Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA), was all over the place today on Fox News Sunday. It started with Chris Wallace asking LaPierre what he thinks of the White House released photo depicting President Obama skeet shooting at Camp David and the president’s statement that he “respects hunting.”
LaPierre didn’t even make an attempt to actually respond to Wallace’s question. He sidestepped the question completely and went straight to capitalizing on the fear and paranoia of the right wing gun community. He pointed out that the Obama campaign said the same thing during the 2012 election: “we’re not going to take away your rifle, shotgun, handgun.” He held up a flyer that he said the Obama campaign “leaflifted [sic] the country with flyers like this ‘Obama’s not gonna take your gun, Obama will protect gun rights. And now he’s trying to take away all three.”
Wallace pointed out that the president is “not taking away shotguns.”
LaPierre countered. Sort of. He actually said that law-abiding people are fearful of a universal registry. And why is that, LaPierre? It couldn’t be that it’s because YOU and your organization are planting this little seeds, could it?
“Have you looked at the, have you looked at the Feinstein bill that he supporting?” LaPierre asked. “I mean…that’s exactly what it does. I mean…I think that what they’ll do is they’ll turn this universal check on the law abiding into a universal registry of law-abiding people, and law-abiding people don’t want that. I mean, my God that’s the last thing they want.”
LaPierre was referring to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s [D-CA] bill to ban assault rifles…and…I guess…Obamacare. (???)
And I guess that he’s saying that law-abiding citizens don’t want laws.
Wallace, however, called him out on the lack of logic behind his argument (how stupid does LaPierre think we is???). Is this kook attempting to make serious decisions based on what he “thinks?”
“Forgive me, sir, but you take something that is here and you say it’s going to go all the way over there,” Wallace said, essentially defining slippery slope for LaPierre. Wallace continued. “There’s nothing that anyone in the administration’s said that indicates they’re going to have a universal registry.”
In another (lame and obvious, at least to a person with a triple digit IQ) attempt to go off-topic, LaPierre threw up Obamacare as a spectacular red herring. Yes, really….Obamacare!
“And Obamacare wasn’t a tax until they wanted it to be a tax.”
Wallace, quick on the draw this morning (put totally intended), pointed out another fact that appears to be unknown to LaPierre.
“It was the Supreme Court that said that,” the Fox News host said.
LaPierre essentially gave up offering valid reasoning.
“I don’t think you can trust these — I, I, I mean my gosh, Dianne Feinstein said, ‘If we could go door to door and pick ‘em up, I’d do it,’” he said.
He then asked Wallace politely, “Can I talk about what would work, for just one second?”
Wallace replied that he had a couple of questions to ask first, and reminded LaPierre who was boss:
“Forgive me, sir, but I’m going to conduct the interview.”
Wallace attempted to explain to LaPierre the reason for people’s frustration.
“One of the things that concerns people, it seems every day we we talk about a shootings and often times mass shootings day after day after day. And the frustration is you don’t think that answering — that limiting guns has anything to do with that.”
As Wallace was saying this, LaPierre nodded his head gravely with a bereaved look on his face. His acting ability is on par with his grasp of logical fallacies.
Wallace mentioned Chris Kyle, a former Navy Seal murdered yesterday in Texas at a gun range, who is “credited with the largest number of confirmed kills of any American soldier ever.”
LaPierre decided to just ignore that and move to the beat of his own drum.
“If you wanna stop violence in this country, here’s what you do. First if you want to protect our kids, you put armed security in schools. I’m not talking about arming teachers, I’m talking about police officers and I’m talking about certified professional security people.”
Wallace pointed out that killers aren’t just targeting schools though….anddddddd LaPierre breezed through that and made his way to the mental health system. He then suggested a (probably undesirable by everyone) mental health database. “We’ve emptied our institutions and they’re out there walking in the streeet” and “We need to get them into institutions.”
Well, there’s a lot of truth to that. But we began emptying our mental institutions many years ago. So is institutionalizing mentally ill people a solution? Well it wouldn’t HURT, I suppose, but we have the same issue now that we had when the linked article was published in 1984:
”Drugs can help people get back to the community,” he said, ”but they have to have medical care, a place to live and someone to relate to. They can’t just float around aimlessly.”
Dr. Ewalt said the 1963 act was supposed to have the states continue to take care of the mentally ill but that many states simply gave up and ceded most of their responsibility to the Federal Government.
”The result was like proposing a plan to build a new airplane and ending up only with a wing and a tail,” Dr. Ewalt said. ”Congress and the state governments didn’t buy the whole program of centers, plus adequate staffing, plus long-term financial supports.” (Source: New York Times, 1984)
So….is LaPierre, unintentionally of course, because he’s ignorant, suggesting that we need to spend more on….healthcare? But didn’t he already criticize Obamacare in this interview about guns? Ok, I’ll try to stay on track. Which is more than he’s capable of.
Wallace pointed out the (many) contradictions. LaPierre called gun control a “form of government tyranny” at one point, but spoke of it differently in the Senate hearing last week. He said that people need guns because they’re afraid of not having government assistance and are worried about:
“being abandoned by their government if a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs, that they’re going to be out there alone and the only way they’re going to protect themselves in the cold, in the dark, when they’re vulnerable is with a firearm.”
To which Chris Wallace asked “How stupid do you think we is????” Not exactly that, but that’s a translation that works.
So LaPierre’s composure deteriorated and he digressed into discussing the Taliban, scooping up gang members and getting them into prisons, a federal task force of 1,000 agents into Chicago, Eric Holder, Rahm Emmanuel, etc…
And then, as if it could get any worse, Wallace hit him hard with Justice Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling (DC v. Heller) that the Second Amendment is limited. Wallace pointed out that in the majority opinion, Scalia stated what kinds of weapons can be bought, who can buy them, and where they can be carried. Scalia specifically said that the right to bear arms is “not unlimited.”
And LaPierre went back to talking about crime rate in Chicago, and again…completely ignored Wallace and refused to even acknowledge the Scalia screenshot.
He then declared that automatic weaponry is about “survival.”
“If you limit the American public’s access to semi-automatic technology, you limit their ability to survive,” LaPierre said.
“The most basic right is to protect yourself,” LaPierre said. “Semi-automatic technology’s been around for 100 years. If you limit the American public’s access to semi-automatic technology, you limit their ability to survive. If someone’s invading your house, I mean, you shouldn’t say you can have only five or six shots. You ought to have what you need to protect yourself, a woman should. Not what some politician thinks is reasonable.”
But well….I thought it was hurricanes and tornadoes. And avoidance of government tyranny. Anyhow.
Ugh. My own mind is numb from listening to this guy. People in the right wing blogosphere are agitated today and they think that the NRA just needs to get a better and more articulate spokesperson. I guess. That’s assuming, however, that they can find anyone coherent enough to talk to the media on an intelligent level. I think that Wayne LaPierre is the best guy for the job. I don’t believe anyone else can so smoothly evade questions and throw up fallacies while still keeping a straight face.
Watch it all here.
I am an unapologetic member of the Christian Left, and have spent a lot of time working with “the least of these” and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. I’m passionate about their struggles. To stay on top of topics I discuss, subscribe to my public updates on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me via LinkedIn. I also have a grossly neglected blog. Find me somewhere and let’s discuss stuff.