I am an American white guy who believes in our 2nd Amendment and is a current member of the National Rifle Association. When I go to the NRA website I read all kinds of purposeful, serious words. Meaningful words like:
Freedom Protection Rights Safety Draconian Enemies Terror
There are also intense phrases and warnings on the NRA site (and in the near-daily emails I receive) that make me feel what I maturely describe as “the mixed feels.” Substantial phrases and dire warnings such as:
“Our rights are under attack like never before.” / “Dedicated to securing the future of freedom.”
Even my NRA membership card has the powerful words, “STAND and FIGHT” in bold, I-ain’t-messing-around-sized print. Seriously, it’s impressive the way that call of resistance is placed directly above my own name and just to the left of an image of a powerful Bald Eagle’s feather-covered butt.
As you likely already know, THE major point, purpose and obsession of much of our NRA’s leadership is…well, actually, it’s money. And power…it’s also power. But aside from those two things, NRA heads like Wayne LaPierre, the human-hamster hybrid who’s our CEO and Executive Vice President, want Americans to remain free and able to protect themselves from criminals, terrorists and that all-time scary fave: The Big. Bad. Tyrannical. Government.
So why not better embrace communities of color? Why does the NRA community – well into the 21st Century – still resemble an Oregon Militia or a Woody Allen Movie? Really, it’s kind of pitiful. I’ve seen fewer white people at a Stanley Cup Final than at an NRA membership meeting. Sure, there is a scant increase in African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics joining in the past decade, but it’s still a comparatively tiny amount. The face of the NRA remains over 30, doughy, and…well…me. The face of the NRA looks a lot like my once-angular and very pallid mug.
Again, the NRA and its leadership are constantly reminding you – the everyday NRA member – that your 2nd Amendment rights are in peril, at risk, and being threatened. If it isn’t Hillary Clinton, President Obama or Michael Bloomberg, then it’s some other anti-American leftist-loon who apparently possesses the ability to steadily dispose of the approximately 300 million firearms within our United States’ borders. We cannot find 10 million illegal immigrants within our borders, how in the sam-hell could we ever possibly locate three times that number in something that is far easier to hide? That’s a rhetorical question, for those of you starting to wander mentally.
So, given the fact that Americans – both NRA members and non-members – are always hearing about gun rights vanishing due to “The Tyrannical Guvment,” why on God’s green earth isn’t NRA leadership doing every-frickin’-thing they can to attract, entice and lure African-Americans into joining? In the past several decades, there’s no group of Americans who have been greater victims of governmental and law-enforcement double-standards and hypocrisy than African-Americans! Seriously, a pale weasel like Dylan Roof can ambush and execute nine churchgoers and he’s arrested peacefully and treated to some fast-food by his arresters before going into processing. But Eric Garner, an African-American, who was selling tax-free cigarettes ended up being choked to death by an NYPD officer when he failed to comply with the policeman’s requests. An armed Oregon militia took over federal wildlife refuge and promised bloodshed if their demands weren’t met. Of the 27 extremists involved, only one was killed, and that was only after he attempted to shoot a federal agent. But Minnesota resident and African-American, Philando Castile, was shot dead when he declared to a police officer (who’d pulled him over concerning a busted taillight) that he had a licensed weapon in the car that he was legally allowed to have. Castile literally died for complying, but the NRA heads were slow and timid to react.
According to the NAACP, African-Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. Together, African-Americans and Hispanics comprised 58% of all U.S. prisoners in 2008, even though those two groups only make up one-fourth of our nation’s population. Hell, there are African-American men languishing in prison for years over possession for marijuana, even as more and more states are declaring it legal.
Color me reactionary, but that seems like some real-life government-induced tyranny. Why on earth wouldn’t the NRA leadership want to welcome millions of African-Americans into the fold, since they’re the ones who personally understand government oppression better than anyone else? Again, this question is rhetorical.
We know why the NRA leadership isn’t that interested in the rainbow coalition. It is because if you’re a member long enough, you have a vote. And with that vote comes the possibility of change. NRA heads like millionaire NRA and CEO Wayne LaPierre don’t want change, after all, he’s making a killing from all of the killings.
So as a proud and defiant member of the NRA and, even better, the good-ole USA, I am asking my fellow Americans of color to join me at the next NRA meeting. Membership isn’t expensive and you get some nifty goodies when you join. And the best goody you’ll get several years down the road? A possibility for real change and your own greater sense of “the good feels”. Most importantly, you’ll no longer feel as helpless against the tyranny of lethal double-standards and hypocrisy.