On May 24, an 18-year-old student killer picked up an AR15 rifle at Rob Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and shot indiscriminately. 19 children and 2 teachers died instantly. Death enveloped the entire school, and the killer then committed suicide.
The national grievances are boiling, and they have pointed the finger at a vicious organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA). This deep-rooted organization is the most powerful lobbying group in the United States and has extremely strong strength. Of all the funds used to oppose gun control in the United States, the NRA provides about 90%, and the “gun industry” with a profit of more than 20% provides a steady stream of financial support for the NRA.
With the support of the gold master, even at the most sensitive moment, the NRA has no scruples. Just three days after the horrific Texas shooting, the bodies of the children who were killed were not cold, and the NRA annual meeting was held as scheduled in Houston, Texas, which is only 450 kilometers away from the crime scene. Although the governor of Texas canceled the trip under pressure, a more heavyweight politician, former US President Trump, came as promised. At such a special point, he actually danced on the podium and said: “The existence of evil is one of the best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens.” Republican Senator Ted Cruz also sophistry: ” Let me tell you what will happen, if they succeed in confiscating guns, more people will die.”
NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre slammed Biden’s gun control stance in a speech, and shouted: “We Parting ways with President Biden!” There is a tendency to call the wind and call the rain, and power the government and the opposition. It is this person who has been running for the United States with guns for more than 30 years, and has become a public enemy of the gun control faction. The families of countless shooting victims are cursing him. However, the momentum of the NRA is getting higher and higher, Lapierre is getting more and more rampant, the American guns are getting more and more serious, and they are plunged into endless darkness…
America’s biggest gunman
Since Lapierre became the head of the NRA in 1991, the NRA has become the world’s largest anti-gun control political group, and Lapierre has become the biggest black hand of gun victims in the United States.
Lapierre has always fought back directly against presidents who support gun control. In 2012, a 20-year-old murderer killed 20 children and six adults in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, before committing suicide. After the tragedy, then-President Barack Obama said “we must come together to take meaningful action,” and the NRA said it was “ready to provide meaningful help.” But it didn’t take long for the two sides to have a debate. Obama’s “meaningful action” refers to the introduction of gun control policies and the restoration of the ban on the sale of assault firearms. And Lapierre’s so-called “meaningful help” actually recruited volunteers from the 4.3 million gun members at the time to protect school children. This made some American media angrily call him a “gun maniac”, while Lapierre simply showed up: “Then call me a maniac!”
On May 27, 2022, former U.S. President Trump (left) and Lapierre attended the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association of the United States.
A young boy experiences gun exhibits at the NRA annual meeting on May 28, 2022.
It can be seen that Lapierre has a posture of “not afraid of the sky, not afraid of the earth”. With more than 5 million members in the United States, he is self-respecting. The NRA stipulates that members are obliged to score candidates for the President of the United States and members of Congress at all levels. The association aggregates these scores into a “voting guide” and distributes it to each voter. Candidates at all levels, from federal to local, have been subdivided by the NRA, carefully analyzing Americans’ positions and winning rates. For gun owners with “A” scores, they will invest the most resources, and for “F” candidates People do their best to suppress them. For example, senior Republican congressmen McConnell and Cruz both have “A+” grades and are strongly supported by the association. Where does Lapierre’s confidence come from? According to media reports, 88% of Republican lawmakers and 11% of Democratic lawmakers have accepted NRA donations.
Under the money offensive, the US president’s attempts to control guns have repeatedly been frustrated. In 2012, the debate between Obama and Lapierre ended in Lapierre’s victory. When Obama and Democratic lawmakers put forward a bill in Congress to try to fill the loopholes in the US law for background checks on gun buyers, the NRA launched a powerful public opinion offensive. Members of Congress were worried that they would be defeated after supporting the bill, and they dared not stand in Congress. Cast a support vote. In April 2013, the Senate rejected Obama’s “gun control executive order” by a vote of 54-46. At the time, the Senate was dominated by Democrats who supported gun control, and a deeply frustrated Obama tearfully accused his party of not supporting him, saying “this is a shameful day for Washington.”
It can be seen that the NRA led by Lapierre has become the biggest interest group obstructing gun control in the United States. Yuan Sha, a scholar at the Institute of American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global People: “There are also many groups in the United States that advocate gun control, but these groups are often loosely organized and less linked to commercial interests. Funding, so there are very few politicians who stand for them and can’t compete with organizations like the NRA.”
Under the crazy offensive of the NRA, the number of gun victims in the United States has intensified. According to statistics released by the Small Arms Survey, Americans own 393 million of the 857 million civilian firearms in the world, accounting for about 46%. There are 120 guns for every 100 Americans, more than 1 per capita. And that’s not counting illegal “ghost guns” that are assembled from parts purchased online by private individuals. The Gun Violence Archives Network released data on January 5, 2022, that the number of deaths caused by shootings in the United States rose from 39,558 in 2019 to 43,643 in 2020, and further rose to 44,816 in 2021. As of May 26, there have been 17,348 gun-related deaths in the United States in 2022.
On May 24, 2022, at the scene of the Texas shooting, students hugged and cried.
On May 25, 2022, the scene of the shooting in Texas was filled with flowers sent by mourning people.
Making a big fuss about “identity politics”
Although gun violence has brought horrific tragedies, after the event, the strange phenomenon has been repeated in the United States: people are worried about their own safety and hinder the purchase of guns, so they buy guns in large quantities. More guns are flowing into society, which leads to more shootings. After the Texas shooting, firearm maker Smith & Wesson bucked the trend and rose 12%, while Sturm & Luger rose 6.6%.
Yuan Sha said that the occurrence of this phenomenon is closely related to the intensification of “identity politics” in the United States in recent years. The so-called “identity politics” is closely related to the so-called “political correctness” in the United States, that is, every citizen consciously or unconsciously regulates his political behavior according to his religious, national, cultural, class and other identities. Many American politicians use “identity politics” to attract votes, while Lapierre continues to use “identity politics” to consolidate and expand the membership group.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms. “The so-called ‘innate human rights’ inherent in Americans is difficult to change, and the Second Amendment is more like ‘innate gun rights’.” Yuan Sha believes that as long as you identify with the identity of the Americans, this consciousness will basically not change.
This gave the NRA an innate advantage to use “identity politics” to make a fuss, and Lapierre has more than once confronted the president who tried to control the gun. He once poured “unconstitutional” dirty water on Obama: “Obama is using all possible means to abolish the Second Amendment.” Trees.”
American history has proven the power of “identity politics”. In 1994, Democratic President Bill Clinton passed the “Assault Weapon Ban”, which banned the use of 19 types of assault weapons, including the AK47 and AR15, for a period of 10 years. “Before the ‘ban’ was promulgated, citizens called for it. Strangely, once the ban was promulgated, they quickly realized that the so-called freedom was restricted, and they rushed to buy and stock up guns.” Yuan Sha said.
American politicians continue to use “identity politics” to win over identity groups and consolidate and expand the voter base. In order to continuously pursue differences and the “dignity” of identity groups, domestic politics in the United States has become increasingly fragmented and polarized, and this has deepened the already existing American society. torn. “In recent years, especially the ethnic minorities in the United States, the willingness to own guns has increased. Why? Because social order chaos, racial discrimination, police violence in law enforcement and other problems have occurred around them, and they have become more and more serious. In addition, the government has not Actively solving these problems has further deepened people’s distrust.” Yuan Sha said that the gun problem in the United States should be considered in the overall social environment, after all, gun victims are only one of many social rifts, “the window period to solve the gun problem will soon be It will pass. After this gust of wind has passed, the next larger gust of wind is likely to be armed with guns.”
”Behind the shooting is hatred and misfortune.” Wei Nanzhi, an associate researcher at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global People reporter, “Clinton said when he was in office: It’s all about the economy. Why was it possible to push a ‘ban’ at that time? Because everyone was in a relatively happy mood.” She believes that it is impossible to introduce such a ban at a time when American society is divided.
Lapierre took full advantage of the social tear to consolidate the living space of the association. He once tried to brainwash the members: “If you don’t protect your freedom, when the government controls this freedom, you have no freedom at all.”
The tearing of society has shaped a “bulk America”. “In this ‘bulk America’, the left and the right have their own positions and supporters,” Wei Nanzhi said. In fact, the NRA used to not only support Republicans. According to the “New York Times” statistics, in 2008, 67 Democratic lawmakers received NRA “A” grades. But as the bipartisan rivalry intensified, Democrats began to distance themselves from the NRA, and by 2018 only three received “A” ratings.
The lack of consensus makes it increasingly unlikely that the gun control bill will pass. In early 2011, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head in a gunshot and miraculously survived, but suffered a lifelong language barrier. According to CBS statistics, in the following five years, more than 100 gun control bills have been proposed in Congress, but none of them have been passed into law.
”America in bulk” is also embodied in federalism. The vast majority of gun control laws and regulations in the United States are formulated by states, and their severity is not uniform. New York State has the toughest gun control, but mass shootings remain high. In New York, 90 percent of guns were acquired out of state. The NRA has exploited the Achilles heel of “America in bulk” to ensure that nationwide bills enact abortions while minimizing the number of states with tough gun control laws.
Compared with federalism, the NRA using “identity politics” is much more “solid”. Wei Nanzhi believes that the NRA has a strong social mobilization ability because “members are linked by ideas that they agree with each other, and they have a strong sense of identity.”
Left: Lapierre with a gun at a gun auction. Above center: On May 28, 2022, Americans protested at the site of the Texas shooting, condemning the holding of the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting at a sensitive time. Bottom center: On May 25, 2018, in Coral Springs, Florida, U.S., demonstrators “lyed dead” protests at a Publix supermarket. Previously, the company has publicly expressed its position on gun freedom, and many of these students are survivors of school shootings. Right: On December 22, 2012, Lapierre was protested as he spoke at a news conference.
To confront his political opponents, Lapierre used “identity politics” to create tension with inflammatory discourse. Faced with the majority of working-class members, he said: “When history develops to a stage, there will always be some patriots who will rise up against the orders of the elite, chanting: No more, take your hand from my freedom Take it off!” He always finds values that members share and reinforce: “The NRA is where you stand up and fight to get America back on track, and where our individual freedoms are restored and defended.
” The divided America has made the two parties more clinging to their own positions.” Yuan Sha said that in the past, the two parties were expected to move to the center on the issue of gun control, but as the political polarization in the United States becomes more and more serious, “there are fewer and fewer people on the wall. living space.”
The “gun maniacs” who traverse the administration, legislation, and judiciary
”The National Rifle Association of the United States has a single issue and goal, as well as a large number of members and strong funds, which help it exert influence at all levels.” Yuan Sha said that under the system of separation of powers in the United States, the NRA has executive, legislative and judicial powers. In the past, they have penetrated in all directions, and only exerted their efforts on the issue of guns.
In the 2016 presidential election, the NRA spared no effort to bet on Trump from the very beginning, spending more than $30 million to help him get elected. Trump reciprocated, telling the NRA at a campaign rally: “Remember, I won’t let you down!”
Lapierre spared no effort to crack down on presidential candidates who support gun control. In the 1999 Columbine High School shooting that killed 15 people, then-Vice President Al Gore voted as Senate speaker in favor of a bill to restrict guns. Lapierre hated his teeth and launched a large-scale smear campaign, which directly caused Gore to lose the hunting tradition of Virginia and his home state of Tennessee in the 2000 presidential election, and ultimately missed the presidency.
The loss hit the Democrats hard, and they have since kept quiet about the NRA. In October 2002, a series of shootings occurred in the United States, and there was also a serial killing in Washington that resulted in the deaths of 10 people. Even so, Democrats have had a muted reaction to gun control, as the midterm elections are approaching. In the 2008 presidential election, Democratic candidates Hillary, Obama, and Edwards expressed their gun control positions on different occasions, but Gore’s campaign failure was a lesson in particular, so they were silent on the issue of gun control in the final stage of the campaign.
Even with “friendly” Trump, LaPierre is also ruthless. In August 2019, there were multiple shootings in the United States. Then-President Trump said on social media that “the victims cannot be allowed to die in vain” and called on the two parties to “unite to pass a strong background check bill.” But when he then “communicated” with Lapierre about the shooting, he changed his mind and said that the current background check system in the United States is “already very, very strong.”
Lapierre believes in tit-for-tat. In 1994, after the Clinton administration’s “assault weapons ban” was passed, Lapierre immediately began to lobby frantically, leading to the fact that in November of that year, the Republican Party took advantage of the shortcomings of the Democratic Party’s excessively aggressive measures to regain the House majority that had been lost for 40 years.
On May 2, 1994, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Director John Margo (right) showed the AK-47 submachine gun to then-President Clinton.
In the 10 years that the “ban” was in effect, Lapierre repeatedly accused federal law enforcement officers of “thugs” and said that President Clinton, who passed the “ban”, “has blood on his hands.” After Lapierre’s continued lobbying of Congress, the “ban” finally expired in 2004. Lapierre succeeded in revenge.
Gun-owning lawmakers have long been a focus of the NRA’s support. After the Texas shooting, Senator Cruz tweeted that he and his wife were praying for their children and their families, but the one with the most likes among more than 60,000 comments was a statistic. In this chart of the top 20 members of Congress who received the most money from gun-owning organizations in 2016, Cruz topped the list with $360,000, nearly double Rubio, who came in second.
Judicially, the NRA is also actively fighting for it. In his second week as president in 2017, Trump brought LaPierre to the White House for a special meeting with conservative leaders to secure a new Supreme Court nominee and defend a strong ruling on gun rights . The NRA has been frustrated in the judicial field before. In 2009 and 2010, it publicly opposed and tried its best to block the nomination of a gun control justice, both of which ended in failure. But Lapierre was not discouraged. After continuous efforts, he finally made a breakthrough in judicial issues.
In September 2020, Trump nominated Amy Butler to the Supreme Court. Shortly after taking office, Butler began addressing a bill plaguing gun-owning groups. According to the regulations of 8 states including New York, you cannot go out with a gun without a concealed gun license. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed a judicial challenge to the rule, which was strongly supported by the NRA. Previously, the Supreme Court had refused to try, but Bartley was heard shortly after taking office.
On May 29, 2022, US President Biden and his wife arrived at the scene of the shooting in Texas to mourn the victims.
Iron Lapierre, running water president
In the more than 30 years at the helm of the NRA, LaPierre has successively boiled away President Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump. In the outside world, he is a “gun maniac” who calls the wind and rain, but in the eyes of insiders, he has another side.
In 1949, Lapierre was born into a family without guns. He didn’t fall in love with the battlefield, and during the Vietnam War, while attending college, he found an internship and escaped conscription. He later aspired to become an educator and earned a master’s degree in political science from Boston College.
Lapierre was weak, like “the backbone of a chocolate puff,” NRA board members said. He doesn’t know how to say no. “Even if you come into his office with a red nose and big-toed shoes (as a clown), with a little pressure, you can get him to approve an expense.”
If you look at the history of the NRA, you’ll see Understand why Lapierre did this. In 1871, the NRA was established. At the time when the Civil War had just ended, William Church, a military correspondent for The New York Times, saw the poor shooting skills of the Union Army, and set the association’s purpose as “scientifically promote and encourage rifle shooting.” He also hired the famous general Burnside as the first chairman of the NRA, and Burnside also brought in his old boss, then US President Grant, to join the association.
Beginning in the 1970s, the NRA once wanted to weaken its political attributes, but after fierce infighting, it finally elected Harlan Carter, who advocated the removal of gun restrictions, as the new head of the association. Since then, the NRA has become more aggressive and aggressive. Meanwhile, scandals have exploded. The later successors, Arnett and Cassidy, were successively caught in the scandal of interest transfer and power-sex trading, and were ousted from power. At this time, Lapierre from the Institute of Legislative Action of the Association entered the vision of the board of directors, and his harmless image of humans and animals allowed him to slip through the trap and succeed in taking the position.
Lapierre and other executives were able to command large sums of money as the association’s dues grew and more interest groups supported. In 2018 alone, the association’s revenue exceeded $350 million, and eight executives made more than the head of another tax-exempt organization, the American Red Cross, and some even made more than 10 times their income.
The huge interests made the infighting of the association more intense, and people were constantly being swept out of the house. The “weak” Lapierre “plays a pig and eats a tiger” and reaps the benefits of a fisherman. His annual salary has soared from $200,000 at the beginning of his tenure to more than $2.2 million. This is only a book income. Several resigned executives who have been defeated in internal battles broke the news that the membership dues have already become Lapierre’s money bag, and he even nakedly asked the association to buy him a $6 million mansion.
Employees also complained more than once that the services of Aikman McQueen, the agency responsible for advertising and publicity for the association, were overpriced. Later, it was discovered that Lapierre’s second wife, Susan, had worked for the company, and the NRA often sent the company unnamed funds, and a large amount of money was unknown.
Lapierre has a quirky habit of never using electronic devices for shorthand, using only notebooks and sticky notes to record information. And every time the information recorded is like a password, only he can understand it. For 30 years, although offices and apartments have been filled with notebooks, he still knows every notebook well. Someone once pointed to a four-and-a-half-foot-high, six-foot-wide stack of notebooks in the bathroom aisle and casually mentioned a meeting, and he found the corresponding notebook. In recent years, he has been riddled with lawsuits, and when government officials investigate him, they have never been able to understand these scripture-like shorthand. No one knows how many dark secrets he has hidden in these vast piles of old papers.
Lapierre has spared no effort in owning a gun, never because of his beliefs, but to enrich his own pockets. In fact, aren’t American politicians taking their stance on the gun issue also for power and money? They have already reached a tacit understanding, “The Democrats say they want gun control, and the Republicans oppose gun control. It’s enough to express two voices. Isn’t American democracy just expressing voices? As for whether to solve the problem or not, it doesn’t matter to politicians.” Wei Nanzhi said, ” The White House flew the flag at half-staff, Biden mourned, and gave flowers to the children who died, and that’s it. All the performances are in place, and this is American politics.”
In his speech at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, Lapierre said with “sadness”: “21 beautiful lives were mercilessly and indiscriminately slaughtered by a criminal monster.” But he then changed the conversation and showed his edge: “Restricting the basic human rights of law-abiding Americans to protect themselves is not a solution, it has never been!” Lapierre’s “acting skills” became more and more proficient. Thousands of people in the venue stood up and bowed their heads to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting… …
and here’s the great irony: the NRA states that attendees are prohibited from bringing firearms.