Well, it’s that time of year again. The NRA convention trots out good old Wayne LaPierre, bearer of fear and paranoia, to whip up the crowd and make everyone want to go right out to buy a gun to protect themselves from all of the evilness out there. It’s mostly in the form of Democrats and those silly liberal gun violence prevention activists. We are a scary bunch for sure. We’re coming for their guns but just haven’t figured out how to find out where they are and how we would get them.
Never mind. They say we’re still coming. It’s going to be Armegeddon for sure. Or maybe a Civil War. That would be fun.
And for the first time in history, a sitting President addressed the convention for the 3rd time ( once as a candidate). Does anyone remember when the President sat in a room in the White House assuring victims and survivors after the Parkland shooting that he would do something about the epidemic of gun violence? Yes. He said he would. And then he taunted politicians about their fear of the NRA. What’s to be afraid of anyway?
Let’s watch what the President said and then reflect on the 180 degree turn around after spending time with NRA leaders:
We are talking about the lives of our children. Such hypocrisy and disingenuous ( and even lies) are disturbing to say the least. We are better than this.
Trump also believes (in his speech to the NRA) that the NRA just loves the country. Take a look:
“This is a great organization that loves this country,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Dallas. “The NRA is a truly great organization that loves this country. And we have a record crowd.”
This is Trump’s fourth consecutive address to the NRA’s annual meeting, but his first remarks to the group since the tragic Parkland, Florida, high school shooting that left 17 dead and sparked a national student-led push for gun law reform.
“The world is watching and we’re going to come up with a solution,” Trump assured a group of people affected by the nation’s deadliest school shootings during an emotional White House listening session one week after the attack.
Not true. Trump will NOT come up with a solution. He’s lying. Neither will the country loving NRA. They have shown us time after time that they don’t care about the lives lost. Remember when Charleston Heston went to the NRA convention in Denver right after the Columbine shooting? I do. So do the victims and survivors of that shooting. You can see his famous remarks:
Back to the meeting the President had with victims and survivors- He suggested a few good measures that would actually save lives and prevent some of those victims and survivors from having to advocate for preventing devastating shootings. What happened? The NRA came calling. And soon enough, Trump stopped talking about preventing shootings and was back to his bluster and hypocrisy.
And does it make any sense at all for the President to carry on at the convention so soon after all of the talk about gun violence in light of so many recent mass shootings? Here are a few of his ludicrous remarks:
Mr. Trump, as he has in the past, made the case for arming teachers, and getting rid of gun-free zones.
He also mourned the Parkland shooting victims.
“Our entire nation was filled with shock and grief by the monstrous attack on a high school in Parkland, Florida,” Mr. Trump said. “We mourn for the victims and their families.”
WHAT? Come on.
Back to the NRA convention, the crowd got a double barreled pleasure since VP Pence also showed up. Have you ever seen Pence with a gun by the way? Does he even hunt? I don’t know if he has much in the line of gun creds but he sure has been cozy with the NRA.
And neither does Trump. But what they do have is Republican extremism and that’s what the NRA is all about today.
They are not your grandfather’s NRA. They are all about fear and terror:
You don’t have to be a media critic to parse the message: The NRA was casting virtually everyone but gun-owning conservatives as enemies of the state, seemingly encouraging its audience to arm themselves against their fellow Americans. Women’s March Co-President Tamika Mallory, a single black mother from New York, published an open letter on the group’s web site calling on the NRA to take the video down. “The video you sponsored,” she wrote, “suggests armed violence against communities of color, progressives, and anyone who does not agree with this administration’s policies.”
“I’m here to tell you: Not a chance,” replied Grant Stinchfield, Loesch’s angry-white-male counterpart, in an NRA TV video that called Mallory out by name, along with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson. “We don’t apologize for warning America about chaos creators who want to impose their will upon us through their violence and lies.”
Dana Loesch, NRA TV personality and spokeswoman for fear, will be talking at the NRA convention. She represents the new face of the NRA since it has become an extremist organization. From the linked article:
The NRA of Loesch and Stinchfield would have been utterly unrecognizable to the organization’s membership as recently as 50 years ago. From its founding in 1871 throughout most of the twentieth century, the NRA was largely a firearms-safety and marksmanship-training organization. The NRA kept its members informed about legislation affecting gun owners, but it had no official lobbying arm, and it was a political nonentity. But with the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968, everything began to change.
Yes. And everything is beginning to chance the other way, at long last. Activists, including Victims groups will be visible and noisy outside of he NRA convention.
Carry Guard insurance, sold by the NRA, is now in trouble as well:
In a Wednesday announcement, the New York State Department of Financial Services said the NRA’s Carry Guard program “unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for certain acts of intentional wrongdoing,” and that the group solicited coverage to New York residents without a license from the state. Lockton, the world’s largest privately held insurance brokerage, has agreed to pay the state $7 million for the violations, and will terminate Carry Guard policies held by New Yorkers.
Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo described the conduct as “an egregious violation of public policy.” (…)
Following the February mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, Chubb disclosed that it had decided not to renew its contract to underwrite the program. Lockton also stated its intention to no longer act as broker and administrator for Carry Guard.
“It’s a major step back,” Peter Kochenburger, the executive director of the Insurance Law Center at the University of Connecticut Law School, told The Trace’s Mike Spies in February. “To keep this going, the NRA will have to find another insurance company to underwrite this. It’s hard to imagine another publicly traded company, or a company like State Farm, stepping in.”
It turns out that companies are not happy with the idea that they may have to pay out if some “good guy” with a gun shoots someone intentionally and gets away with it. I wonder why?
I wonder, by the way, if they will send Ted Nugent out to offend people? At least his images and some products with his name on them will be there.
Oh, and among the items featured on display at the shopping area of the convention is a gun that looks like a cell phone. I’m pretty sure I wrote about this before. But let’s marvel at the total lack of sensibility and common sense involved with this new weapon. What could possibly go wrong?
Does anyone remember the recent shooting of Stephon Clark?
What could possibly go wrong with a gun like this? I can’t even begin to enumerate how wrong this is.
Police officers, ever on the alert when they are in tense situations, have mistaken all kinds of common objects for guns. It seems ridiculous on its’ face but it’s America where just about anyone can own and carry a gun.
Also featured at the NRA convention is a gun free zone. No good guys with guns to protect the President and Vice President. What are they afraid of?
The Brady Campaign has a great new report out with a timeline about what the NRA has been up to in the past year. The report, titled “Fear and Fanaticism; a year like no other” is spot on. Given the number of horrendous mass shootings in the past year, setting a record of the number of deaths (Las Vegas) the country has had a deadly year. The report includes a list of some of the shootings and the response by the NRA.
There’s a new atmosphere out there after the Parkland shooting. The majority of Americans have found their voices and they are speaking out. For too long, people resistant to the extremes of the NRA have remained quiet. It’s easier that way because the trolls and critics pounce and it’s not pretty.
Not this time. There are many people like me at the NRA convention this year letting them know how we feel. We aren’t having their nonsensical rhetoric and their myths. And we are getting ready for the fall elections when the issue of gun safety reform will be front and center. Candidates will have to decide on whose side they stand. Preventing shootings and protecting our families from devastation really has no side. It’s a human and moral issue and part of our American values. It’s not about gun sales. It’s not about rights. It’s not about power and control. It’s not about money and influence.
It’s about our lives. That is why students and others came out in very large numbers to March For Our Lives events all over out country. They are not done yet. In fact, they have only begun and many will be voters in the mid-term elections.
It’s Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
I used the hashtag #NoRA but did not include the article referring to the latest effort against the powerful organization. A group of 100 celebrities and activists have sent a letter to Wayne LaPierre in which they have pledged to a series of actions to reduce the influence of the organization on politicians:
In an open letter to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, which was first obtained by TIME, the more than 100 members of the newly formed NoRA Initiative — short for No Rifle Association — pledge to reduce the NRA’s influence in American politics through a series of voter registration drives, nationwide art campaigns, demonstrations and boycotts. (…) She says the group has “surprises up our sleeves,” including for events timed to the NRA’s annual convention in Dallas May 3-6. “When like-minded people come together for the common good and for a cause they believe in,” Milano said, “they can move mountains.”
I look forward to the actions and to changing the influence of the corporate gun lobby’s money and influence that has led to inaction to save lives.