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“The Madness Of Wayne LaPierre”: Will NRA Members Suffer The Consequences Of His Racism And Paranoia?

If you’re looking for a sure fire recipe to boost gun sales, there’s nothing like putting a heavy dose of paranoia, along with a large dollop of racist fear mongering, into the atmosphere to get the job done—and NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre has certainly done his part.

In an op-ed published Wednesday by The Daily Caller , LaPierre twisted more than a few facts while arguing that the world is hell and attempting to navigate your way through it without a semi-automatic weapon at your side can only be perceived as sheer madness.

However, the true madness would appear to rest within the mind of Wayne LaPierre.

To make his central point that guns are a must in this terrifying inferno we call America, LaPierre treats us to the following—

“During the second Obama term, however, additional threats are growing. Latin American drug gangs have invaded every city of significant size in the United States. Phoenix is already one of the kidnapping capitals of the world, and though the states on the U.S./Mexico border may be the first places in the nation to suffer from cartel violence, by no means are they the last.”

While there is much in that paragraph to respond to, my attention was particularly grabbed by LaPierre’s effort to raise the specter of kidnapping run amuck, knowing full well that nothing frightens people more than the image of someone coming into their home and taking away a loved one. It is an effective use of imagery—despite being wholly dishonest in its use—that makes a meaningful contribution to both the art of fear mongering and spreading apprehension through the employment of racial stereotyping.

While it is absolutely true that there has been an unusually high number of kidnappings in the city of Phoenix, things are not exactly as LaPierre would have us believe.

In 2008, when Phoenix was experiencing the peak of its kidnapping troubles, Mark Spencer—head of the union that represents more than 2,500 Phoenix police officers—noted, “In the past year, there were 359 kidnappings in Phoenix, and not one was legitimate involving a truly innocent victim…”

In other words, the kidnappings were not the result of a scenario where bad guys were invading the homes of the good guys and stealing away their children. Rather, these were bad guys in a battle with other bad guys—bad guys whom Mr. LaPierre apparently wants to ensure are adequately armed so that they can defend themselves in the internal wars that occur in the business of illegal immigration.

This is like arguing in an op-ed piece that the public has an interest in insuring that the Bugs Moran Gang be better armed so that they can more effectively protect themselves from the attacks of Al Capone.

And then there is this paragraph from Mr. LaPierre’s piece

“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.”

Pretty scary, yes?

The problem is that LaPierre’s hellish, New York City landscape doesn’t quite jive with the actual data.

From the New York Daily News

“Murders citywide dropped 86% from Monday, when the hurricane hit, to Friday, compared with the same time frame in 2011, NYPD statistics show. The city has also seen a slump in robberies. There were 211 this past week, compared with 303 in the same block of days last year – a 30% decline. Grand larcenies are down 48%, auto thefts are down 24% and felony assaults dropped 31%, department figures show.”

Because there was some looting in certain areas of the city where store fronts were ripped wide open, there were 271 burglaries in the five-day period following the storm compared to 267 the previous year.

Not exactly the scene straight out of hell as described by Wayne LaPierre nor one that warranted New Yorkers locking and loading en masse to deal with the horrors that enveloped them.

The paranoid op-ed piece goes downhill from there in a tone that resembles something more akin to what one might expect to be the manifesto of a madman holed up in a cabin in the woods planning to wreak his revenge on a dangerous world that just doesn’t understand him. It certainly is not the sort of rationally constructed editorial that one would hope to find in a credible publication.

Make no mistake. I fully appreciate and acknowledge the desires and concerns of Americans—and everyone else in the world—when it comes to protecting their homes and families. And if owning a firearm is what an individual believes is required to accomplish that protection, such is his or her right.

I also acknowledge that my own opinion on gun ownership is largely without relevance as it is the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution that gives Americans their rights in this regard, subject to legal and legitimate restrictions that may be placed on such ownership, and most certainly not my thoughts on the topic. The Supreme Court has made the parameters of gun ownership more than clear—and those parameters are fairly expansive.

What I do not appreciate—nor should any American appreciate—is LaPierre’s efforts to spread fear and racism under the guise of protecting the 2nd Amendment when all he is really doing is playing the part the gun manufacturers have assigned him as they seek to perpetuate the gold rush that has produced record-setting gun sales in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

Wayne LaPierre knows that no matter how many times he says it —or what method he may choose to scare the wits out of those who might become customers for the gun makers—there is not a shred of evidence that President Obama—or anyone else in the federal government who has anything to say about it—has any interest in ‘taking away the guns’.

Wayne LaPierre knows that even if there were a glimmer of expectation on the part of anyone with the power to ‘take away the guns’ that they could do so, it is a virtual impossibility given that the Supreme Court has well established an American’s right to own a firearm. The only way this happens is a complete rejection of the law of the land by our government, something LaPierre apparently does not fear as he notes in his op-ed piece, “Gun owners are not buying firearms because they anticipate a confrontation with the government. Rather, we anticipate confrontations where the government isn’t there—or simply doesn’t show up in time.”

Do you know what else Wayne LaPierre knows?

He knows that the only legislation moving through Congress is limited to banning the sale of certain semi-automatic weapons (not taking away any that are currently owned) just as he knows that this legislation has absolutely no chance of passing.

LaPierre also knows that the only possible changes we may see in gun laws will involve increased background checks for potential gun purchasers—a move that is widely supported not only by an overwhelming number of Americans but by a large majority of those who form the membership of the NRA. He knows this because he can read the polls as easily as I can—polls that leave little room for doubt.

A recent Quinnipiac Poll found that 92 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun buyers, including 91 percent of those living in homes with a gun. The January, 2013 Pew survey reports 85 percent of Americans—and 85 percent of gun owners—want all private gun sales and sales at gun shows to be subject to background checks. The CBS/New York Times poll conducted in January, 2013 had similar results, showing that 92 percent of Americans, including 85 percent of those living in a household with an NRA member, are in favor of universal background checks.

But Wayne LaPierre doesn’t care because background checks are bad for business—And Mr. LaPierre is all about the business of selling guns.

Despite knowing all these things, LaPierre could not resist spreading his message of fear with undertones of racism even in the face of knowing that the membership of the NRA will end up having no beef with the likely legislative outcome of our most recent discussion on guns.

Of course, there may be another explanation for LaPierre’s despicable behavior.

Maybe he is no longer capable of grasping these bits of information and demonstrations of reality because he’s been at this so long that he no longer can deal with facts and realities. Maybe all Wayne LaPierre has left is his hellish vision of his country.

Either way, LaPierre has become a liability to the membership of the National Rifle Association.

Gun owners have every interest in protecting the rights granted us all by the 2nd Amendment. But doing so by spreading fear, xenophobia and racial hatred is not going to get the job done and will only serve to hurt the members of the NRA in the long run. While the NRA is today one of the most effective lobbying organizations in America—if not the most effective—they now risk seeing their powers stripped away by LaPierre’s decision to lead the organization down the path of racism and paranoia rather than standing up for what the organization was intended to be—a place for gun owners to come together to sensibly and rationally protect and defend their Second Amendment rights.

While much of the media focus today is centered around the damage LaPierre is doing to the Republicans—the political party long viewed as the primary political ally of the NRA—if I were a NRA member, my concern would not be for the GOP but for the continued viability of my own organization.

If the NRA allows LaPierre to continue as their leader, they may well be writing the script for their own demise.


By: Rick Ungar, Op-Ed Contributor, Forbes, February 14, 2013

February 17, 2013 - Posted by | Guns, National Rifle Association | , , , , , , ,

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