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Coloring in between the NRA lines

Last year the NRA experienced staff and leadership upheaval at its national office in Virginia. Internecine palace intrigue and open warfare cleared out some good patriots and some dedicated, accomplished professionals from NRA staff and leadership roles. Lots of hard feelings permeated the entire organization. Most of it appeared like a petty high school dispute, and asking people who are much more in-the-know about why things worked out the way they did only elicited vehement responses. I was angrily scolded for even asking.

We are not supposed to question why or what!

And that kind of emotion-heavy, non-intellectual response was enough for me to conclude that whatever had happened was a bunch of BS, shallow, power-tussle stuff. The kind of behavior that professional adults should be above, especially with so much on the line for everyone else who loves freedom and liberty.

This is not the first time the NRA has undergone civil war, nor have most other non-profit organizations avoided internal bloodshed for that matter. A supposedly lily-white non-profit I worked for many years ago saw incredible professional bloodshed as a power struggle unfolded. Lots of innocent people there had their careers demolished or severely sidetracked, as they became collateral damage. But the NRA has much more on the line, and we cannot afford these kinds of unforced errors. Power should always be shared, not hoarded; long-long-long time staff should maybe think about passing the torch to younger people; and disputes should be held behind closed doors. We gun owners have enough enemies in the media and the entire Democrat Party to take up all of our time; we don’t need, nor can we afford this kind of infighting.

What exactly happened at NRA HQ will probably never become public information, but the bottom line is that EVP Wayne LaPierre was outed for spending $30,000 of NRA member money a year on expensive suits, NRA president Ollie North tried to play hardball about it and then literally gave up and walked off the field when things didn’t immediately go his way. Collateral damage extended to Chris Cox, the effective longtime NRA/ILA director, who was publicly forced to resign. Over a meaningless text message into which only the most paranoid person could read evil intent. Was like watching Caligula or Herod off their own children to retain complete power.

My impression (impression, not direct knowledge) is that LaPierre brooks absolutely no questioning of his absolute authority and dominance of the organization. And that he will utterly crush anyone who dares to challenge him, even in private, even on small matters. I leave it to you to determine if this is a healthy management style. Or not.

At least that is the way that LaPierre’s illuminating lawsuit against North, Cox, and some others reads. Like a political manifesto, not a legal document. And don’t misunderstand me, I do appreciate Wayne’s long service to the Constitution and the American people.

Out of all this shake-up we (I am a proud NRA Life Member and always will be) got another NRA/ILA executive director. With Chris Cox gone and now operating his own lobbying outfit in DC, the hunt was on for a new face of NRA’s political activism. Out of all of the atomic energy emitted from the great shakeup, nothing really changed. We, the NRA, could have gotten a whole host of people in that position – women, Asians, Blacks, Jews, American Indians, because there are a large number of articulate, intelligent, knowledgeable, experienced, good looking, charismatic pro-Second Amendment activists from each of those groups who could have easily moved into the NRA/ILA position and immediately started moving the ball down the field.

No, I am not into “diversity.” I am into maximizing effectiveness and expanding the NRA’s appeal.

Having some different public faces at NRA would not hurt our beloved organization, and in fact those kinds of small changes would help it a great deal. Think of how a non-Caucasian face might help sell the Second Amendment to non-Caucasian people (and yes, I know this may be a surprise to some, but there are actually a lot of non-Caucasian people legally living in America). It’s a thought, maybe a radical one, but I am sticking to it. Out of love for the Second Amendment, and the NRA; and for America.

Instead of getting someone totally new and different in the NRA/ILA position, we got yet another cookie cutter Caucasian guy, Jason Ouimet. He looks like Chris Cox’s twin, and like Cox, Jason also seems like a very nice man. He is articulate, knowledgeable, and he is not shy (“step on the throat of your opponent”). These are admirable traits. But Ouimet is just another Caucasian guy out of a bazillion Caucasian guys walking the halls of Congress, wearing charcoal suits, and appearing in gunfomercials. NRA needs a little change in this area. We do, we really do.

This time, while we may have missed an opportunity to hire someone different than the usual at the NRA/ILA, and therefore to better promote and market our beloved NRA, I suggest that in the future we, the NRA, consider adding one or two of the following individuals to the NRA public face and payroll. Let’s start grooming them for it now, so their move into that very public role is seamless.

Candidate Number One: Colion Noir (born Collins Idehen, Jr.). Colion is an attorney, he is knowledgeable about all kinds of guns, he is charismatic, funny, chatty, personable, physically fit, articulate, a very good shot, relatable, and unafraid of debate. He is experienced in TV and press. And Colion is cool, like most black people are cool. Cool black people inspire 93.7% of America’s Caucasian and Asian and Hispanic youth to want to be just as cool, just as hip, so there is something to it. Try some of it, you might like it, stiff Caucasian people.

Candidate Number Two: Col. Allen West. Allen is a well-known political quantity , with a long history of bucking the political and US Army establishment for all the right red-blooded patriotic reasons. Allen West has served with distinction in Congress and the US Army, and he has been a tireless and outspoken fighter for civil rights and good governance. He is articulate, charming, plain spoken, experienced, conservative, independent-minded, a strong leader, and a very good speaker. He would be a perfect NRA/ILA executive director.

And that is what I have to say about that.