The first thing you have to understand about National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is that his lord and master is the firearms industry. The principal purpose behind his Second Amendment advocacy is selling guns, and he’s pretty good at it.
With that in mind, LaPierre’s news conference yesterday morning must be deemed a success, as THIS GUY notes:
Spend enough time dipping into the post-game reaction of NRA leader Wayne LaPierre’s press conference today– staged and performed as the organization’s first public statement since the tragic school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — and you’ll likely run up on any number of people who’ll tell you the LaPierre’s presentation (which included calls for more guns in schools and greater restrictions on video games) was tone-deaf or ineffective or out-of-touch or a failure.
Those critics are wrong. LaPierre’s presentation was terrifically effective.
Granted, if you believe that what LaPierre was trying to do today was to sincerely join in a national conversation over school shootings, or offer a coherent set of preventative policy options, or even just demonstrate some baseline sensitivity for the lives that were lost, it is easy to see why you’d deem LaPierre’s press conference to be an ineffective, tone-deaf failure. But what you should remember that the National Rifle Association does not exist to offer sensible public policy or participate in conversations or pretend to be sensitive about tragedies. The National Rifle Association exists to assist the manufacturers of guns and gun-related accoutrements in selling guns and gun-related accoutrements to people. That is their job, summed up, in its entirety.
The NRA are lobbyists who represent a bunch of gun retailers, and this is what lobbyists do — they help their clients sell their products. And every action that LaPierre took today can and should be viewed through that prism.
Wayne LaPierre is only too happy to have people criticize the NRA for its response. Wayne LaPierre hears the scorn that you have for his “guns in schools” idea, and he welcomes it. That’s because today, Wayne LaPierre did not go out in front of reporters in a sincere attempt to mount a policy argument or craft a solution or engender warm feelings from his critics. Today was about synergy. Wayne LaPierre went out in front of reporters because he knew it was time to leverage the Sandy Hook shooting into a unique, sales-boosting opportunity for the industry he represents.