NRA Exec. Vice President Wayne LaPierre has the uncanny ability to turn things up to eleven. What I mean by turning things up to eleven (for those who have never watched Spinal Tap), is that LaPierre can really rock a speech when he wants to. He can perform like few other lobbyists can.
What’s ironic though is that LaPierre is not a gifted orator, skilled rhetorician or naturally talented performer. He’s far from it. His voice is shrill. His delivery is anything but smooth. He frequently makes mistakes, (mispronouncing “Afghanistan” in this latest address). His body language is incredibly stilted, and even downright awkward. He is strangely intense. On some level, I think if LaPierre was a musician, he’d be Neil Young.
So, what makes him so captivating to an audience? What gives him that extra gear?
Well, it’s two things in my estimation (a) the content of his speeches, which I’ll get to in a moment and (b) the fact that unlike many of the talking heads he is not a silver-tongued huckster. See, LaPierre is an activist in lobbyist’s clothing. That’s right. LaPierre is genuine. He deeply cares about his cause. He cares about you. And he cares about this country. I don’t think there’s too many people in Washington we can say that about nowadays, which brings me to his speech; which I would argue is a testament to his character and a revelation of his intent as the leader of the nation’s preeminent lobbying organization.
After carefully reading over his CPAC address, here were the five quotes that stuck out to me:
“Have you heard about their latest: ‘Jobs for jihadists’? I’m for ‘bullets for jihadi butchers’!”
On a Woman’s Right to Self-Defense:
“You don’t empower women by leaving them defenseless. And you don’t strengthen
a nation by taking away its freedoms.”
On Media Dishonesty:
“Folks, Brian Williams isn’t the exception. He’s exactly what they’ve taught us to expect from them all. It’s not journalism any more — it’s entertainment, it’s celebrity, it’s agendas and it’s money. All too often, a lie is now an acceptable way of communicating. To the media, a lie has as much value as the truth.”
On the NRA’s Power to Preserve Liberty:
“The safest place for American freedom is the National Rifle Association. The safest place for American freedom is in the hearts of our members.”
On the NRA’s Legislative Agenda:
“Good guys shouldn’t be forced to break the law to exercise their God-given, constitutional right to protect themselves and their families. And it’s time for Congress to act. Pass National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity for the entire United States. Pass it today!”
From my vantage point, it’s hard for me to find fault with anything he said. Most of it pretty much rings true for me. Yet, I’m also aware that not everyone likes LaPierre’s commentary and respects his vision for America.
Ladd Everitt, communications director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, was not a fan.
“It was the typical ridiculous fearmongering that no rational person would take seriously, said Everitt. Then quoting LaPierre, “‘Hackers, identity thieves and genuine monsters,’ Terrorists waiting at your local mall ready to behead you on camera. The call to protect your women, as if this was the antebellum South.”
“I also thought his opening declaration, ‘We as Americans are wary, we’re despairing, we’re sad,’ was pathetic,” continued Everitt. “He certainly isn’t describing any Americans I know. Whatever that garbage is, it’s not patriotism, and it demonstrates no faith whatsoever in our great nation.”
Well, there you have it. Two different opinions on LaPierre’s speech from folks on two different sides of the gun debate. What did you think of LaPierre’s speech?
Here is a transcript of the speech:
It’s great to be here at CPAC again. Are you having a great conference? Are you ready to make a difference for your country and your freedom? Let me hear you!
In November’s elections, we made history. But I know it’s the future that’s on our minds. As Americans, we’re weary. We’re despairing. And we’re sad. Because so much we care about is slipping away.
You feel it. The threats are all around us. Russia’s advancing. The Islamic State is consolidating power. With beheadings, rapes, murders and atrocities, they’re carving a bloody trail that leads to our doorstep. They’re already here!
How much longer before the horrors we’ve witnessed in Paris or Copenhagen come to the supposedly “gun-free zone” of the Mall of America? Or for that matter, the mall in your town? It’s not “if” — it’s just “when.”
With fires breaking out around the world, is war on the horizon? As Americans, we feel vulnerable in other ways, too.
Our economy is staggering. Our debt is astronomical. Politicians insist it’s all OK. But I’ve been on the road for the past two months, all over America, and everyone I talk to knows it’s not OK. They see their freedoms taken away.
You can’t say this. You can’t do that. You can’t ask why. If you do, you’ll be shouted down, shamed, accused, audited, investigated, your motives condemned and told to “shut up.”
Our right to privacy is unlocked, analyzed, mined for data, catalogued, cross-referenced and filed away for future use faster than you can say “Big Brother.”
Freedom of speech is being smothered under everything from “political correctness” to blackouts on political speech during election campaigns.
Freedom of religion faces cultural war — especially if you’re not of the right religion. I’m not just talking about the Christians beheaded by Islamic jihadists this month. I’m not talking about Mosul, Iraq, where they beheaded children for simply being Christian. I’m not talking about a kosher deli in Paris where people were gunned down for simply being Jewish.
I’m talking about here at home, where if terrorists release a video of a mass murder of Christians called “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross,” the leader of the free world refuses to even acknowledge their movement, their mission or their motive.
If so-called “gun-free zones” supposedly save lives, why doesn’t Obama simply declare Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to be one big, happy “gun-free zone”?
Have you heard about their latest: “Jobs for jihadists”? I’m for “bullets for jihadi butchers”!
They can call us “bitter clingers” to guns and religion all they want, but they will never shake our faith in who we are and what we believe.
Our society is changing. It’s common now to not know your neighbors.
Not long ago, kids were embarrassed if Mom stood at the bus stop. Now it’s normal. Even at home, you’ve got to watch out for your kids. Hackers, identity thieves and genuine monsters are just a click away.
You tell me: Is there any doubt that if someone or some group wants to, they can read your email, listen on your phone or track your car?
Really? Authorities tracking license plates of law-abiding citizens?
Our health histories and our entire lives are available online, just waiting for someone to cash in on it all.
And there’s a sense it’s all become an inside game. The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. The powerful take more power. Wall Street rocks and rolls.
And even when they’re caught lying, cheating, stealing or ruining our entire economy with Ponzi schemes so big that even Bernie Madoff wouldn’t have the spine to try it, nobody goes to jail. Everybody gets a pass. Nothing changes.
And the business of “politics as usual” goes on. They give speeches they know aren’t true. They sign bills they didn’t read. When the law blows up in their faces, they give themselves another pass.
And the media’s in on the con … and on the gravy train. Today, most Americans say they don’t trust the media. My question is, where’d they find ANYBODY who believes the media any more?
Folks, Brian Williams isn’t the exception. He’s exactly what they’ve taught us to expect from them all. It’s not journalism any more — it’s entertainment, it’s celebrity, it’s agendas and it’s money. All too often, a lie is now an acceptable way of communicating. To the media, a lie has as much value as the truth.
We can’t trust the government to tell us the truth. They’ve already shown us that. The government evidently doesn’t trust us. Their surveillance and oppression through a weaponized IRS just proves it.
People don’t look to this town any more for answers. Our leaders lie to us and the media swear to it, as if their freedoms weren’t under attack as well.
But I’ve got news for the media: Your First Amendment right is not a license to kill the Second Amendment with lies. Your freedom is just as endangered, and your lies endanger us all.
Every day the media tell us we need just one more law, just one more gun ban, just one more restriction on the rights of law-abiding gun owners to prevent violent crime.
The story they should be telling is how few of the laws already on the books are enforced against the people who actually do us harm: armed, violent, dangerous criminals.
Instead, politicians waste their time and your tax dollars pushing nanny-state social schemes and gun laws that only disarm good people. In other words, not only do they refuse to protect us, they also want to deny us the ability to protect ourselves.
And every day of every year, innocent, good, defenseless people are beaten, bloodied, robbed, raped and murdered as a direct result.
Folks, when a criminal attacks, politicians aren’t there to protect you. Their laws can’t protect you. And the media’s lies can’t protect you, either. You’re on your own.
But you know what can protect you — when no one else can, when no one else will? The ironclad, absolute safeguard of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms!
You know, we live in a time when, increasingly, the most vulnerable group among us is American women. We fear for our moms. We fear for our wives, sisters and daughters because we know how exposed they are. They can be spied upon, stalked online and set up for attack through social media or through a kicked-down door.
How about empowering women to protect themselves — by making them stronger? The NRA’s Refuse To Be A Victim® program has taught tens of thousands of women how to protect themselves – with or without a gun — for the past 20 years.
What have The New York Times or Hollywood celebrities or the anti-gun lobby done to empower women? All they’ve done is try to make women weaker — by scaring them, or shaming them, or flat-out denying them the option of owning a gun for their own protection.
You don’t empower women by leaving them defenseless. And you don’t strengthen a nation by taking away its freedoms.
We live in an age when our nation and her freedoms are increasingly vulnerable — from terrorists crossing our borders or embedded within our communities, to the mentally ill who roam our streets, to the criminal class unleashed upon us by those who refuse to protect us. The failure and false-heartedness of those in charge of our safety are going to get more and more of us killed.
The only solution is to face the truth: We individually are in charge of our own security. We are in charge of our own family’s safety. And along with law enforcement, we’re in charge of our neighborhoods, schools, towns and cities where we live.
History proves we’re right. Over the past 25 years, while dozens of states have restored the right to carry a gun, violent crime has fallen to the lowest level in decades. You don’t hear that in the media, do you?
But too many states refuse to recognize the Right-to-Carry permits issued by other states.
And honest, good, peaceable people too often go to jail as a result. Law-abiding Right-toCarry permit holders don’t pose a threat to anybody except the bad guys.
Good guys shouldn’t be forced to break the law to exercise their God-given, constitutional right to protect themselves and their families. And it’s time for Congress to act. Pass National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity for the entire United States. Pass it today!
Even if you don’t own a gun or don’t care about the right to do so, if you care about freedom in any of its forms, you belong in the NRA.
Why? Well, just look at our history. Over the past decades, by every measure, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms has gotten stronger than ever — even as our other freedoms have been slowly, progressively diminished. The credit for rescuing firearm freedom goes to the 5 million members of the NRA.
Those 5 million NRA members share something really important in common. We share a determination to stand up, speak out, throw the liars out of office, shield the innocent from the lawless and defend all the freedoms that we hold dear.
I challenge you: Tell me where you find people like THAT who are absolutely determined to turn this country in a different, freer and better direction? You know we talk hard truth. You know we stand on principle. You know we never waver. You know we fight. And you know we win.
We are Charlton Heston vowing, “From my cold, dead hands!” I hear people say to me all the time, “Wayne, what the First Amendment needs is its own National Rifle Association.”
“What the economy needs is its own NRA.”
And, “What our nation’s military and police deserve is their own NRA.” They’re all saying, “We need someone to stand up for all the things we care about and consider most valuable in our lives.”
For the NRA, that always includes our firearms and our freedom to own them. But to defend firearm freedom, we need more than just firearm freedom. One right depends on another. They’re all cut from the same cloth of what it means to be free people.
So the NRA fights for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and the right to privacy, too. We fight for the entire Bill of Rights because it is all connected.
Where do you think freedom’s safest place is? In the news media, The New York Times and MSNBC? In one of the political parties? 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
The safest place for American freedom is the National Rifle Association. The safest place for American freedom is in the hearts of our members.
So take our country back from the liars, the cheats, the press and political elites who want to take away our ability to define our own destiny. Join us!
Join the NRA — we truly are FREEDOM’S SAFEST PLACE.
Thank you very much.