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‘Deep S***’: NRA ‘Secret Tapes’ Revealing Group’s Post-Columbine Strategy Leaked After Two Decades

Second Amendment


https://sputniknews.com/20211110/deep-s-nra-secret-tapes-revealing-groups-post-columbine-strategy-leaked-after-two-decades-1090628270.html

2021-11-10T17:21+0000

2021-11-10T17:21+0000

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Members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) struggled to come up with a strategy for their response to mass shootings in the US shortly after the infamous Columbine High School shooting in 1999 – and the private conversations, records of which were obtained by NPR, reportedly show senior NRA members initially taking “a strikingly more sympathetic posture toward mass shootings” than during the decades after.NPR cited more than 2 1/2 hours of “secret tapes” received from an anonymous NRA member in which the association’s executives allegedly discussed their response to the aftermath of the Columbine shooting that left 15 people dead. According to the report, the conference took place shortly after the shooting with the goal of deciding what to do with the NRA’s annual “World Class Guns & Gear Expo” that was scheduled to take place in Denver several days after the high school tragedy.’We Are in Deep S*** on This Deal’While the promotional campaign for the convention had already been launched, the executives gathered to consider cancelling it, given the optics.At the same time, others argued that a cancellation of the convention would amount to the NRA somehow accepting responsibility for what happened – as would the creation of the proposed “victims fund” to “give the victims a million dollars or something like that”.’Fruitcakes’ and ‘Wackos’Pondering the NRA response, along with the fate of the scheduled convention, the strategists also happened to blast some of the association’s members, suggesting that “normal” ones would decide to stay away from the site of the tragedy, and therefore only the most radical group members would be left to attend the conference.The executives are heard saying that holding the meeting without the exhibition hall would have “the fruitcakes” and “the nuts” showing up.The sentiment received support from Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and the group’s PR consultant Tony Makris.Talking Points for LawmakersAccording to NPR’s tapes, some lawmakers apparently asked the NRA to provide them with guidance amid the Columbine shooting’s fallout. The conference call participants are heard naming the lawmakers that they claimed felt especially anxious, like then-Congressman Tancredo and then-Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles.How it Ended UpEventually, the strategists decided to only scale down the Denver convention and not cancel it. The assembly ended up having a much larger crowd than expected, with thousands of demonstrators gathering near the site and some activists holding up signs reading “Shame on the NRA” and “NRA, Pusher of Child Killer Machines”.While many of the demonstrators called for the NRA “out this city and this state”, the group was adamant that it should not be portrayed as the villain to be blamed for the mass shootings.Heston was referring to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution – legislation affirming that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed”. In light of the deadly mass shootings in the US – around 30 only between 2018 and 2021 – discussions around the Second Amendment and its relevance have intensified. In what appears to be one of the most acute debates in the United States, gun control advocates call for stricter laws when it comes to distribution and possession of firearms, while supporters of gun rights insist such restrictions would be in violation of the Second Amendment.

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The 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School – one of the deadliest in US history – prompted a lot of criticism of gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association (NRA). However, the organisation has vehemently refused to be branded “a villain” amid a slew of tragic mass shooting stories in the US.

Members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) struggled to come up with a strategy for their response to mass shootings in the US shortly after the infamous Columbine High School shooting in 1999 – and the private conversations, records of which were obtained by NPR, reportedly show senior NRA members initially taking “a strikingly more sympathetic posture toward mass shootings” than during the decades after.

NPR cited more than 2 1/2 hours of “secret tapes” received from an anonymous NRA member in which the association’s executives allegedly discussed their response to the aftermath of the Columbine shooting that left 15 people dead. According to the report, the conference took place shortly after the shooting with the goal of deciding what to do with the NRA’s annual “World Class Guns & Gear Expo” that was scheduled to take place in Denver several days after the high school tragedy.

‘We Are in Deep S*** on This Deal’

While the promotional campaign for the convention had already been launched, the executives gathered to consider cancelling it, given the optics.

“At that same period where they’re going to be burying these children, we’re going to be having media … trying to run through the exhibit hall, looking at kids fondling firearms, which is going to be a horrible, horrible, horrible juxtaposition”, NRA lobbyist Jim Baker said on a conference call.

At the same time, others argued that a cancellation of the convention would amount to the NRA somehow accepting responsibility for what happened – as would the creation of the proposed “victims fund” to “give the victims a million dollars or something like that”.

“Everything we do here has a downside”, NRA official Kayne Robinson is heard saying on the tapes. “Don’t anybody kid yourself about this great macho thing of going down there and showing our chest and showing how damn tough we are. … We are in deep s*** on this deal. … And so anything we do here is going to be a matter of trying to decide the best of a whole bunch of very, very bad choices”.

‘Fruitcakes’ and ‘Wackos’

Pondering the NRA response, along with the fate of the scheduled convention, the strategists also happened to blast some of the association’s members, suggesting that “normal” ones would decide to stay away from the site of the tragedy, and therefore only the most radical group members would be left to attend the conference.

The executives are heard saying that holding the meeting without the exhibition hall would have “the fruitcakes” and “the nuts” showing up.

“If you pull down the exhibit hall, that’s not going to leave anything for the media except the members meeting, and you’re going to have the wackos … with all kinds of crazy resolutions, with all kinds of, of dressing like a bunch of hillbillies and idiots. And, and it’s gonna, it’s gonna be the worst thing you can imagine”, said NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, according to the tapes.

The sentiment received support from Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and the group’s PR consultant Tony Makris.

Talking Points for Lawmakers

According to NPR’s tapes, some lawmakers apparently asked the NRA to provide them with guidance amid the Columbine shooting’s fallout. The conference call participants are heard naming the lawmakers that they claimed felt especially anxious, like then-Congressman Tancredo and then-Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles.

“I was talking to Nickles’ office this morning, and what they told me is they’re planning on sending them all to school[s] because what they wanted us to do was secretly provide them with talking points”, LaPierre is heard saying.

How it Ended Up

Eventually, the strategists decided to only scale down the Denver convention and not cancel it. The assembly ended up having a much larger crowd than expected, with thousands of demonstrators gathering near the site and some activists holding up signs reading “Shame on the NRA” and “NRA, Pusher of Child Killer Machines”.

While many of the demonstrators called for the NRA “out this city and this state“, the group was adamant that it should not be portrayed as the villain to be blamed for the mass shootings.

“We’re often cast as the villain. That’s not our role in American society and we will not be forced to play it”, then-NRA President Charlton Heston said. “We cannot, we must not let tragedy lay waste to the most rare, hard-won right in history.”

Heston was referring to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution – legislation affirming thatthe right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed”. In light of the deadly mass shootings in the US – around 30 only between 2018 and 2021 – discussions around the Second Amendment and its relevance have intensified. In what appears to be one of the most acute debates in the United States, gun control advocates call for stricter laws when it comes to distribution and possession of firearms, while supporters of gun rights insist such restrictions would be in violation of the Second Amendment.





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