Now that so many Americans carry weapons when they go out of the home, shooting incidents can occur anywhere, including very commonly the road. Another recent incident: In Pensacola, Florida, in October a man in a Jeep Cherokee cut off another car. A roadway confrontation followed, the two cars stopped, and the Jeep owner emerged to shoot the other driver in the knee. He was arrested this past week.

In these cases, and thousands like them each and every year, it is not so clear who is the “good guy” exercising responsible self-protection and who is the “bad guy” who can only be deterred by an armed citizen.

But the guns in their hands protected exactly nobody. They turned ordinary altercations into murderous exchanges of fire. They brought wounds, death and criminal prosecution where otherwise there would likely only have been angry words or at worst, black eyes.

LaPierre’s offers a vision of American society as one unending replay of the worst scenes in Charles Bronson’s 1974 vigilante classic, “Death Wish.”