The robocall began abruptly- “Hello. This is Wayne LaPierre, and I’m calling you to…”
At this point I stopped listening. If you’ve had these calls, you know what I’m talking about- the NRA’s new and uniquely-hollow conspiracy theory that the United Nations is fighting to take away our rights “to buy or even own every rifle, pistol and shotgun” in America, and somehow President Obama and Secretary Clinton are involved in this grand scheme. This “terrifying concept” falls flat, however, when you, you know, look at the treaty.
It’s a benign piece, fighting the trafficking of usually-automatic weapons and drugs to and from militarized zones. (Obviously, Mexico and Afghanistan are the primary targets of the treaty.) As we know, UN treaties have no strength as law, but, it’s a good fundraiser for the National Rifle Association, so I had to step in.
The robocall ended with a question as or more loaded than the automatic weapons the resolution will fight, something about opposing the socialist treaty, I think. I gritted my teeth and answered in the affirmative, knowing full well I wouldn’t get a live person to pester without that answer.
“Hello, this is– I forget her name, let’s just use Jane– Jane, and I’m here to help you with any questions you have!” The woman, a low-level volunteer or staffer at the NRA, jovially picked up, hoping for donations. I responded in my most drippingly polite tones, “Hi, Jane! I have mannnny questions I have about that wonderful call!”
At this point, I wouldn’t have faulted Jane for reasoning that I wasn’t to be a great supporter. However, she instead recognized my age-
“Hi, sonny! You sound quite astute,” the poor woman merrily trilled, not knowing what was to come. “Could I speak to your father?”
I responded to the negative, saying I was the person in the house she would want to speak to. Though my mother and father were both accessible, and both more than capable of having a NRA dittohead shout them down, I wanted, needed to take this one myself. “Now, first…”
I quickly began. “This sounds a bit strange. You claim in this material that this UN treaty would ban the sale of conventional firearms.” “Not just that, it would ban owning any gun or any ammunition,” said the unwary volunteer.
I audibly sighed, saying that “that is blatantly untrue. This treaty concerns the smuggling and trafficking of firearms over the border, not of ‘takin’ our guns away’, you know.”
She responded meekly, with notable tremble in her voice, “But it can be warped by the government, because it has broad terms. Did you know that?”
Knowing both that that’s the theory and that the theory is bunk, I calmly replied that the claim was somewhere between misinformation and disinformation, as tactfully as one can be against blatantly dishonest talking points.
“But anyway, what does it matter? It will ban the sale of guns and ammo! What will we do then?”
“You do know that federal law would over-rank a UN resolution, right? And, anywhere, where in the resolution would people in peaceable countries be at all hindered?”
“…” This is where I thought she hung up. After about seven seconds of palpably awkward silence, she piped up; “Um… I’ll… see if I can get my supervisor involved.
This is when this became fun.
Hello, Mr. (Lastname), this is” — again, another forgotten name, for the sake of continuity let’s call him Dick– “Dick, Jane’s supervisor. I was told that you wanted some clarifications about the information?”
“Yes, thank you. I was wondering,” in that semi-saccharine voice from before, “if you could produce the piece of that UN resolution that bans the ownership of, quote, “all rifles, pistols and shotguns”?” His response was predictable.
“…” Nothing on the other line. “So, he hung up,” I muttered, when a tremulous and intimidated voice came back on. “Sorry,… connection issues…”.
“Umm… It’s not in the resolution per se…”
“Well, what does that mean?” I was affably upset with him, seeing as how he lied.
“Well, Obama could do what Bill Clinton did which was to take the UN’s resolution as precedent for law…” “But, Dick, you just said it’s not in the resolution!” “Well, it’s… Obama could declare that that’s what it means…”
At this point, I nearly snapped and became quite calm after collecting myself. “But how quick to block that would the Supreme Court be, especially with five justices that even you would agree are conservatives and pro-gun? And how quick to file for impeachment would John Boehner’s reactionary House be?”
“… Well, we just want to protect that seat on the Supreme Court…” I snapped back.
“So, you’re admitting that this is just a fundraiser for Republicans?”
“I’m not saying that, though I would support the Republicans…”
“Well, would you at least not raise money through blatant falsehoods? As a Democrat, I see this as a sad state of affairs for the Republican Party when a fundraiser that has been on for multiple years revolves around a conspiracy theory that needs lies to keep attached to the ground, especially from a huge group like the NRA.”
“… Well, I hope I’ve been able to… help you out…”
Very tactfully, I responded that he was a great help and allowed me to understand this issue much better. I bid him good day and politely exited the conversation.
I think I managed to get on the right-winger PACs’ Do Not Call list!