So we know the age, height, family background, sexual perversions, academic achievements and probably eye color and shoe size of the vicious demented gunmen who added to the loathsome legacy of mass shootings in America. A thrown-together paperback of the life and times of this high IQ, most likely mentally ill, but still able to purchase deadly armaments at will, mass murderer, is sure to follow in the next few months. His Forest Gump visage is the most circulated image in the world.
I want to talk about another punk, always lurking in the background, wiping the blood off the National Rifle Association in every such incident since taking office in 1991 – Wayne LaPierre. As NRA Executive Vice-President, he was part of the upper management team that decided it was a great idea to go full steam ahead with the NRA’s annual meeting in Denver about 10 days after the Columbine obscenity just down the road.
LaPierre also spends every waking hour tossing out ‘seize your guns’ panic seeds for the gun-paranoids to peck on.
But first some stats. Americans own well over a quarter of a billion guns. Twice as many men ‘personally’ own guns as women. A 2011 Gallup poll tells us that 47% of households have a gun somewhere on the property. Southerners and Republican’s pack the most hardware. I’m stunned. They use most of these guns for hunting, gleefully blasting fatal cavities into the 200 million of God’s defenseless creatures felled each year by the “life created by God is so precious” crowd.
These guns are also used to kill people – bunches of them; around 30,000 per year, including 13,000 homicides and 16,000 suicides in 2010. In 2007, it was 17,300 troubled souls who pointed guns at the most vulnerable points of their bodies and pulled the trigger. So, in a decade around 300,000, maybe many more, Americans have lost their lives to guns.
So there you have the proud statistics of our societies mass murdering of its own tribe. This blood-lust is overseen by the 2012 version of ‘Big Brother’ from George Orwell’s iconic novel, 1984, the aforementioned LaPierre.
Mostly, it’s been LaPierre, front and center, smeared with the blood on NRA hands. He’s not naive; he’s not stupid having attained an MA in Government from Boston College. In addition to his NRA duties, LaPierre has cleverly served on the board of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, all the better to direct attention away from the controversy over needless gun deaths and absurd NRA support of veritable weapons of mass destruction.
A new and extremely powerful voice was added to the NRA ruling roster last year and few of you have ever heard of him. His name is David A. Keene and he’s risen through the ranks of the NRA board to become its new President. He succeeded Ron Schmeitz in early 2011. Schmeitz only lasted two years and was replaced by a Romney guy. That guy, Keene, is as powerful in far right circles as you get.
A top DC lobbyist, Keene had been at the helm of the American Conservative Union for well over a quarter of a century. The same ACU LaPierre was involved with over the years as political consultant to its board of directors. You don’t get more extreme right than the American Conservative Union. The likes of Bolton and Norquist are on its board. As ACU Chairman, Keene oversaw the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conservagasm every year. Along with an NRA endorsement, if you aspire to right-wing higher office and if you want the blessings and money from the conservative power-base, you’d better show up and as importantly, address the CPAC audience.
Keene has been a long-time Romney supporter, going back to Mitt’s first unsuccessful run at the Republican presidential nomination back in ’08. Is Keene’s rise to the top within the NRA that parallels the current Romney presidential effort purely coincidental? Hardly! It’s a blatant move to lock in the roughly 4 million NRA votes for Romney.
Are you sitting down, NRA members? Because what I’m about to reveal to you is going to knock you on your collective asses (careful that 9mm in your pants pocket doesn’t go off). You’re being played, dudes! Keene and LaPierre don’t give a flying fudgesicle about your guns and most especially, about you. You’re a voting bloc SUCKA’s. That it; end of story. They just want to make sure you keep humping your guns and voting Republican, most especially for Republican, Romney.
LaPierre skims about $1 million bucks of your dues off the top for keeping you all hopped up about that 3AM Obama knock.
The NRA is extremely right-wing. Ergo, they want their kind in office. Keene’s also a big management cheese with Carman Group Lobbying. That’s where he gets his real money, probably well north of a million per. Speaking of CGL, the National Rifle Association doesn’t even rate a mention on the Carman Internet site. Healthfirst does. They peddle low-cost health insurance plans in New York State. And the Greater New York Hospital Association is on the client list as well as GenOn Energy. GenOn uses coal, oil and natural gas to generate wholesale electricity. Gee, I wonder what they’d want to lobby about? Then there’s PartNet, heavy into government eCommerce and defense contracting.
Keene might have been only too willing to change horses after a high-profile controversy centering on ACU’s backing of either Fed Ex or UPS in a legislative dust-up involving unions. The whole distasteful mess is too long to rehash here, but its worth looking up on the net to get a feel for the kind of fellow who tippy-toes the narrow shaded gray path between ethics and strong-arm tactics.
As for the political demagoguery of the NRA, it can be overcome by electing Democrats who truly respect life and will legislatively tell that bang, bang minority to go back to the incredible bravery of shooting squirrels and doves and all that other dangerous game and forget about those full-auto video-game fantasies.
Individuals with a life-affirming, reasonable approach to gun ownership and regulations far outnumber the callous cluelessness of the NRA gun-goobers. You just don’t bother to vote. So there are more than a few drops of community claret on your consciences as well.