The NRA's Wayne LaPierre spoke at Liberty University yesterday, where he told the students gathered for convocation that American gun owners are smarter than everyone else and are perhaps some of the smartest people in all of human history.
"So many of those elites, they think they're better than us," he stated. "They somehow think they're more sophisticated. They think they're more intellectually evolved somehow than we are. Or they think they're just somehow plain smarter than we are. Well, I've got news for the elites who look down their noses at all of us and our rights: We gun owners are a heck of a lot smarter than you'll ever be. It's true."
"In all of history," he continued, "there's never been a group of citizens so engaged, so determined, so resolute and so unified in defending freedom, so politically savvy and individually prepared and responsible for protecting our families and our communities. Never have there been smarter, freer American citizens than America's one hundred million gun owners."
"Let me say that again," he emphasized, "in all of the world, some of the smartest citizens are American gun owners."
Last month, Donald Trump appeared on “The Alex Jones Show,” where he told the right-wing pundit that he has an “amazing” reputation, unlike other journalists, whom Trump commonlyrefers to as “scum.” Among Jones’ many wild conspiracy theories is his belief that the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which took place three years ago today, was “staged” by the Obama administration.
Trump has not faced any criticism from his fellow Republicans for going on Jones’ program or for touting his work, despite the fact that Jones has been instrumental in pushing the harmful Sandy Hook conspiracy theory.
A 2013 Fairleigh Dickinson University poll found that “a quarter (25%) of Americans think that facts about the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary last year are being hidden and an additional eleven percent are unsure” and that “Republicans are more likely to think that the truth about Sandy Hook is being suppressed, with 32 percent agreeing.”
Sandy Hook truthers, who largely believe that the attack was faked as part of a government plot to push strict gun laws, are not alone in delivering twisted responses to the mass shooting. Others have used the massacre to attack gay marriage, the separation of church and state and, of course, gun laws.
WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush said that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza “positively reeked of what intelligence operatives I know would call the tell-tale signs of recruitment and conditioning,” and wondered if Lanza was the target of a government scheme to recruit “vulnerable individuals for psyops” to advance “their diabolical agenda.”
Renew America’s Austin Miles similarly suggested that the massacre was “purposely orchestrated” to “disarm all Americans to retard resistance,” writing that Lanza and others were “brainwashed into carrying out such deeds that would prove a point about private gun ownership and the threat to all families as a result.” Then, he said, there would be no opposition to Obama using an “Executive Order to declare himself president (dictator) for life.” Fellow Renew America pundit, Laurie Roth, claimed Obama “staged” the attack because he’s on a “mission to take assault weapons from the people.”
Radio host Rick Wiles stated that “Sandy Hook was timed to coincide with the political agenda of the socialist Democrats such as Barry Soetoro [Obama], Chuckie Schumer, and Dianne Feinstein to pass stringent federal gun control laws,” alleging that “the shooting event was timed to coincide with the gun control initiative.” Another conservative radio host, Bradlee Dean, likened the Sandy Hook killings to Adolf Hitler “attacking his own Reichstag to start a world war” and said that it was orchestrated to pass an arms control treaty.
The Tea Party-aligned National Liberty Foundation insisted that the “staged” massacre showed just “how far your president went to get your guns”: “He wants to be a dictator, he doesn’t want to get out of the White House and he loves spending your money.”
Many of their assertions relied heavily on discredited claims that “crisis actors” posed as grieving family members at the school and that one of the young victims later met with President Obama (she didn’t, it was her little sister).
One Republican congressman, Louie Gohmert, however, told a fan of his that he would watch a Sandy Hook conspiracy theory video because he’s “always learning new things.”
Religious Right’s Reaction
Several Religious Right activists responded to the Sandy Hook shooting by warning that the massacre was a sign that God is no longer protecting America, removing his hand of protection due to supposed societal ills such as gay marriage, abortion rights and the separation of church and state.
“Millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed 54 million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition,” Focus on the Family founder James Dobson lamented. “Believe me, that is going to have consequences too. And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.”
“We’ve taken God our of our school, we’ve taken him out of our government and now we seem shocked at all of these things,” Franklin Graham stated following the attack. “Why are we shocked? We shouldn’t be shocked. This is what happens when a society turns its back on God.” Author Joel Rosenberg said the shooting was one of the tragedies America is “reaping as a result of a society that increasingly ignores God,” specifically blaming comedian Jon Stewart for waging a “war on Christmas” and mocking conservatives.
One pastor said that a “gracious,” “merciful” and “loving” God decided not to intervene to prevent the shooting because it would “bring us back to our senses” and make people realize that God’s judgment “has really come by our turning away from the Lord.” Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio specifically blamed legal abortion and the lack of state-sponsored prayer for the attack, stating that God is a “gentleman” who “is not going to go where he is not wanted.”
Blocking background checks
Ted Cruz has proudly boasted of his role in successfully blocking a bipartisan Senate measure to expand background checks on gun purchases following the school shooting, bragging that unlike Republican “squishes,” he stood firm in opposing universal background checks. The Sandy Hook-affected families who supported the efforts, he said, were being used as “political props.”
National Rifle Association board member and musician Ted Nugent blamed the shooting on America’s “politically correct culture” and “‘anything goes’ value system” which “vilifies, condemns and mocks traditional societal values and customs at every opportunity,” while NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre delivered an unhinged speech against gun control measures, lashing out at the group’s critics, the entertainment industry, video games, the media and a lack of guns in schools.
But while nearly nine out of 10 Americans, including nine out of 10 gun owners, support more background checks, Republican lawmakers care more about the support they receive from groups like the NRA, and have done next to nothing to tackle the issue of gun violence in the wake of tragedies like Sandy Hook.
Instead, Republicans claimed that the government should focus on mental health and thentried to block access to mental health services.
Few if any of the GOP presidential candidates are offering any meaningful gun reform proposals, outside of their unwavering dogma: More guns.
When President Obama isn’t secretly ordering riots in Baltimore from the Oval Office, he is plotting a military coup through the Jade Helm 15 drill and a bullet ban through the EPA. Quite a week for our “apathetic,” “ lazy” president.
Long a target of frenzied right-wing smear campaigns, Hillary Clinton faced attacks during her tenure as secretary of state from activists and pundits who claimed she was trying destroy the U.S., impose Sharia law and shut down churches across America. And that doesn’t even include the Benghazi truthers who have tried to exploit the deadly 2012 terrorist attack on an American diplomatic compound in Libya by coming up with bizarre, easily debunked, conspiracy theories about Clinton’s handling of the incident.
Now that Clinton has officially announced her second presidential run, the right-wing media has kicked off its latest round of Clinton-bashing. Here are just five of the lowlights from the last five days of right-wing anti-Clinton hysteria.
Shortly after the news of Clinton’s impending announcement broke on Friday, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre kicked off his group’s annual summit — attended by several GOP presidential hopefuls — by rolling out a list of purported “scandals” that he blamed on Clinton, including the 1993 death of White House aide Vince Foster.
LaPierre also trotted out his patentedparanoia, telling the NRA crowd that “Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair, forced upon the American people to endure.”
In another sign that Clinton will be criticized no matter what she does, one Fox News panel slighted her for visiting an Iowa Chipotle with her aide Huma Abedin, whom host Andrea Tantaros suggested was hungover. Tantaros even speculated that Clinton only ordered food from Chipotle because she is afraid that Sen. Marco Rubio may be consolidating the Latino vote.
2. Persecuted White Men
Bill O’Reilly, a staunch defender of the persecuted white Christian man, said that Clinton’s candidacy has potential because “traditional American values” are under assault. Reacting to the announcement of Clinton’s presidential bid, the Fox News host said that she has an “advantage” in a climate like today’s where “if you’re a Christian or a white man in America, it’s open season on you.”
1.Too Ugly To Be President
Surprising nobody, sexist attacks on Clinton’s age and looks began as soon as the news broke about her announcement. Fox News pundit Sean Hannity laid out his compelling case against Clinton like so: “She’s aging, out of ideas, often shrill, apparently, according to oral reports, angry and clearly not inspiring.” Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman called her the “Wicked Witch of the Left,” saying she is only “technically a woman.”
“Lyndon Baines Johnson was the last profoundly ugly candidate to be elected president, and he was a legacy of the martyred JFK,” Feder wrote. “Voters don't want a leader who looks frazzled or frumpy. We're told that Lincoln was too homely to be elected president in an age of television and paparazzi. But Lincoln's homely face had a dignity, a gravitas. If nothing else, we want a face that reassures us, not one that scares us, a la Night of the Living Alinskyites.”
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre dedicated his speech today at the group’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, to attacking Hillary Clinton, at one point even resorting to listing a series of “gate” scandals attributed to her and her husband, including “Vince Foster Gate” and “White House Coffee Gate.”
“Hillary Clinton has more ‘gates’ than a South Texas cattle ranch,” LaPierre said. “And Americans know it.”
Later, he warned that “Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair, forced upon the American people to endure.”
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
This week, here at Right Wing Watch we have been monitoring the Conservative Political Action Conference, the American Conservative Union’s annual summit that has been packed with typical right-wing blustering over taxes, Benghazi, Ronald Reagan, not to mention plenty of good old fashioned anti-government conspiracy theories:
5) Wayne LaPierre’s American Nightmare
NRA head Wayne LaPierre told CPAC attendees yesterday that “political and media elites” have conspired against gun owners and conservatives in general, working to “punish anyone who disagrees.”
“The media's intentional corruption of the truth is an abomination and NRA members will never, and I mean never, submit or surrender to the national media,” he said.
Even though crime rates have been falling steadily since the 1990s, LaPierre described his dark vision of an America in which happy and peaceful neighborhoods have been transformed into places of violence and death filled with “knockout-gamers.”
4) IRS Just As Bad As Deposed Leader Of Ukraine
Plenty of CPAC speakers have mentioned the crisis in Ukraine as a supposed failure of President Obama, but Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch went as far as comparing the Obama administration to the government of overthrown Ukrainian president and Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych.
Andy Kroll of Mother Jonesreports that Fitton told attendees of CPAC’s “IRS Targeting Scandal: Protecting the Voice of the People” panel that Obama’s IRS, which has been falselyaccused of targeting conservative groups, is operating much like how the Yanukovych government violently suppressed anti-government protesters: “People are dying in the streets in Ukraine. People being oppressed by the political regime. That's what the IRS was doing.”
3) Trump’s Immigration Solutions
Donald Trump seems to think Jimmy Carter is dead, and that the US may die too if Congress passes immigration reform. The real estate mogul told CPAC yesterday that immigration reform would mean that America would no longer exist, as immigrants flood into the country, destroy the GOP and “take your job.”
2) Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration of CPAC
Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney hosted an alternative CPAC event yesterday, prompted in part by worries that the right-wing gathering has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood through Republican activists such as Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan. Gaffney joined other conservatives in denouncing Norquist and Khan as Muslim Brotherhood agents who are advancing “civilization jihad” and undermining America.
Diana West yesterday took to WorldNetDaily to warn CPAC that Norquist and Khan are “a pair of influential men with track records of working with America’s enemies – Islamic organizations the U.S. government has linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and larger world of jihad.” She claimed that they are allied with those who hope “to destroy the United States and transform what is left into an Islamic-ruled land,” and pushed the Muslim Brotherhood “straight into the inner sanctum of the Bush White House.”
There are few regular CPAC speakers who can match the NRA's Wayne LaPierre when it comes to peddling wholesale paranoia and nightmarish visions of the future as he did while speaking today when he warned that neighborhood streets that were once filled with laughter and freedom now sit ominously silent because Americans are in fear for their lives, which is why they are loading up on all the ammunition and weapons they can get.
"In the world that surrounds us," he proclaimed, "there are terrorists, and there are home-invaders, drug cartels, car-jackers, knockout-gamers, and rapers, and haters, and campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall 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 our society that sustains us all."
"Do you trust this government to protect you?" LaPierre asked the crowd, which responded with a resounding "no!"
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre spoke at CPAC today, where he was introduced by a video full of clips of people in the media calling him a radical lunatic before launching into a speech where he repeatedly called everyone else crazy for thinking that his positions and views are crazy.
And he proved how reasonable he is by saying that any effort to create a database of gun owners would either be hacked by the Chinese government, handed over to Mexican government, or used by the American government to confiscate them:
The big gun lobby and its yes men in Congress, it seems, are much more interested in protecting the loose regulations of the gun industry than they are with taking practical steps towards public safety.
NRA officials are waging a campaign of misinformation and fear mongering in opposition to common sense reforms that could reduce gun violence -- many of which the NRA's own members overwhelmingly support.
By now everyone has seen NRA head Wayne LaPierre declare that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” while calling for armed guards in every American school. The NRA’s proposed solution to gun violence can be boiled down to even more guns, and the group wants concealed weapons in all public spaces – including churches, schools, bars and airports.
If there’s one place that I would expect to be able to take a concealed gun, it’s to a gun show. That’s why I was struck by the advice doled out by the NRA’s National Firearms Museum on “How to be a Gun Collector.” In the article, authored by NRA museum director Jim Supica, would-be gun collectors are directed to “practice basic gun safety” at gun shows.
Supica starts off with the most basic rule of gun safety, warning against allowing “the muzzle of a gun you're handling to point at other folks.” But then he stumbles badly off-message (from the NRA party line) with some commonsense advice that, were President Obama to say it, would hasten comparisons to Mao and Hitler.
The NRA’s Supica directs gun collectors to “keep your guns tied inoperable” (like this) when attending a gun show, noting that this is a “requirement at the better shows.” And he isn't done.
Supica then directs gun collectors to “never bring a loaded gun into a show,” even if it’s a “legal concealed carry gun.” Furthermore, collectors should never “test chamber a round in a show.” Of course, your typical armed guard or concealed carry enthusiast already has a round in the chamber, but never mind that.
Supica observes that “negligent discharges are very rare at shows.” However, when they do happen they typically involve “a concealed carry gun that was brought in loaded.”
You might be wondering why this namby-pamby Supica character hates the Second Amendment so much or whether the NRA knows it has a gun-hating pinko running its museum. But in their defense, Supica’s article bears this disclaimer: “Opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of NRA or the National Firearms Museum.” Well, that’s a relief. Supica may be an NRA employee and run their museum, but at least his commonsense, life-saving advice can’t be pinned on the NRA.
But maybe Supica isn’t such an outlier. As Scott Keyes reported in January, gun shows typically ban attendees from carrying loaded guns. Yet the NRA categorically supports efforts to expand concealed carry to “previously prohibited places.”
The takeaway, then, is that guns should be unloaded, tied inoperable and held out in the open at gun shows. But if you’re at a church, school, bar or shopping mall, you should feel free to conceal and carry a loaded gun with a bullet in the chamber. And that is how you practice basic gun safety.
During halftime of Sunday night’s NFL football game, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas weighed in on the recent murder-suicide carried out by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, noting that the prevalence of guns in our culture is making such tragedies more common.
This commentary has, predictably, outraged the Right, most notably NRA President Wayne LaPierre, who appeared on Glenn Beck's television program to frantically warn that "the media in this country hates the Second Amendment rights of American citizens and they'll do anything to try and take that freedom away from average citizens" by teaming up with the Obama Administration to carry out a wholesale "siege on the Second Amendment in this country like we've never seen before":
Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association uncovered a "massive Obama conspiracy" during his remarks at CPAC, explaining that the administration hasn't done anything on gun rights in the first term intentionally in order to lull gun owners in a false sense of security and keep them from voting so that he can win a second term and finally "destroy the Second Amendment":