Friday, November 18, 2011

The Brady Campaign vs The NRA

When thinking about gun control, the National Rifle Association (NRA) were an obvious choice for analysing an American's right to bear arms. At a glance, their website could be considered as being very militant, not only in the colour scheme but also in the images it presents, often representing iconography of American connotations such as the bald eagle. Interestingly, the array of pictures they choose to scroll as a part of digital network are often bold and in your face, but there is also a constant theme of protection and family when it comes to images of women. Most notable is the article on a new book called "Chicks with Guns" which raises issues because of the condescending attitudes towards women, while trying to include them with other articles on how having a gun is an essential right in order to protect their loved ones.

A scrolling news reel at the bottom informs us of recent NRA news, often stating victories for anti-gun control groups and laws, but also of threats to the second amendment and what the government is planning to do. This helps to inspire hatred toward the current party in office while also celebrating the perceived freedom that they are gaining across the country.

In particular, I found this article to be interesting. They begin by belittling Ms Alex Wagner from the title, stating that the comments she has made are the "outrage of the week". They say her response to a question is "ridiculous and naive", and finish the article by stating:

The U.S. Supreme Court and a majority of the American people would disagree with Wagner. History has shown us that the right of self-defense makes up the foundation of liberty.

This thus reminds the reader of the historical aspect of the constitution and refers back to the idea of having a gun equals freedom by using words such as "liberty".

In comparison, The Brady Campaign appears to be a calmer website. It still represents iconography of America by using the colours red, white and blue, but its approach reflects their attitude of prevention of gun violence.

Currently, the main story is that of Gabby Giffords, the democratic politician shot in the head 10 months ago. Given a 10% chance of survival, Giffords still supports gun rights. However, the fact that she has chosen to appear on the Brady Campaign's website sends a distinct message. The Brady Campaign isn't attempting to ban all guns in America, but to simply control them better.

In contrast to the NRA's scrolling news feed, the Brady Campaign has a counter in their banner, stating how many people have been shot in America in a year, and on today's date. Clicking on the statistics leads you to a link where it's possible to get the facts about guns. The website urges you to "arm yourself with knowledge" and offer a test on gun laws.

Interestingly, their mission statement talks about Americans as people, offering information on how they wish to educate and raise awareness of gun violence. They also say that they fight to represent the victims of gun crimes. In comparison to the NRA, there is a similar theme of protection of loved ones:

We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.

It's essential to note how, on this point, the two websites essentially use the same argument but interpret it in different ways. The NRA believes themselves to be safer for having no gun control, but the Brady Campaign believes they'd be safer with gun control. By realising that they are using the same points for and against, it is clear to understand why this debate has been a forefront of American society for so long.

In conclusion, it's possible to argue that the Brady Campaign has the stronger website, as it offers facts and statistics and urges its readers to educate and make an informed decision of where they stand on gun control issues. The NRA appears to take the bullying tactics of degrading oppositions and demonising them in order to fuel paranoia about the government having too much control. The fact that both the right to bear arms and the right to overthrow an undesired government are both in the Bill of Rights reinforces the fact that Americans are reluctant to change and therefore it is hard to adapt certain laws when people receive them in such a black and white manner.

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