LaPierre, or the truly out-of-touch television ad the NRA produced calling President Barack Obama an "elitist hypocrite" for having the Secret Service guard his two daughters at school.

The essence of evangelism is winning converts -- but that goal can be easily forgotten when you're preoccupied with playing to the base. Reasonable advocates of Second Amendment rights are being ill-served by the organization's recalcitrant radicalism -- reflected in the fact that 74% of NRA members say they support universal background checks.

Adding an indiscriminate enemies list to the NRA website only highlights its isolation, consolidating opposition among the figures mentioned and their fans.

As legendary columnist Jimmy Breslin -- also a Nixon enemies list alumni -- remarked when his name was found on the new NRA document, "Put me first on the list." This defiance is a very American response to such an awkward attempt to intimidate.

The NRA enemies list will backfire badly. And then maybe its absurd excess will provoke a needed reset inside the organization, providing a timely reminder that the politics of addition are always more effective than the politics of division.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.


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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by Cubanita on Thu Feb 07 2013, 02:20

I would totally laugh this off except I personally think that a lot of the the NRA's members are kinda crazy. And with George's friendship with Obama .... that makes him a double target to some crazy people with guns.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by Atalante on Thu Feb 07 2013, 13:55

The wild wild west is still alive in America ! Gunslinger

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by pattygirl on Thu Feb 07 2013, 15:09

Maybe George should make a movie in the style of GNGL, as at first glance this reminds me of the McCarthy "witch hunt" of the "Anti-American Activities" list.
Never heard of anything more ridiculous since that time. Hope it doesn't cause "mass hysteria". Sounds like NRA is saying "my way or the highway"
And yes, Cubanita, there are a lot of crazies In the NRA and unfortunately, they do have guns and they can do even more damage than McCarthy's mouth did.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by Cubanita on Thu Feb 07 2013, 16:20

It's really horrifying the attitude that some of these gun enthusiasts have. They seem to think that Obama is going to personally march into their homes and take their guns. As much as I'd like it if he could... I realize that it's not reality. But they are unwilling to accept any sort of regulation at all.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by lucy on Thu Feb 07 2013, 16:40

We have had so many shootings since the last tragedy school shooting, here in Texas. Two at community colleges,one at a office, a prosecutor was assassinated on his way into the courthouse, last weekend two navy seals were murdered at a shooting range. These are not all of the shootings, but Texans are big on the right to own firearms. I hope the laws in this country change. The seal who was killed Chris Kyle was the no. one American sniper he was killed trying to help out a vet suffering from mental illness. Kyle was considered a hero, but I can't understand why going to a shooting range would have helped his killer.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by Lakin460 on Thu Feb 07 2013, 16:44

I know it's a trite and overused axiom, but the point stands: Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

Yes, crack down on background checks; ramp up mental health intervention. But take away the right to bear arms and the crazies will turn to chemical explosives. Didn't Timothy McVey make that statement in Oklahoma? I work in a prison. If you want to kill, you'll find a way.

Like past rights' struggles (abortion, racial equality, women's rights), this is a hot button topic and I'm not trying to start an all out brawl on here. There are valid points to both sides of the argument, so please don't relegate pro gun rights to some antiquated fanatical mindset. Not all liberals are insane. Not all conservatives are either.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by lucy on Thu Feb 07 2013, 17:06

I agree with you Lakin, we need more control on how weapons are bought and who they are sold to, but the owners of guns need to be more responsible about how they are stored. All of our school shootings have been kids with guns, where do you think they are getting them.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by Lakin460 on Thu Feb 07 2013, 17:56

lucy wrote:I agree with you Lakin, we need more control on how weapons are bought and who they are sold to, but the owners of guns need to be more responsible about how they are stored. All of our school shootings have been kids with guns, where do you think they are getting them.

Totally agree, lucy. Accountability to act on this issue extends full circle.
The mom of the Sandy Hook shooter knew her son was mentally imbalanced and to the best of my knowledge, she did not secure her arsenal of weapons. It's happened repeatedly. I live in an area where hunting is a HUGE part of life and you can pretty much find a rifle in 8 out of 10 homes and it concerns me immensely. The potential for another Columbine, et al, exists in my own backyard.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by tzizz on Thu Feb 07 2013, 18:15

Do you know any hunters who use automatic weapons or handguns to hunt? My husband hunts(ducks, quail, deer). We own rifles and shotguns. We see no need for a handgun or an automatic weapon. Obama, Clooney and those who would regulate the sale of weapons have no desire to come into your homes and deprive you of your sporting weapons.

Handguns and automatic weapons are a different issue. In my opinion, handguns serve no purpose other than to kill people. And as far as self-protection using a handgun is concerned..... "Wait a minute, Mr. Housebreaker, let me go into my closet, get out the locked gun box, obtain the bullets from another location, load the gun....." Oops that gun was no help in protecting myself, but keeping it in a secured location certainly protected my children and continues to protect my grandchildren. I do not believe Obama and others have any intention of taking away the right to bear arms.

Statistically .... Ah well, sorry to get on my soapbox, but I (obviously) feel strongly about this. And I have felt strongly about this for 30 years.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by Cubanita on Thu Feb 07 2013, 18:33

lucy wrote:We have had so many shootings since the last tragedy school shooting, here in Texas. Two at community colleges,one at a office, a prosecutor was assassinated on his way into the courthouse, last weekend two navy seals were murdered at a shooting range. These are not all of the shootings, but Texans are big on the right to own firearms. I hope the laws in this country change. The seal who was killed Chris Kyle was the no. one American sniper he was killed trying to help out a vet suffering from mental illness. Kyle was considered a hero, but I can't understand why going to a shooting range would have helped his killer.

I have a hard time with that one myself. The man was suffering from PTSD and somehow taking him to a gun range was going to help with that? Makes no sense to me. Lucy I'm also in Tx and it is frightening the number of incidents we've had. and yet no one in this state seems to want to do anything.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by Katiedot on Fri Feb 08 2013, 03:51

tzizz wrote: Obama, Clooney and those who would regulate the sale of weapons have no desire to come into your homes and deprive you of your sporting weapons.
Not wishing to step in the middle of this debate, but I did want to point out that George Clooney isn't trying to regulate anything. Cool

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

Post by tzizz on Fri Feb 08 2013, 20:31

Katiedot wrote:
tzizz wrote: Obama, Clooney and those who would regulate the sale of weapons have no desire to come into your homes and deprive you of your sporting weapons.
Not wishing to step in the middle of this debate, but I did want to point out that George Clooney isn't trying to regulate anything. Cool

You are correct, Katie. I should not have included Clooney in that statement.

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Re: George Clooney on the NRA's hit list

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