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Opinion: What If Lincoln Had Brought a Gun to the Theater?

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Opinion: What If Lincoln Had Brought a Gun to the Theater?

The following post is an opinion piece from Ward Room blogger Ted McClelland. His opinions are his own and do not reflect the positions of NBC Universal. Please leave comments below. 

During an appearance on NRA News, the National Rifle Association’s in-house talk show, NRA President Wayne LaPierre went off on sportscaster Bob Costas.

During halftime of Sunday night’s football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, Costas read a column by Kansas City sportswriter Jason Whitlock, about the terrible and tragic murder-suicide of Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher.

Whitlock asserted that America’s gun culture was to blame for Belcher shooting his wife, and then himself. Costas agreed. (ed -- Costas has since admitted that it was a mistake to opine about gun control on the NFL broadcast.)

LaPierre did not agree, however, accused the sportscaster of exploiting a celebrity death to push an anti-gun agenda.

“Bob Costas doesn’t care about the crime that goes on in Chicago,” LaPierre ranted. “He doesn’t care when the average citizen is assaulted by some criminal … He wouldn’t have said a thing last night if this woman had saved her life by having a firearm available, from Jovan Belcher.”
 
That’s an interesting theory, so I decided to apply the revisionist history concept to famous murders throughout history.
 
The Land of Nod, 6000 B.C.: Envious that his brother’s offering won more favor from the Lord, Cain lures his brother Abel out into the fields and kills him.
 
NRA version: Suspicious of Cain’s motivations for inviting him out on a walk, Abel pulls out a handgun and shoots his brother dead.
 
Rome, March 15, 44 B.C.: Roman senators assassinate Julius Caesar on the steps of the Senate after he declares himself dictator of the Republic.
 
NRA version: Caesar’s Praetorian guard whips semi-automatic weapons out from under their togas and mows down the conspirators. A dying Marcus Junius Brutus whimpers, “Et tu, Julius?”
 
Canterbury, England, December 29, 1170: Archbishop Thomas a Becket is assassinated by four knights acting on the wishes of King Henry II.
 
NRA version: England allows law-abiding yeomen to carry concealed weapons into cathedrals, enabling Becket to fend off his attackers with a Walther pistol hidden under his cassock.
 
Washington, D.C., April 14, 1865: A production of Our American Cousin comes to an abrupt end when John Wilkes Booth shoots President Abraham Lincoln in his private box.
 
NRA version: Hearing Booth’s approach, an armed Lincoln shoots him first. After the would-be assassin’s body is dragged away, the play continues.
 
Sarajevo, Austro-Hungarian Empire, June 28, 1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, is assassinated by Serbian nationalists, setting off World War I.
 
NRA version: Ferdinand shoots his assassins, thus saving not only his own life, but millions of others.
 
March 1, 1932, East Amwell, New Jersey: Twenty-month old Charles Lindbergh Jr. is kidnapped from his family home and held for ransom. Two-and-a-half months later, his body is discovered in a nearby forest.
 
NRA version: With a .22 pistol placed in his cradle as a christening gift, young Lindbergh fends off the kidnappers. 
 
Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963: From a window of the Texas Book Depository, Lee Harvey Oswald shoots President John F. Kennedy with a high-powered rifle as Kennedy’s motorcade passes through downtown Dallas.
 
NRA version: Kennedy, who had the foresight to pack a high-powered rifle of his own in his presidential limo, stands up and shoots into the window where Oswald is standing, sparing not only his own life, but the lives of 58,000 American soldiers, because he would not have gotten the U.S. into the Vietnam War.

Related Topics Lincoln, NRA, Gun Control
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