And it’s name is ALEC, which is short for the American Legislative Exchange Council. With the spate of mass shootings, which shocks even this hardened observer, there is a lot of anger directed towards the National Rifle Association (NRA) and it’s frontman Wayne LaPierre. Charles Pierce provides a fine example of the form:
It is a guerrilla war, fought on darkened streets against children in hoodies brandishing Skittles, against children in cars who play their music too loudly, against evanescent fears and the ghosts born of ancient prejudice and cultivated dread. Its battles are sudden but, sadly, no longer surprising. The whole country is the battleground now because cynical people have made it so. Our movie theaters are our Wheatfields, our Peach Orchards, or our Bloody Lanes. A quiet college campus is the Hornet’s Nest. An elementary school is Cemetery Ridge. Those are the killing zones. The enemy, we are told, is everywhere, and nowhere. This is the country that Wayne LaPierre, that malignant profiteer, talks about when he says, as he did at a conservative conference last spring:
In this uncertain world, surrounded by lies and corruption, there is no greater freedom than the right to survive, to protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns and handguns we want. We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all. I ask you. Do you trust this government to protect you?
Wayne LaPierre gets paid when his masters sell guns to the bad guys. Wayne LaPierre gets paid when his masters sell guns to the good guys because of the guns he’s already arranged to sell to the bad guys. Wayne LaPierre is the strange white man in the Congo who knows where he can get you some AK’s. He’s the shadowy fellow in the coffee shop in Kabul who knows where RPG’s can be had, cheap. He’s the well-dressed, silken-voiced operator, sipping his tea on a cool and breezy veranda outside of Bogota, who smiles at you and shows you on the map where you can pick up your order, because it is time once again for you to make war and him to make money. His look is the smooth and shiny black of the vulture’s feathers. He feasts on the carrion of nations.
Without a doubt, the NRA is odious and contemptible. That said, they are essentially a political spam catcher. The NRA’s job is to be reviled (though, obviously, they would rather not be). Every time someone demonizes Wayne LaPierre, the foul creatures of ALEC continue to scuttle about in the dark unimpeded pushing all of those awful bills, such as concealed carry and Stand Your Ground.
Worse, many legislators are open members of ALEC–and they pay no price whatsoever. If we want to get sane gun legislation–and stop the passage of more awful gun proliferation laws–we need to demonize ALEC and everyone associated with them.
Until we do that, the NRA and Wayne LaPierre are just laughing all the way to the bank.