Facebook will often make suggestions on people to “friend”. It may be that you and that person share a number of mutual friends, have common interests, or the like. While responding to a new friend request this weekend, I got this suggestion yesterday.
I am going to have to pass on that one.
The list of reasons why I’d never friend him could go “to infinity and beyond” to quote the great philosopher Buzz Lightyear.
With all due respect, I think the key word in Stephen’s tweet is “claims”. I have been to every NRA Annual Meeting that has had an exposition since Charlotte in 2010. This had the least people by far. Friday had really light attendance. It picked up on Saturday as one would expect and was so-so on Sunday. I never had trouble walking the aisles of the George Brown Convention Center on any day. I never got pulled along with the crowd nor blocked at intersections. Every vendor I asked about business said it was slow.
I have attended numerous SHOT Shows where the attendance is in the 60-70,000 range and they all seemed more crowded than this show.
As I said in the comments section in a reply to Old NFO, I saw a lot less of “new media” than in the past. There were a few podcasters, a handful of the professional gun press, and very few of the bloggers I’ve gotten to know over the years. There really were not that many of the mainstream media for that matter. I did have some fun conversations with Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the LA Times and Andrew Schneider of Houston Public Radio.
I did not get the chance to attend any of the seminars or workshops. There were some by historian Martin K. A. Morgan that I would have liked to hear. I believe he did ones on the weapons in the Battle of Hue as well as in the Russo-Ukranian war.
My friend and fellow co-host of the Polite Society Podcast Amanda Suffecool has been producing a concealed carry fashion show for a number of years. It showcases a number of holsters, purses, and other gear that allow you to conceal your handgun. The event is always fun and the “models” are just average people.
This year’s event caught the eye of the British newspaper and online site The Daily Mail. They are horrified that it was held just days after the murders at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Many models appeared to show that concealed weapons didn’t mean you had to give up fashion as women and men were seen in various styles from secret agent-style suits to cowboy boots and sundresses.
However, despite the fashionable ways the NRA’s models showed weapons can be concealed, the convention – which boisterously displays guns of all-types throughout Memorial Day weekend – comes after 19 children and two teachers were murdered in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
I am guessing the writer never heard Michael Bane say, “You are on your own”, nor believes that you are your own first responder. One gathers they would prefer to what for an unarmed Bobby to appear to save the day. Fat chance at that.
Here is some video from the event.
I recognize a number of my friends and colleagues in amongst the models and emcees. My suggestion is to look at the pictures and forget the rest of the story. I will say there some quite innovative ways to conceal your firearm shown.
When I made my travel plans to attend the NRA Annual Meeting, I scheduled my return flight for later on Monday afternoon so that I could attend the NRA Board of Directors meeting. It is scheduled to start at 9am or about a half hour from now.
After having attended the travesty that was the Meeting of Members for the entire time, I came to the conclusion that attending the Board of Directors meeting would be a waste of my time. Moreover, it would just raise my blood pressure and who needs that.
While there will be a move to nominate Lt.Col. Allen West to be CEO and EVP, I have every expectation it will go nowhere. The majority of the Board of Directors are like the disciples of the Rev. Jim Jones of Jonestown infamy. They have drunk the purple Kool-Aid and plan to go down with Wayne LaPierre. So what if the NRA perishes like the People’s Temple at the same time.
I will have more on the Meeting of Members, the Leadership Forum, the resolutions, the exhibition, and more in following posts.
Also, in case you didn’t read it elsewhere, Isaac Demerest won the election for 76th Director against Frank Tait. While I didn’t see the “volunteers” on Friday, they were certainly out in force on Saturday morning. Of the tens of thousands who could have voted, only 564 people could be bothered. The final tally was Demerest, 350, and Tait, 214. Given the age composition of the board, I still would not be surprised if Frank ended up on it before the year is out.
If you are attending the NRA Annual Meeting on Saturday, I have two reminders.
If you want to vote for the 76th Director, voting opens at 8am and will conclude when the Meeting of Members adjourns. Voting is in Room 330 and you will need to have your member number available. In contrast to the regular board election, any member of the NRA can vote.
The two candidates are Frank Tait and Issac Demerest. Frank ran by petition whereas Mr. Demerest was on the ballot thanks to the Nominations Committee. Bear in mind that anyone who was on the ballot thanks to the Nominations Committee was vetted. By vetted I mean they had to pass the test of being a “Friend of Wayne” and not some one who would challenge the status quo.
Frank Tait, fortunately, will challenge the status quo and has when he tried to become an intervenor on behalf of the members in the NY Attorney General’s dissolution lawsuit. If he is elected as a board member, it should give him the wherewithal to be an intervenor again. I will note that I have not seen the mob of “volunteers” campaigning for Mr. Demerest as one would have seen in years gone by.
The Meeting of Members starts and 10am in the General Assembly Hall. You will need to pick up your credentials in Room 330. I will have a resolution regarding the state of the NRA Headquarters Building which is in shameful disrepair.
I fully expect the powers that be will try to adjourn the meeting as soon as possible. I do know there will an attempt to put resolutions at the top of the agenda which is a good thing and to remove a deadline for the end of the meeting. We need to have people there just like we did in Indianapolis in 2019. The more the better.
When I arrived at the George Brown Center for the NRA Annual Meeting this morning, I saw about four protestors. A few hours later, the number had increased to about 100-150 being generous. I could be off on my numbers but they seemed to bunch up along a barrier to give the impression of more.
I heard later that Robert Francis O’Rourke was speaking at an anti-gun rally in the park across from the convention center. It is disturbing that he is trying make political hay while many of the details are still not known and families are grieving. I agree with the Mayor of Uvalde when he called O’Rourke ”a sick son of a bitch.” Fortunately, O’Rourke is behind Gov. Greg Abbott by anywhere from 7% to 10% if the polls are accurate.
The demonstrators across the street were loud, were lead in chants by someone with a megaphone, had a drum, and played it up whenever they saw a TV camera. They also were a bit vulgar as the photo below illustrates.
Behind the sign saying “NRA Go Away” was a protestor with a megaphone who seemed to be the chant leader.
As you can see from that picture and the one below, whenever the media or photographers were there taking pictures, the crowd played up to them.
There were a lot of people attending the NRA Annual Meeting who were filming it and taking pictures with their phones. I know a lot found the whole group of protestors to be more of an amusing circus act than anything else.
It will be interesting to see if they will continue to have their anti-rights protests again tomorrow. If so, I’ll try to get more and better pictures.
The NRA Leadership Forum was meant to be Wayne’s big hurrah. I mean after all he was successful in getting former President Donald Trump to appear as the keynote speaker. Then an unhinged maniac decided to murder school children and teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
As of this morning, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) has canceled his appearance in order to be in Uvalde and will send a pre-recorded message. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has to be in Washington for “personal reasons” according to a report in Politico. Cornyn’s office insisted they had informed the NRA of this ahead of the murders in Uvalde. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) who represents a suburban Houston district is reported still on a trip to Ukraine.
This leaves President Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), NC Lt. Gov Mark Robinson (R-NC) who is also a NRA board member, and Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) as speakers in addition to Wayne and Jason Ouimet of the NRA-ILA.
As I don’t plan to be disarmed of even a knife, I plan to watch the speeches or some of them by video from the Press Room. It will be interesting to see if anything is said other than the typical stump speech.
I originally posted this in June 2020. I am reposting it as Mr. Kerr made statements yesterday condemning gun violence (sic) along with the murders in Uvalde, Texas. He called on Congress to pass more gun control including universal background checks. From what we know in the limited time since the school murders, the murderer legally purchased his firearms and went through a background check.
I am reposting this because Mr. Kerr considers that he and his family were the victim of “gun violence” (sic). I do not mean to minimize the pain and suffering his family went through. However, it is critically important to differentiate between a politically-inspired assassination as with Mr. Kerr’s father and the criminal misuse of a firearm whether a school shooting or a drug gang drive-byor a robbery on the street.
THE ORIGINAL POST FROM JUNE 30, 2020
Steve Kerr is the coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. He also played for seven different NBA teams including championship teams in Chicago and San Antonio. He still holds the career record for highest percentage of 3-pointers made at 45.4%.
Kerr is also an ardent gun prohibitionist and has lent his name to the Brady Campaign for fundraising. Indeed, I just got an email from Brady yesterday featuring him.
Here are parts of it.
John – as a young man, Steve Kerr thought bad things happened to other people – that his life was impenetrable, and that his family was immune to everything. Steve was consumed by basketball, but his life changed forever instantly when his father was senselessly shot and murdered outside his office.
That’s why Steve is working with Brady to elect gun safety champions. He knows that preventing pain and devastation for thousands of families across the country depends on stopping Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump’s inaction on gun violence.
Now you may be thinking that Kerr’s dad was the victim of a robbery or a school shooting given he was murdered outside his office.
And you would be wrong.
Kerr’s father, Professor Malcolm Kerr was a political scientist whose specialty was the Middle East. He had taught at the American University of Beirut. Professor Kerr continued his career at UCLA where he went on to become chairman of the political science department and then dean of the division of social sciences. Then in 1982 he returned to the American University of Beirut as its president.
I should note here that the Kerr family had a long history in Lebanon with both Steve and his father Malcolm being born in Beirut. Steve’s grandparents like his father had been affiliated with the American University of Beirut. AUB has traditionally been considered one of the best universities in the Middle East and North African region outside of Israel.
1980s Beirut was a dangerous place with Maronite Christians, Druze, Sunni Muslims, and Shiite Muslims all vying for power. You could throw in the Palestinians, the Syrians, and the Iranians into the mix as well for good measure. If you were an American or other westerner in Beirut, you were a target. Kidnappings were rife along with murders and assassinations.
Professor Malcolm Kerr was just such a target as he was the head of one of the most prestigious institutions affiliated with America in Lebanon. On January 19, 1984, two gunmen fired two shots into the back of his head from a silenced pistol as he walked to his office.
Soon after the killing of the 52-year- old educator, a male caller telephoned the Beirut office of Agence France- Presse and said the slaying was the work of Islamic Holy War – supposedly a pro-Iranian underground group.
Callers saying they were from Islamic Holy War took responsibility for bombing the American Embassy in Beirut last April 18 and the attack against the Marine compound here on Oct. 23. But the police have no evidence that the group actually exists. Dr. Kerr’s assailants escaped after the attack.
‘We Are Responsible’
The Islamic Holy War caller told Agence France-Presse in Arabic: ”We are responsible for the assassination of the president of the American University of Beirut, who was a victim of the American military presence in Lebanon. We also vow that not a single American or Frenchman will remain on this soil.”
The group who killed Kerr was called Islamic Jihad at the time. Now we know them as Hezbollah. There were ties to Iran as well which actually led the Kerr family to sue Iran in 2001.
The assassination of Malcolm Kerr was a targeted act of political terrorism. Hezbollah assassins just as easily could have used a car bomb, a knife, or a rope to murder him. It was only an “act of gun violence” (sic) because the assassins used a handgun. No amount of gun control or gun prohibition could have prevented this act of state-sponsored terrorism.
There is no correlation between the targeted political assassination of Professor Kerr and your garden variety murder or shooting in the United States. The death of Professor Kerr was a tragedy on both a personal and national level. That said, a contribution to the Brady Campaign is not going to end murders in the United States nor will it stop state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East. The Brady Campaign knows that and one would hope that Steve Kerr knows that as well.
It is sad that Steve Kerr lost his father to a political assassination. It is even sadder that he is using that event to push an unrelated political agenda in the United States.
I think I’m in for an interesting weekend. Many vendors who skipped this year’s SHOT Show will be in attendance showcasing their wares. Not that there is that much that is new under the sun but still…
I fully expect two things this weekend.
First, the Meeting of Members will be somewhat contentious and that the Friends of Wayne will do everything in their power to cut the meeting short as they circle the wagons to protect Wayne.
Second, there will be a number of protestors and demonstrators outside the meeting given the murders in Uvalde yesterday. I would not be surprised to see Shannon Watts with her armed security out there in the plaza in front of the George Brown Center. Of course, as my friend Rob Morse points out better than I can, trained, armed teachers are a deterrent.
As to my expectations coming true, we shall see. We shall see.
I am a little late posting this but I wanted to get it up prior to this week’s NRA Annual Meeting starting on Friday. It is an open letter from Lt. Col. Allen West to the NRA Board of Directors. He is asking for their vote when they meet on the Monday after the Annual Meeting to elect the Executive VP and CEO.
Now do I think Allen West will be elected? The answer is a resounding no. Wayne LaPierre has so stacked the Board with his loyalists that it is near impossibility. Nonetheless, it shows Judge Cohen in New York that some within the NRA are trying to change things for the better.