Pro-gun arguments sound pretty disturbing when recited verbatim by children.
Gun reform group Everytown for Gun Safety released a new video Tuesday highlighting some of the most out-there statements by National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, all read by children.
By reimagining some of LaPierre's most apocalyptic, cynical rants about gangs of hoodlums and "knockout-gamers" as they would sound coming out of the mouths of children, the result is simultaneously funny, troubling and sad:
But it's unfair to use children to score political poin— Let's stop right there. Much of the debate surrounding gun control is about the right of children to a safe education. LaPierre has already repeatedly used mass shootings like the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School to push a fringe gun rights agenda, from arguing that America needs to arm its schools to launching an attack ad calling Obama an "elite hypocrite" for providing his daughters with a standard security detail.
LaPierre has been at the forefront of this line of argument, which has been so successful that the NRA now airs videos arguing for "gun-required zones" in schools where students would be required to demonstrate firearms proficiency.
There's no position too shameful for LaPierre to take when children are involved, and Everytown's video is a direct rebuttal to the NRA's continual use of children as a political tool.
As Slate's Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes argued, the statistical evidence that guns endanger children is pretty robust. Gun ownership has been correlated to the likelihood of a child becoming a homicide victim. According to Slate, 75% of all children murdered in the developed world are in the U.S., while America's rate of suicides among kids aged 5 to 14 is double that of comparable nations.
LaPierre is horrible in other ways: Everytown's video also takes shots at the NRA's unapologetically pro-vigilante stance, portraying Americans as constantly at risk of violent crime despite falling crime rates. While LaPierre is careful never to openly say anything racist, he's happy to blow that old dog whistle when it suits him.
"Knockout-gamers" is a reference, for example, to a heavily anecdotal right-wing myth that gangs of minority teenagers are regularly attacking polite white folk just minding their own business. LaPierre never says race war, but his dire predictions of mass social disorder are clearly suggestive of what type of people will be doing the rioting.
These kinds of things sound awful when children say them, so shouldn't Americans apply a higher standard to his far-right rhetoric?