Thoughts & Views: To the NRA: Here’s a battle you can join

Here’s a public service message to all those Second Amendment advocates from the National Rifle Association:

I respect your right to bear arms, although I certainly don’t think the framers of the Constitution had in mind the kind of heavy assault weapons we have seen deranged killers and terrorists have used to gun down their innocent victims.

Still, in light of what your leaders have said about the virtues of arming civilians – teachers, hospital workers and health aides, and whatever – so they can defend themselves against aggressors – here’s a suggestion I’d like to throw at you.

Instead of taking off on an expedition to rid the country of surplus wildlife – (which I mention only because several state governments do encourage thinning out overabundant bear populations, for example) – I recommend that NRA cadres consider organizing a campaign to dispatch units overseas to hunker down with U.S. and allied military detachments, say in Iraq or Afghanistan or Yemen or Liberia, and thin out some of those bad boys in the Islamic State, Boko Haram, etc.

Maybe Donald Trump could volunteer to be your standard-bearer. I don’t know if he’s trained in the use of firearms but I don’t doubt, from all his pronouncements at campaign appearances, and I take the man at his word, that he’ll be a willing apprentice and ready to lead the charge to recapture Mosul, among other places.

It certainly makes sense in the context of the NRA website’s fundraising vehicle, “Ring of Freedom,” which “is dedicated to building relationships with patriots who are seeking to secure the future of freedom.”

Well, to that end, here is an opportunity for members of the organization to bond as freedom fighters and battle the religious extremists who are looking to impose the Caliphate on all false believers, subjugate women, destroy antiquities and to off themselves and others for the greater glory of the next world.

Those forces of darkness sound like enemies of freedom to me so there’s a great target that should command the NRA’s attention in a novel way.

In his speech on terrorism on Sunday, President Obama said he was pinning his hopes on an “American-led” coalition of forces – in concert with an effort to negotiate a truce in Syria – as the path to victory over ISIL and I see no reason why trained NRA members shouldn’t rush to join the coalition and become real American heroes.

Don’t forget Zadroga 

And while they’re busy fighting the good fight, we Americans on the home front should be paying attention to a post-9/11 development that needs redress: Congressional extension of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010.

Named for the North Arlington resident/New York Police Department detective who spent 450 hours in the pit at ground zero in search and recovery efforts only to end up dead at age 34, which some medical experts attributed to his prolonged exposure to toxic dust at the former WTC site.

A fund established by the federal government to treat first-responders and survivors of the attack has made available $4.2 billion for medical care and compensation for injuries to more than 70,000 victims who responded to the WTC, Pentagon and crash site in Shanksville, Pa.

That account is reportedly expected to dry up by October 2016 unless Congress re-authorizes funding before then and Republican leaders in the Senate and the House have been threatening to turn off the spigot.

Consider a call and/or letter to your local Congressional representative reminding him/her of the moral imperative to replenish the fund to those who willingly gave so much of themselves to aid fellow Americans – without thought of creed or color.

We owe it to them.

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