Who Are You, Wayne LaPierre?
Thank you for your open invitation to email comments to you. i want to address you, not as the EVP of the NRA but as Wayne LaPierre, the man. You appear in your recent statement to continue to take the NRA position that always advocates more guns, because the NRA is not so much an advocate for gun owners as it is a shill for the gun manufacturing industry. I want to know if your statements are what your job demands or what you personally believe.
Let me introduce myself. I am a religious pacifist who has never so much as touched a gun, unless you include the toys that my mother objected to when I was a child. Nonetheless I do not question the right of sane, responsible people from owning firearms.
Freedom must be matched by responsibility and, in the case of guns, that means there must be limits on the manufacture, sale, ownership, and use of firearms. This balance of freedom and responsibility is a basic underpinning of society. I could write at length about particular aspects of the relevant issues, but I doubt you would be interested in those arguments. You have seen them all before.
I do not believe that the NRA represents the good of our nation and possibly not even the opinions of its own members. The NRA exists to promote the sale of guns of all kinds. To do so it has promoted a climate of fear – fear that the government will take away everyone’s guns, fear that every person is in need of personal protection with deadly force, and even fear that our government will become a tyranny and will have to be put down. These fears are based on fantasies. No one is coming to take away 300 million guns. Few people, even trained police, can effectively use firearms when under attack. The people who fear the government are the hundreds of right-wing armed groups that exist in this nation today are living with a very ugly fantasy. BTW I have met several people who have helped oust tyrants like Marcos, Charles Taylor, and the Communist regimes in such nations as Poland and Czechoslovakia without violent means. Gandhi and King are not exceptions. There are many others like them who have succeeded in freedom struggles. No guns were used or needed.
I believe it is the fantasies and the fear they provoke that is the underlying problem. Nancy Lanza, a sane and well-educated person, bought her weapons because she feared that the US economy will collapse and that one must be ready to use violent force in ones defense if that happens. She taught her son, who was obviously very disturbed, how to use these weapons, probably so he could protect himself under that scenario. The NRA bears a lot of responsibility for her mindset and her actions, which, in the end, resulted in her own death at her son’s hands.
Mr. LaPierre you are in a unique position to do something about this. I use the word “unique” in its exact sense. You are the one person who could do the most to promote reasonable reforms and to express what is fantasy and what is real. No one else could do it as well as you could. Yes, the NRA might fire you for doing so, but that would make them look wrong and would make you look courageous, which you would deserve.
So I ask, “who are you?” Are you the shameless and unscrupulous huckster who promotes unfettered access to all kinds of guns and ammunition and nothing more? Or are you a man with a conscience and a heart that knows his job has created a situation that makes gun violence a national plague? Do you have the courage to stand up for common sense? Do you have the guts to tell the nation that the NRA promotes and subsidizes violence for profit? What kind of man are you?
Rabbi Philip J Bentley