It's unclear why the National Rifle Association decided to break its silence on the Newtown shooting on Tuesday afternoon. Maybe they finally mustered up the courage to face the public. Maybe they were doing some damage control, after the media realized that the official in-house radio show, NRA News, had been discussing the tragedy despite the organization's media black out. Maybe they just found the right words to say what they wanted to say, after four days of pondering. Regardless of the reasons, they must be having some second thoughts a few hours after the fact. Just check out the feedback on the NRA's newly active Facebook page.
Both sides of gun debate are out in full force, sometimes to a profane degree. Anybody who's ever managed a Facebook page will know that it's more or less impossible to properly moderate a comment thread when it gets too be reasonably active. And on Monday night, the post with the NRA's statement about Newtown was bringing in about a thousands comments an hour. The vitriol got so thick at one point that the NRA actually turned comments off, though they turned them back on which led to even more vitriol. If you're unconvinced, let's take a little gander at the Facebook comment thread, where you'll find representation of all kinds of crazy fringe groups. We threw a few tweets in there too, because angry commentators don't necessarily discriminate between platforms and neither should we.
The Conspiracy Theorists
Gun enthusiasts are quick to point out that the reason we have the right to bear arms is so that we can protect ourselves against enemies both foreign and domestic.
The Delusional Ones
It's hard to believe that anyone would suggest that people are celebrating the Newtown shootings. Well, at least one anti-liberal commenter on Facebook is! Another is convinced we're headed towards slavery.
The Gun Nuts… and the Anti-Gun Nuts
Some people just like guns. They like to hold them. They like to shoot them. They like to look at them in backlit gun cabinets. They like guns. Those on the other side feel just as strongly.
The NRA Haters
The majority of the comments on the NRA thread are in some way supportive of the right to bear arms. Like the anti-gun contingent that shows up to a gun show, the NRA's opponents are a vibrant bunch.
The NRA is a death cult without the cool wardrobe. #nra— Brian Norman (@theneverno) December 19, 2012
The Awful Comedians
Making jokes about guns right now is a really bad idea. That hasn't stopped people from trying, though.
@nra As a former teacher, I believe that, If teachers had assault weapons, there would be classroom massacres every day.— Ralph Mason (@pageaffairs) December 19, 2012
The NRA is finally reacting to Sandy Hook? Pretty slow on the trigger, guys.— Steve Marmel (@Marmel) December 19, 2012
The Reasonable Ones
Some people found a middle ground between abolishing guns completely risking some sort of end of America and regulating guns partially in order to minimize harm.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.