Earlier today, the new president of the NRA went on national television and tried to blame children being prescribed Ritalin as the culprit for our nation’s epidemic of mass shootings, simultaneously stigmatizing people who suffer from attention deficit disorder and completely absolving him and the lobby of bloodthirsty arms dealers he represents of any responsibility in ensuring that our nation does not pass any comprehensive gun legislation.
Oliver North appeared on the president’s personal propaganda network this morning and declared that “The problem that we’ve got is we’re trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease. And the disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence.”
North went on to say that “Nearly all of these perpetrators are male, and they’re young teenagers in most cases, and they’ve come through a culture where violence is commonplace. All we need to do is turn on a TV, go to a movie. If you look at what has happened to the young people, many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten. Now, I am certainly not a doctor; I’m a Marine. But I can see those kinds of things happening.”
It goes without saying that there is no link between attention deficit disorders or the pills that treat them and mass shooters; not being a doctor, North certainly isn’t qualified to make that analysis in the first place. The common perception that the majority of mass shooters suffer from any kind of mental illness is itself false; a study of 235 shootings found that only 22% of the perpetrators suffered from mental illness.
None of those facts mean anything to the National Rifle Association or their bought-and-paid-for Republican lapdogs in Congress, of course, who will literally blame inanimate objects like doors instead of recognizing the undeniable fact that America’s recklessly loose gun laws allow people to purchase deadly weapons and use them to carry out horrifying massacres.
David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland school massacre who became one of the nation’s most prominent gun reform activists, took to Twitter this evening to call out President North’s ridiculous assertions – and to throw some serious shade at the aging ghoul.
You know what else is a stimulent? The Cocaine that Oliver North helped bring into the US via his criminal support of the Contras in the 80s. https://t.co/bv60ahpwgq
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 20, 2018
I keep reading this and laughing. Just think about that the President of the NRA is a man that Illegally gave guns to terrorists. Like, think about that someone at the NRA legit had to say you know who would make a great president? This Gun Running felon from the 80s
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 20, 2018
Oliver North was the man at the center of President Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal, responsible for setting up a network to funnel the proceeds from illegal arms sales to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was engaged in a brutal war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (which we were also selling weapons to, one must add), to the murderous right-wing Nicaraguan death squads known as the Contras, who were waging a vicious insurgency against that country’s socialist government.
North would eventually be indicted on sixteen counts and convicted of three felonies for his role in the conspiracy, but since this is America and nothing bad ever happens to rich white men, he was pardoned by President Bush and carved out a spot for himself in the pundit class.
It is widely believed that the funneling of funds to the Contras included the profits from cocaine sales, which was then turned into crack cocaine and funneled into black communities in order to destroy social cohesion and keep them from organizing.
While there’s no hard evidence that North himself was involved in any drug-running, his efforts in supplying funds to the Contras certainly helped enable their extracurricular activities and contributed to the epidemic of drug addiction and gun violence that erupted in American inner cities during the 1980s and early 1990s – which makes his pronouncement today an infuriating hypocrisy.
Oliver North belongs in a cell in the Hague, not in charge of the nation’s biggest domestic terrorist organization.