People are often surprised to discover Wayne LaPierre, the man who usually speaks (or, more accurately, rants) for the National Rifle Association, isn’t actually
a mutant velociraptor the President of the NRA. LaPierre’s title is Executive Vice President.
Why isn’t he the President? Two obvious reasons. First, the position of President is unpaid. There’s no salary. He’s effectively a volunteer. And Wayne don’t work for free. He likes the lucre. LaPierre’s base salary is US$845,469.00 each and every year. He also picks up some extra coin
biting the heads off chickens doing odd jobs, like making speeches and general rabble-rousing for the NRA.
The second reason Wayne isn’t the President of the NRA is the president’s term is limited to two years. If LaPierre had been the NRA president, his term would have expired a long time ago, and we’d be deprived of his many charms. And wouldn’t that be a shame?
The President of the National Rifle Association is elected in a Soviet style system. There’s an election and all, but it’s primarily just for show. There’s only one candidate, and he’s been determined in advance. The candidate is actually chosen four years before his ‘election.’ He first serves two years as Second Vice President of the NRA board, then another two years as First Vice President, after which he’s ‘elected’ to the office of President.
The new President of the NRA lacks LaPierre’s social graces and his general air of genteel charm. The new President of the NRA is this guy — Jim Porter.
Seriously, that’s him. Porter likes to come across as a Good Ol’ Boy — just another redneck from Alabama. But he isn’t as stupid as he sounds. Or looks. He’s surely from Alabama, but he’s also a lawyer (just like his daddy, who was also a former NRA president — and, in fact, it was his daddy who was the chairman of the infamous 1977 NRA annual meeting at which responsible hunters were removed from power and political gun nuts took control). Porter’s area of legal expertise? Defending gun manufacturers against lawsuits.I know, you’re totally shocked.
In a recent interview with NRA News (yes, that’s right — the National Rifle Association has a propaganda wing called NRA News; it’s so rabidly right-wing it makes FOXNews look like National Public Radio) Porter claimed gun owners are “being treated like second class citizens by the government of the United States.” Second class in what way, you ask? Second class in that they have to spend millions of dollars every year in lobbying at both the federal and state level, and contribute still more millions of dollars to political candidates, in order to get the legislation they want passed. It’s SO unfair.
As might be expected, Porter has a pretty low opinion of President Obama. Prior to the legislation introduce in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre, an interviewer mentioned to porter that President Obama hadn’t actually tried to enact any restrictions on firearms or gun owners, Porter said:
“I get so sick and tired of all these people with this fake president that we got who wants to say, ‘Well, you know he hadn’t done anything bad for gun owners.’ I say, let me tell you something bad that he’s done. His entire administration is anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-Second Amendment.”
Never mind that Porter calls the President of the United States a “fake president,” just try to make sense of that statement, I dare you. Or this one:
“Every time you take your nephew to the gun club, every time you take your daughter skeet shooting, every time you take your grandchildren out, we’re passing on the legacy of freedom.”
What the hell does that even mean? Shooting equals freedom? What? Porter shows an exceptional talent for saying things that sound like they must have meaning, but when examined turn out to be meaning-free. Just listen to this speech:
In the video above, Porter says
“I am one who still feels very strongly that that is one of our greatest charges that we can have today, is to train the civilian in the use of the standard military firearm, so when they have to fight for their country they’re ready to do it. Also, when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they’re ready to do it. Also, when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they have the wherewithal and the weapons to do it.”
Tyranny. I am so fucking tired of hearing these jack-asses talk about tyranny. When they say ‘tyranny’ what they really mean is ‘fear that somebody who is not like us might have some power over us.’ When Porter talks about the ‘legacy of freedom’ what he really means is the ‘legacy of people like us being in control.’ When the NRA leadership says gun owners are ‘treated as second class citizens’ what they really mean is ‘we don’t have the same unquestioned authority and privilege we used to have.’
That’s what it comes down to. Fear. Unlike most folks (including most gun owners), Jim Porter and Wayne LaPierre and a minority of NRA members are afraid of living in a world where people ‘not like us’ are in control. They’re afraid, and they can only see two ways to retain the illusion of power and privilege and authority: 1) keeping other people afraid too and 2) guns.