creative commons license Maarten Takens
Cleaning house is important, always and in every context especially when said house in one of the most controversial issues in American politics. In fact, it is an issue that goes way beyond politics and practically divides the American people into two groups – the gun right supports and the gun control supporters.
On such an important issue, it is highly important to have an immaculate house, so to speak so that nothing diverts the conversation to places that are unnecessary and damaging to the cause. In cleaning house, one needs too look at their house with a critical eye to make sure no pictures are crooked on the wall, and no dust has accumulated under the carpet and that there are no spider webs in the corners.
Since the NRA is now the biggest and most powerful lobby in U.S Politics every single aspect of its management and conducts should be looked over with a magnifying glass by its supporters and members to make sure nothing is amiss, thus keeping all eyes on the ball instead of on the spiderwebs in the corners.
Yesterday I read what I thought was a really important column by Mark Blazis in the Sports Telegram about the NRA, and whether you agree with what I am saying or with what Mark Blazis is saying it is worth reading.
Among other things, many positive Mark says about the NRA, he also says:
Some argue the organization has contributed significantly to the divisiveness hurting America today. Power can feed on itself and grow out of control. With power should come reason, moderation, restraint and beneficence, but the NRA sees the world as largely black and white. You’re with us, or you’re against us.
This struck very true with me. I am not American but have a great interest (as you might have noticed) in the gun rights issue, and I have noticed that among the outspoken, there are no shades of grey. You can’t be pro gun rights to a certain point. Either you are 100% pro or evil. There is no middle ground, where in reality there are as many shades of grey as there are people and black and white are no more relevant than the shades of grey.
Speaking of spiderwebs:
The NRA has evolved into an enormous nonprofit business. Reportedly taking in annual revenues of $205 million from American hunters and shooters, the NRA has become the most powerful lobbying group in America. The American Institute of Philanthropy reports that NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre’s salary was $970,300, and Kayne Robinson, the executive director of general operations, is reported to have a base salary of $1,027,217. The U.S. president, by comparison, earns $400,000 a year. It pays to inflame us hunters and shooters.
I had to read those figures several times over. It blew me away that a the CEO of a non profit organization makes nearly double the salary of the president of the United states. I think it is preposterous. How is that non profit? (I am not insinuating that they don’t have a hard job, nor that they do it badly but I think those figures are screaming for reevaluation. The strongest point he made was this:
A powerful executive in the gun industry, one who deals with radicals on both sides of firearms issues, said on condition of anonymity that, “Sensible gun laws aren’t likely any time soon. There are too many paychecks depending on unresolved conflict.”
There may be just too much money and power at stake for reason to prevail in the foreseeable future.
How do we stop the vitriol and get sensible gun laws? Antigun-rights forces need to understand unequivocally that Second Amendment rights must never be taken away, and that the basis for gun violence is not guns, but all the elements that cause social problems — poverty, ignorance, criminality and mental illness. These complex problems can’t be solved by just outlawing firearms.
And sportsmen need to understand that in addition to Second Amendment gun rights, these very same elements must be addressed if we’re to truly ever have safety and freedom in America. That means support of education, health care, and other social efforts that effectively diminish crime and violence.
Since NRA has managed to bring to light the importance of the 2nd Amendment to the American people, and most of the American people agree with that, it might be time to turn the energy expended on persuading people of its importance to finding away to meet the other-side in a sane place by changing the tone of the conversation.