- By Lt. Tim McMillan
NRA I Have a Crazy Idea. Do Your Job...Please!
There are rare occasions in one’s life where they happen to see someone who looks at something that a majority of people might consider engaging in to be a bad idea.
However, what appears to most of us to be hazardous or not worth it, in that person’s mind, they consider there to be only one logical response: “Hold my beer.”
Yesterday, after seeing this, now viral advertisement, narrated by Dana Loesch, for the nation’s largest political lobby, the National Rifle Association.
I have but only one logical response: “Hold my beer.”
First of all, to the NRA, I have a really novel idea: Do your f%&#ing job!
I apologize, that was a little harsh. How about this:
Dear NRA, could you please consider doing me a solid and actually engage in the very activities that your entire organization is supposed to be founded on?
Just to be specifically clear, my position on this commercial would be exactly the same regardless of what political party it was in support of. They could have had Hillary Clinton narrating this clip and it wouldn’t have changed my mind in the least. Because outside of all of the other things we can say about this 60-second clip, the one that causes me the most significant amount of bewilderment is, why is the NRA publishing this to begin with!?!?!?
Now, I have always assumed the NRA’s entire mission could be summed up as the advocacy for firearm rights for U.S. citizens. I understood that my assumption was a broad and simplistic definition of what the NRA represents in its entirety. However, I really felt like everything I’d ever known about the NRA truly revolved around gun rights.
Now, after I saw the Dana Loesch video, I thought to myself, “Self… Are you missing something?”
So, to make sure my understanding of the nonprofit organization was accurate, I headed over to take a look at what actually was the NRA’s formal Mission Statement. I discovered that the NRA’s Mission Statement is actually their NRA Bylaws Article II, so it's a little more in-depth than the typical one or two liner mission statement. Ok, so maybe indeed I wasn’t fully aware of the NRA’s overarching goals. However, here they are as expressed by the NRA:
To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially with reference to the inalienable right of the individual American citizen guaranteed by such Constitution to acquire, possess, collect, exhibit, transport, carry, transfer ownership of, and enjoy the right to use arms. (Shortened to reduce redundancy)
To promote public safety, law and order, and the national defense.
To train members of law enforcement agencies, the armed forces, the militia, and people of good repute in marksmanship and in the safe handling and efficient use of small arms.
To foster and promote the shooting sports, including the advancement of amateur competitions in marksmanship at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels. (Shortened to reduce redundancy).
To promote hunter safety, and to promote and defend hunting as a shooting sport and as a viable and necessary method of fostering the propagation, growth and conservation, and wise use of our renewable wildlife resources. (Shortened to reduce redundancy).
After reading all of the NRA’s Mission Statement/Bylaws, I realized that indeed the advocacy for firearm rights for U.S. citizens is an accurate summarization of the organization’s reason for existing. At least, their formally stated mission for existing. Which, brings me back to:
Dear NRA, Do your f#%&ing job! Because I cannot for the life of me understand why you would have produced and endorsed this video. At no point and time during the entire video is firearms mentioned, with the exception of when Ms. Loesch, who is the national spokeswoman for the NRA, says, “I am the National Rifle Association of America.” To be fair, the word “rifle” is contained within the name of the organization, so I can't give you that one. Basically, it’s a little hard to really suggests this video represents anything that has to do with guns or guns rights. It is this very fact that causes me to be so dumbfounded.
In dramatic fashion, for 60 seconds, Dana Loesch tears into the savagery of liberals in America and paints a portrait of their combined collaborative effort to destroy America. America will be reduced to a modern Sodom and Gomora in the eyes of an angry god if American’s don’t stand-up and fight this visceral band of liberal sinners with the “clenched fist of truth.”
Sooooooo, did I miss something? Is there a secret set of hidden Bylaws? Because don’t recall seeing one of the NRA’s goals of being “Protecting America from apocalyptic collapse by liberals.” I feel like I would definitely have remembered that one. So why is the NRA making videos like this? Seriously, all jokes aside… why?
Now, I get it. Gun control is overwhelmingly a policy issue of importance to Democrats. So indeed, I can see how supporting conservative politicians or the Republican Party as a whole would be advantageous for the NRA. Clearly, The NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA’s lobbying arm, and political action committee is a large and powerful component of the organization's operations. So, objectively, I can see how such a one-sided advertisement against liberals could be in the NRA’s wheelhouse. Expect, of course, the fact that the current United States Senate and Congress are under Republican control. Additionally, the executive branch is under the control of a Republican President. Lastly, the Supreme Court is dominated by a conservative majority of Justices. Essentially, the entire Federal government is under Republican control, so what more could you possibly want?!?! What could possibly be the good in making a video that goes after liberals?
Now, Ms. Loesch and the NRA can play coy all they want, but come on, it didn’t cross a single person’s mind during production that, after presenting a Mad Max future at the hands of rogue liberal Americans, and ending with the ominous warning that these heathens can only be stopped by the “CLENCHED FIST of truth,” that no one was going to interpret that as a tongue in cheek threat? Nobody thought that 60 seconds of doom, ending with the incitement of “fighting” wasn’t going to draw some people to have the conclusion that the NRA was provoking violence? I mean, can we go back to the part where the NRA’s entire living breathing purpose revolves around firearms?
Now, I am a supporter of firearm rights and individual gun ownership. Furthermore, I wouldn't classify myself as being liberal (or conservative for that matter). However, I’m not delusional to the fact that the fundamental purpose of the invention, engineering, and advancement of the firearm is centered on a device designed to cause death or destruction.
Seriously, I myself am the owner of an M4 semi-automatic rifle, that indeed, I have enjoyed shooting at a target range with. However, I’m not oblivious to the fact that the rifle was manufactured for the purpose of killing. This is not an
alternative fact; this is a historical fact. In 1988, the firearms manufacturer, Colt set out to develop a carbine rifle that could be an effective meeting point between the 20” barrel M16 rifle and the 11.5” barrel CAR-15 used in the Vietnam War. The result was the 14.5” M4 rifle. So that we are all clear, the Vietnam War, was not a marksmanship competition between the United States and Viet Cong.
My point is, can the NRA truly say that an organization designed for the protection of firearm rights and ownership, cannot have considered that sponsoring an ad that mentions nothing about firearms, only an ambiguous politically inspired civil war, wasn’t going to raise some eyebrows? Which, ultimately, brings me to my primary question and concern: Why isn’t the NRA doing their job as a firearms advocate, instead of producing basically what amounts to emotionally charged partisan softcore porn? Personally, I can think of some better ways to support gun ownership such as:
Not suddenly turning into Helen Keller over the death of Philando Castile. Why is the largest firearms advocacy organization in the entire world, not discussing Castile’s death in the context of how it can help support lawful gun owners, just like Castile? Why is the NRA not using his death as a wake-up call to come up with a nationally standardized method of how lawful gun owners should act when they come in contact with the police? Why are there not commercials, billboards, and flyers discussing the NRA’s new encouraged standard that drivers should keep both hands on their steering wheel when an officer approaches them and then immediately tell the officer they are armed, where the firearm is located, and to await further instructions from the police officer?
See, because I’m a police officer and I can say that Philando Castile shouldn’t have been shot and killed on July 6th, 2016. It isn’t even debatable, the testimony was recorded in open court by the officer and others that Castile was lawfully carrying a firearm and he did not reach for the weapon that evening. So why isn’t the NRA doing their part to protect lawful gun owners from something similar occurring to them? Why isn’t the NRA sponsoring and hosting training for law enforcement on how to deal with lawful gun owners? The NRA literally has had an entire division, that has existed for 57 years, dedicated solely to law enforcement programs. So why is the topic of improving and promoting safe interactions with law enforcement and gun owners not maybe something that the NRA deems bears a little discussion? The fact that Officer Yanez was not convicted in Castile’s death, should be the EXACT catalyst that should motivate the NRA to get involved in… ummmm… I dunno, firearm ownership advocacy. Because if Philando Castile was a lawful gun owner, who didn’t reach for his gun and the mere mention of a firearm sent a police officer into such fear that he had to shoot him; yet the officer was deemed in the court of law not to be guilty of a crime, are we not pondering that maybe something should be done to prevent it from happening again?
It would seem that safe and effective gun ownership, would indeed by the EXACT thing that the NRA would consider on the “Things of Importance." I mean you cannot tell me that effective gun advocacy would place safe and competent gun ownership would fall behind, political rhetoric. Especially, as I’ve already covered, IT’S UNNECCESARY!
In conclusion, I’ve stayed out of the actual discussion regarding the information shared in the video. We all know, it doesn’t take me to point out that the entire video makes the NRA look like a political ideologue, rather than a gun advocacy association. Instead, as a lawful gun owner, as a police officer, and as a citizen of the United States of America, I am merely respectfully asking you to do your f#@&ing job and leave all this cinematic mess alone… please.