Ridicule Is Man’s Most Potent Weapon

Saul Alinsky‘s Rule Number 5 states, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”

Mike Spies of The Trace understands this very well and just unleased a torrent of ridicule upon Wayne LaPierre. Somehow – and I have my suspicions – he obtained the lost and unaired footage from a 2013 African safari that Wayne and Susan LaPierre took that was to have aired on Under Wild Skies. That show was hosted by Wayne’s former BFF Tony Makris and was sponsored by the NRA. I have been told that Makris and Wayne used the show to reward LaPierre loyalists with a paid-for safari in Africa.

The footage is part of an article that is running in both The Trace and The New Yorker.

The footage of LaPierre in Botswana first shows him walking through the bush dressed in loose-fitting safari attire and an NRA Sports baseball cap. He is accompanied by several professional guides and his longtime adviser, Tony Makris, a top executive at the N.R.A.’s former public-relations firm, Ackerman McQueen, and the host of “Under Wild Skies.” The heat, at times, causes LaPierre to sweat. As he walks, his wire-framed glasses slide down his nose. After a guide spots an elephant standing behind a tree, LaPierre takes aim with a rifle. As LaPierre peers through the weapon’s scope, the guide repeatedly tells him to wait before firing. LaPierre is wearing earplugs, doesn’t hear the instructions, and pulls the trigger. The elephant drops. “Did we get him?” LaPierre asks.

The guide at first says yes, but then, as he approaches the elephant, it appears that the animal is still breathing. The guide brings LaPierre within a few strides of the elephant, which lays motionless on the ground. He tells LaPierre that another bullet is needed. “I’m going to show you where to shoot,” the guide says. “Listen, hold your rifle—I’m going to tell you when. Just hold it up.” The guide pushes the rifle’s barrel skyward as other men involved in the expedition move around in the distance. “I’m going to point for you where to shoot. Just waiting for these guys.”

Needless to say, Bwana Wayne botches this and two more shots. Tony Makris is the one who has to deliver the final shot.

It appears that both Wayne and Susan are using custom Blaser rifles with engraved actions and beautiful wood that I was told a while back were billed to the NRA. I wonder what ever happened to them.

As the video makes clear, Susan is the better hunter and much better shot than Wayne. She is also much more excited by her trophy than is Wayne who looks kind of befuddled. You wonder if he isn’t just looking for a place to go and throw up.

The whole episode brings to mind that classic Hemingway short story The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. While Wayne didn’t run in the face of the elephant like Macomber did in the face of the lion, it took someone else to finish the job. Moreover, Wayne comes off as a bumbling incompetent and not the great white hunter in charge of an organization dedicated to preserving hunting and the Second Amendment.

I know this is coming from the Bloomberg supported The Trace. As I’ve said in the past, just because you don’t like the source doesn’t mean it isn’t accurate. Spies gets his information right because he knows he will be sued every which way if he doesn’t.

I hope to go to Africa in a couple of years to hunt plains game. Unlike Wayne, I will be paying for the trip myself. Also, unlike Wayne, I plan to get in a lot of shooting practice in advance especially from sticks. It appears that Wayne was not that familiar with his rifle and it shows. When you are given the chance for the hunt of a lifetime, you damn well ought to be ready.

They Can’t Claim Ignorance Any More

The NRA Board of Directors has long relied upon the word of EVP Wayne LaPierre for virtually everything. If a disturbing matter was brought up to them, they, for the most part, would say something like, “Well, I talked to Wayne and he said blah, blah, blah.” They considered this as doing their duty of care as a Board member.

As I pointed out in my post on fiduciary duties, duty of care means to give “reasonable attention and care to providing oversight.” Under New York public charities law, that includes knowledge of the organization’s finances.

Over the last few days, I have listened intermittently to the hearings held on the NRA’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I have also read synopses of these hearings on other sites. Some of the things I heard had me shaking my head while shouting at the computer, “How could you not know?”

For example, Wayne LaPierre testified before the court that he had no knowledge of the consulting contract awarded to former CFO Woody Phillips and that he had only recently learned of it. The contract in question was for $30,000 monthly to run for four full years. The total value of the contract would then be worth $1,440,00. How can a CEO not know that his recently retired CFO just got a contract worth over $1.4 million?

The one thing I do believe that came out of Wayne’s rambling testimony is his acknowledgement that he didn’t inform the Board of his intention to seek bankruptcy before filing it. If he had, I believe more Board members would have reacted at the time like Judge Phil Journey saying “we didn’t authorize that.” Their ex post facto motion saying they authorized filing bankruptcy then and now is frankly nothing more than a cover garment.

On Friday I listened to live testimony from Wayne’s former BFF Tony Makris as well as AckMac CFO Bill Winkler. A deposition of former NRA CFO Woody Phillips was also read into the record with one NYAG attorney reading the questions and another reading Phillips’ response. The key thing that was continually pointed out by Makris and Winkler is that the vague invoices sent by AckMac were at the direct request of Wayne. This continued even after a new agreement was reached that stated the only deviations had to be in writing from Wayne as EVP. Wayne, of course, still continued with his way of not putting his wishes in writing. Greg Garman, one of the NRA’s attorney, pounded on AckMac’s Bill Winkler about ignoring the letter of the contract and going along with how things had been done in the past. I think this was a strategic mistake on his part as it opens the door to questioning similar vague invoices from Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors.

I should note here that Woody Phillips’ testimony primarily consisted of him saying, “I decline to answer based on the privilege accorded me by 5thamendment of the US Constitution.” The one thing I can say about that is that you can’t be accused of perjury if you always take the Fifth.

As I said in the headline, the NRA Board of Directors cannot claim ignorance any longer. The beauty of WebEx is that it does a good job of capturing who is participating or listening in to an event. In this case, I saw reporters such as Danny Hakim of the NY Times, Mark Maremont of the Wall Street Journal, and Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon. I also counted at least six Board members listening in. They included Carrie Lightfoot, Anthony Colandro, Joel Friedman, Linda Walker, Howard “Walt” Walters, and Judge Phil Journey (who I expected to listen in). There may have been more as there were people who logged on by phone and not by computer.

My point is that after multiple days of testimony and over 600 documents, pleadings, exhibits, motions, and replies, it is impossible for anyone on the Board to say they don’t know what is going on. If they do, then they need to resign.