Photo by Jeff Pinette/Shutterstock
This month, many are cheering the news that the NRA is now as financially bankrupt as it is morally. Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued four current or former NRA executives for “illegal financial conduct,” leading to the gun group’s recent declaration of bankruptcy. Among James’s charges were that Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the NRA, received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of complimentary safaris in Africa.
The group said it would reincorporate in Texas after a century in New York.
In the book Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths That Paralyze American Gun Policy, author Dennis A. Henigan reprints shockingly antigovernment ads that the “patriotic” NRA published. In fact, the NRA’s anti-government rhetoric became so inflammatory that former President George H. W. Bush actually resigned the gun organization in 1995.
“I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of NRA, defended his attack on federal agents as ‘jack-booted thugs,’” he wrote in a letter to the NRA: “To attack Secret Service agents or ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] people or any government law enforcement people as ‘wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms’ wanting to ‘attack law abiding citizens’ is a vicious slander on good people.”
It is no surprise that white supremacists and hate groups have embraced the NRA’s violent, anti-government rhetoric that preaches insurrection and stockpiling weapons against “tyranny.” In fact some of the nation’s most chilling crimes have been committed by such white supremacists starting with the Oklahoma City bomber:
Timothy McVeigh, a sometime NRA member bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168. Why that building? Because the Murrah Federal Building housed offices of the ATF which McVeigh hated so much he sold ATF hats with bullet holes and a flare gun that could shoot down an “ATF helicopter.”
In 1999, white supremacist Benjamin Nathaniel Smith went on a racist shooting rampage in the Chicago area, killing Northwestern University Men’s Basketball Coach Ricky Byrdsong and Won-Joon Yoon, a computer science doctoral student. He also wounded nine Orthodox Jews and an African-American minister, literally driving around looking for minorities to shoot and kill. After a three-day, two-state shooting rampage, Smith killed himself as police approached. Despite an order of protection filed by an ex-girlfriend, Smith was issued a firearm owner’s identification card and was a legal gun owner at one time.
In 2012, Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin before taking his own life. Page was a member of the white power music establishment and had ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. According to Wikipedia, he founded the band End Apathy and played in the bands Definite Hate and Blue Eyed Devils which are considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be racist, white-power bands.
In 2014, white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan leader Frazier Glenn Miller was charged with killing three outside two Jewish community centers in Kansas City. The same year, Jerad and Amanda Miller fatally shot two Las Vegas policemen, attaching a swastika to one officer’s lifeless body. Also that year, Chicago suburban police arrested John White for criminal damage to a Lombard synagogue. His home contained thousands of rounds of ammunition and a shotgun, rifle and four handguns.
Hate rhetoric and white supremacy go to the very top of the NRA. In 2014, musician, hunting enthusiast and NRA board member Ted Nugent, called President Obama a “sub-human mongrel.” The remark was almost identical to the Kansas City Klan shooter Frazier Glenn Miller’s claim that the white race is “drowning literally in seas of colored mongrels.” Yet Nugent, who has been known to wear a confederate flag while performing music, has been an NRA board member for over 20 years.
In January we saw the logical conclusion of the arm-yourself-against-government-tyranny rhetoric that the NRA promotes. Many are happy to see the NRA run out of town with its rifle stock between its legs. Z