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Departures

Angus McQueen has died, Angus’s death really is the end of an era for NRA. I’ve always been of the opinion that NRA’s relationship with Ack-Mac had become an unhealthy one, but it’s hard to argue they didn’t have a huge impact on the organization and the direction. This is the end of an era, for sure. And should be a caution to Wayne’s apparent sense of indispensability: the cemeteries are filled with indispensable men, and Angus wasn’t much older than Wayne. The Board needs to be thinking about the future now. Not allowing it to be sacrificed so Wayne can bitterly cling on for a few more years.

I expected that ILA would have a brain drain when Chris was pushed out, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that Jennifer Baker has left NRA. Keeping in mind I haven’t really been talking to NRA people for several years now, so my first-hand experience is dated, but people who worked under Chris always seemed happier than people in other NRA divisions. I usually will take that to mean the boss is well-liked if I see it in an organization. No organization is perfect, but ILA always seemed to me to be pretty well run.

Gasoline and Matches

Good thing Japan has strict gun laws or someone might have gotten hurt. My chief argument against people who want to tighten up gun laws because of mass killing is: “OK, then what do we do when that doesn’t work, and we still have mass killings?” Because we will. You don’t need an AR-15 to kill a lot of people quickly. Tactics are a lot more important. Even with a bolt action rifle that only holds 5 rounds, the killer can still succeed if they adjust their tactics to match the capabilities of the weapon. So the idea that you ban this gun or that gun is not borne out by reality. Mass killings have been very successfully pulled off by trucks and explosives and even bladed weapons in countries that have strict gun laws and little cultural history of private gun ownership.

Clayton Cramer is working on a definitive work on the history of mass killing, and from what I’m hearing the history is extensive and pretty interesting. This is not a new phenomena. Mass killing is probably the number one threat to our rights, because it scares the politically powerful in ways that random crime does not. The politically powerful tend to be effectively insulated from random crime, whereas mass killings are more like lightning.

Except lightning kills about 50 people per year versus about 20 for mass shootings. People are generally pretty bad at assessing risk.

Can NRA Be Saved Without Being Destroyed?

Miguel asks a poignant question: “Can LaPierre be removed without destrying the NRA from the inside? Apparently nobody cares.”

For me pushing out Chris Cox and the committee purges that seem to be reaching well beyond the supposed Ack-Mac lead conspiracy is were where I part ways with the Wayne supporting crowd. But I do not think Wayne is a dictator, and I think change is possible from within if enough people can be convinced. I also do back Wayne to the extent that he’s really committed to righting the ship and not just covering up past misdeeds. But I do not view the late actions to be of righting the ship but instead vengeance.

We were told Ack-Mac lead an attempt to take over NRA. But how many of the Board members being removed from key committees have ties to Ack-Mac? Why is Julie Golob, who apparently does have ties to Ack-Mac, still retaining her committee assignments? We’ve also heard in Ollie North’s response to NRA’s lawsuit the allegation that Wayne not only knew about North’s contract with Ack-Mac, but helped arrange it.

LaPierre helped negotiate that contract and signed off on the contract in May 2018. Indeed, it was LaPierre who encouraged and authorized North to be hired by Ackerman McQueen to work on the NRATV show “American Heroes,” and it was LaPierre who at the same time urged North to accept the role as President of the NRA. LaPierre urged and convinced North to leave his job at Fox News to take on these assignments for the NRA.

Also denied is that there was ever any ultimatum. That’s a bombshell if true. This is going to be the lawsuit to keep an eye on for NRA watchers. It’s where all the dirty laundry is going to come out.

I get being on a non-profit Board because I’ve done it a few times. I get having to deal with keeping a ship sailing in a productive direction while everyone is at each other’s throats. But to me, retaliating against other Board members in the way Wayne is doing has to have a pretty dire justification. Preserving your own hide is not one of them. In my view, a board has several overriding priorities, but I would argue two are of top importance:

  • Keep thieves away from money.
  • Compliance with the rules and regulations that govern the industry in which you operate. I’m not talking about the arcane stuff here like installing the wrong kind of light bulb, or redoing a cafeteria without the right permit, but the major stuff where everyone knows and understands violations can cost the organization gravely and risk its mission.

So show me that the Board members being retaliated against are OK with robbing the Association or flagrantly ignoring the law. Maybe you can justify some. But maybe it’s also that they just didn’t pass the test of being sufficiently loyal to the regime.

And what pisses me off is we’re just getting fluff from Wayne boosters. As I’ve said numerous times, no matter what you think about Wayne, he is 70 years old. He is not the future of the NRA, because generously, he has maybe a 5-10 of working life left in him before he’s either spent from old age or kicks it. This looks to me like something struggling to hold on to power and destroying the future to accomplish that. And for what? That’s the question I can’t seem to find answers for.

Big NRA Donors Outed by New York Times

I always figured the NY and now DC Attorney General’s fishing expedition was partly to get a list of big NRA donors and accidentally leak them to the press so they could be hunted down and shamed by online mobs. That shoe has seemingly begun to drop, with a New York Times article outing big donors.

They name several people, not just the dead guy. I believe this is intended to intimidate people out of donating large sums to the NRA. The article notes that grassroots support for NRA is waning. I’d note that my support for NRA is not waning. My support for Wayne is. There’s a substantial difference between those two things.

This just might be the sensible reform movement I’ve been looking for. It’s not tremendously ambitious, but that’s probably smart. I also don’t see they are rallying around a cult of personality, which is also a good thing. Stick to the issues, and don’t mix it with hardline bullshit a lot of people aren’t going to agree with.

Bearing Arms Worth Reading Again

Cam Edwards is the new editor. After Bob Owens unfortunate suicide, I wasn’t much of a follower. It remained on my RSS feed, but I usually just passed it by. Now I will be reading regularly and linking when I’m actually blogging about things. I think Cam will definitely give the site a new, better direction.

Cam was one of the good people caught up in the awful shitty mess going on at NRA, so I’m glad to see he landed somewhere.

Chris Cox Starts Own Consulting Firm

I’ve said for a while, most of the ILA folks can make better money somewhere else, and it’s not looking to me like Chris Cox is planning on leading any kind of revolution but rather making better money somewhere else. This is basically what James Baker did when he left ILA, and he made a lot of money doing it. Of course Baker came back, but I wouldn’t count on that here. John Richardson is covering the purges.

I understand that Jason Ouimet, Chris’ replacement, is well liked and considered a good choice to lead ILA. I’m sure I’ve probably met him but I don’t know him. He will have big shoes to fill, and I wish him luck.

I am still lacking in optimism for the future of the RKBA cause. We’re pretty much now dependent on the courts to save us long term, and I’m not sure they are really willing. Any state where Dems have a shot at control is not a safe state at this point.

This is Great, So Long as the GOP Stays in Control

The Virginia legislature stuck it to Ralph Northam with his special session on gun control. This is a good outcome, but one that won’t survive if the Dems gain control of the legislature, as they are moving to do unless the Virginia GOP gets its act together. The demographic trends in Virginia are challenging: the federal government doesn’t get smaller, and Virginia has been flooded with new federal workers who will vote for Dems. I understand that the GOP is getting shaky even in the tidewater areas.

Virginia is one of the most important states for us, because NRA’s ability to recruit passionate people depends on there being an active and healthy gun culture in Virginia. Even if you don’t love NRA right now, any effective lobbying organization is either going to locate in DC, Maryland or Virginia. DC and Maryland are already lost.

Not Working Out

New Zealanders aren’t turning them in. When Australia did the same thing, estimates of compliance fell way short of expectations. I can tell you from first hand anecdotal experience that non-compliance among New Jersey residents is also very real thing. Irish Democracy in action.

Maybe this is the Sensible Reform Movement I’ve Been Looking For

It’s the NYT, so you might need a clean browser to view, but the story is about how David Dell’Aquila is organizing donors to withhold donations from NRA if Wayne does not step down and put an end to this mess.

“Even if these allegations regarding Mr. LaPierre and his leadership are false, he has become radioactive and must step down.”

I think that has unfortunately become true.

He said he was among a network of wealthy N.R.A. donors who would cumulatively withhold more than $134 million in pledges, much of it earmarked years in advance through estate planning, and would soon give the gun group’s board a list of demands for reform.

That’s not minor money. That kind of money is going to talk, loudly. Party line, mentioned in the article, is that the big donors are backing Wayne. This would seem to suggest that narrative is false. If you want to donate to the cause, I would still encourage people to donate to PVF, since that is a sequestered fund that can only be used on electioneering, and can’t be touched for other purposes. Also worthwhile is the Civil Rights Defense Fund, which is also not controlled by any of the players here.

“I’m not pro-Mr. LaPierre, and I’m not anti-Mr. LaPierre, I’m just simply being objective and trying to save a historic institution from itself,” he said. “Right or wrong, the buck stops with Mr. LaPierre, because this occurred underneath his leadership, and he’s ultimately accountable.”

I agree completely with that sentiment. I also agree with him that I’d like to see Cox back in Wayne’s spot. But he suggests Alan West for President. I’d pass on that one.

Chris being forced out was a bridge too far for me. I also am very upset that it’s being reported that board members are being removed from committee assignments as retaliation for not being sufficient boosters of the regime.

Board members are permitted to have opinions on the people they hire and who they are meant to hold to account. Period.

Satire or Not?

Is IMAO, so satire, but this is a non-satirical government solution if I ever saw one:

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – At a town hall-style meeting in South Carolina, Pete Buttigieg promised to address the problem of mass shootings from a different angle by tasking the Department of Defense with creating “gun free zone” signs that are more effective at keeping guns out of the areas where they’re posted.

I recently saw something where a mother in New York City was demanding something be done because she had to go pick up her kid from school due to a mass shooting threat. Don’t the gun laws of New York City provide comfort? If they don’t, isn’t that an admission that you know gun laws don’t really work?

But you can’t reason with people. These days, I’m not sure reason even matters anymore. The algorithms have gotten so good at manipulating people’s emotions, that’s all that people know. I have relatives who have been driven to madness by the algorithms.

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