2011 VIDEO- Rachel Maddow documents heartbreaking consequences of NRA influence



In light of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, I'm bumping this up. It was originally posted on May 7, 2011. I've included another video of Rachel Maddow and Meghan McCain at the NRA convention from the same time period.

Original post with quotes added in:

Please watch the videos all the way through.

This is the single most effective, touching, infuriating documentation of the NRA's negative influence on this country that I've ever seen, and of course, it took Rachel Maddow to expose these gun zealots in the most gut-wrenching and understandable way-- by putting a human face on it.

And  that human face belongs to Pittsburgh councilman Ricky Burgess, who suffered personal loss after personal loss with family members shot, neighborhood kids shot, businesses in his district closing, beautiful homes abandoned, all a result of violence decimating the Homewood area. Just watch:

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"If you have guns on the street, then a fist fight turns into a shooting."


"What would it take to get business back to Homewood?"


"You gotta stop the shootings. You have to stop shootings."

"If you see it once or twice, it'll change your life forever."

At about 12:12, Rachel asks the councilman:

"If you could talk to the bigwigs at the NRA to explain to them the connection between what they're doing downtown at the convention center right now [see last video of Rachel at the NRA convention below] and what has happened here in your community, how would you put it to them?"

Long thoughtful silence. Then Burgess responds:

"I have watched people who I love-- my own family, my immediate family...-- I've watched them walk out the door and not come home. I've seen kids that grew up in my church who I baptized, who I taught, who I tutored, who ate candy and pizza with with me in my youth group, I've had to do their funerals, watched them shot... We're not hunting rabbits... These guns- are - killing - people... people who I love.... Tell me how many people in your family have been shot and killed by guns, and maybe if you lost 4-5 family members through gun violence, maybe you'd see it from my position."

"But for them it's fun. But for me it's life and death."

"Tell me where it says we have a right to pack an AK-47."

"Certain guns should not be on the street, period."

"There should be ... responsible laws so that a handgun owner has a gun, maintains a gun, and is qualified to have the gun..."

"I believe their interest is more political... well, their interest is not the lives of these people."

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The NRA "absolutely control our state. And so any responsible gun law hasn't been passed..."

"I challenge them to come here... I will show you the victims of gun violence... and you tell me what good your lobbying has done for my community."

VIDEO ADDED, Rachel and Meghan McCain in a segment called "Two tickets to the gun show" in which Rachel pointed out that two of the NRA's members actually manufacture high-capacity magazines:

  • Anonymous

    I take it you don't want to destroy all guns, so you must be talking about gun control. So the solution is to give one group of people (police) more guns to make sure all the other groups (we the people) don't have guns? Given the policy brutality at the occupy protests, I don't think that's a policy liberals should support.

  • Wscholl

    First off, real fully automatic AK-47 assault rifles are very tightly regulated in this country and have been since 1934 ( look up National Firearms Act of 1934 for details). On top of that, they cost a minimum of $15,000 on the market these days. So i'm assuming you're referring to semi-automatic AK clones available to the public today.

    A better question would be why shouldn't ordinary citizens be allowed to own AK-47's. They're semi-automatic, and function no differently than any other, more PC looking semi-automatic rifle on the market today. The only difference is they look intimidating. And once you cut past all the emotion, that's the only reason people scream for AK-47's and other so called assault weapons to be banned. It's not like these type of firearms are used often in crime, they're not. According to the FBI, more than twice as many people were murdered with bare hands and feet than with rifles in 2009. And that's all rifles combined, not just so called assault weapons.

  • I don't think anyone is asking to take away Second Amendment rights. Nobody
    said that. Anywhere.

  • Wscholl

    People in the city should have the same second amendment rights as everyone else does. Besides, big city gun laws don't work, that should be obvious at this point. Look at Washington D.C. They had a complete ban on handguns until a few years ago, yet handguns were still used in the vast majority of homicides. The Districts murder rate has since dropped a further 25% since the ban was struck down. I'm not saying the ban being struck down is the sole cause of the drop, but it isn't hurting either.

  • Aaron, thank you! It's not getting enough attention.

  • Shared! Amazing work by Rachel.

  • Shared! Amazing work by Rachel.

  • What do "white people" have to do with it? Very telling comment. Us against
    them. If you represent gun owners, we're all in a lot of trouble.

    This is about DEAD people and dead businesses as a result of the NRA buying
    influence with lawmakers. This is about the lack of security an safety
    because of rampant gun use. Did you watch the video? Why would an ordinary
    citizen need an AK 47?

  • Anonymous

    It's a good start. at least have the option for city governments to pass their own gun laws and you can keep yours.

  • Anonymous

    It's a good start. at least have the option for city governments to pass their own gun laws and you can keep yours.

  • Wscholl

    So, we white people in the suburbs and countryside should have to give up our guns because the inner city minority youth can't seem to stop shooting each other? Yeah ok.

  • t w

    I grew up in that neighborhood, and everything shown there was completely true. I have since left PA for obvious reasons, but the NRA has no desire to change any of their rulings. They love to see segments like the one on Rachel's show. The NRA would love nothing more than to have all of the guns they sent into our neighborhoods be used to kill all of our people. That is there goal. It is no coincidence that the NRA was formed only a few years after the Civil War ended. For the NRA Homewood is a success story, and the only way things could change is if the politicians would stand up to that special interest group and do what's best for all of society not just a few people who profit from death. But since they have been around for 140 years growing in power each year clearly that's not going to happen. I can imagine that things might change if gun violence reached white neighborhoods in ways that it has reached African American neighborhoods, but we won't know how the government will react to that until it happens.

    It's funny that people's second amendment rights were perfectly fine without the NRA, I wonder how much they would be in jeopardy now if we got rid of the power of the NRA today. The second amendment can exist without the NRA.

  • This is why the GOP gets the label of liars and reprobates, because they pretend that what's happening in communities like this isn't helped with responsible gun laws. The only thing that would help a community like this is gun control. And frankly, their argument would be as ridiculous as arguing that flying an airplane should be an activity free of licensing and testing. If you are wielding a machine which can end the lives of others, you should damn well have to prove you are a responsible citizen, who knows how - and is required by law - to use it responsibly.