NRA Promoting Civil War in Desperate Bid to Keep Trump in Power
On Sunday, the NRA posted a follow-up video to “The Violence of Lies” through their NRA-TV Twitter feed. The new video, “Organized Anarchy,” features former Navy SEAL Dom Raso and appears to spur American military service members to back the Trump administration and Republican Congress against the forces of the political left, with violence if necessary.
In the video, Raso compares Americans who have protested the Trump administration to Hitler’s Nazis and radical Islamists. He suggests that the Obama administration was (is?) responsible for promoting violent protest across the nation. “I’m disgusted that we as Americans are accepting to live with these conditions,” states Raso. The protests are “organized anarchy” that is becoming “unmanageable,” he says, suggesting they pose a threat to the stability of the country. The only images of protesters shown in the entire video are young, black-garbed Anarchists (including the small group of Anarchists who showed up in D.C. on Inauguration Day and did some property damage). No footage is included of the millions of Americans who have participated in the historic Women’s March protests, or attended Congressional town halls, or registered voters, etc.
The second half of the video contains a direct appeal to veterans, a different direction than we saw on “The Violence of Lies,” which spoke more broadly to the NRA’s armed citizen supporters. Addressing Americans on the left, Raso snarls, “Instead of smashing windows and degrading the value of that freedom [earned by our nation’s veterans], try showing some respect by thanking a veteran, or someone that has helped lay the foundation of this amazing country that we have the opportunity to live in.”
The message the video delivers to active duty military service members and veterans is essentially this: “Americans currently protesting the Trump administration and Congress are as dangerous and evil as the Nazis and radical Islamists you have fought and killed on battlefields in foreign countries. The protests have become too much to bear and must be stopped.”
Pretty fucking dangerous, huh?
Raso’s remarks earned immediate criticism from veterans, one who wrote, “Veteran hagiography has consequences. We are not nor should be arbiters or safekeeers of patriotism.”
Why would the NRA — an organization with a budget in the $350 million range — produce a series of radical videos that appear to foment violent civil war in our country?
The modern-day NRA is a white supremacist group that — because of the success of its lobbying at the federal, state and local level — is given broad legal authority by the government to sell weapons to the general public for profit.* The NRA’s recent silence about the killing of Philando Castile once again exposed their racist bent. But ideology is merely a propaganda tool to the NRA, to be altered as needed given political circumstances. Consider the organization’s immediate pivot from an insurrectionist organization under a black president (Barack Obama) to a fascist one under a white president (Donald Trump). The true god of NRA executives like Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox is money, not demagoguery.
The NRA has vested a great deal of its money in Donald Trump. $30 million-plus, to be exact, and they need that investment to pay off, for a couple of reasons.
Number one, gun ownership in the United States has been steadily declining for decades and the NRA is facing a saturated civilian market for firearms. They’re trying to convince that white, middle-aged guy who owns at least 10 guns already to keep buying firearms, ammo, and accessories. In order to bolster the gun industry, the NRA’s allies have introduced the ridiculously named “Hearing Protection Act” in Congress. The Act would eliminate federal regulation of silencers for firearms (which dates back to the 1930s), making them widely available and easily acquired on the civilian market. President Trump has indicated he will sign any NRA bill that Congress sends him (“The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” he told the NRA at their annual meeting in April. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House … I will never let you down.”).
The NRA knows they are never going to get a government more favorable to their agenda than Trump and this Republican Congress. They are All-In at this point on a strategy to make conservative whites repeat gun customers for life (this includes white law enforcement officers as well, as recently highlighted by Radley Balko in the Washington Post). Both the NRA and the contemporary GOP want an America in which whites are dominant in the political and business sectors (that is why the NRA speaks out so frequently on the issue of immigration, or as they call it, “illegal alien gangs”). If the federal government were to flip to Democrats, the NRA’s silencer bill would be tabled and a multicultural America would once again become inevitable.
Number two, if Trump goes down, it’s possible he could take the NRA with him. Like Trump, the NRA has close ties to the government of Vladimir Putin, dating back to at least 2011. [See “From Russia with Love for the NRA” for a chronological timeline of the NRA-Russia relationship.] For some reason that escapes me, the media has refused to take a deep dive into these ties, but now that we have direct evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia, reporters could begin looking closely at other actors in the conservative movement that aided Putin. The NRA’s threads are just waiting to be pulled on. I suspect they are feeling pretty nervous right now as Robert Mueller, “smoking gun” in hand, closes in on his prey.
This explains the desperation that is palpable in the two recent NRA videos. The NRA has a lot on the line with Trump and serious potential liability.
In the past, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and his longtime PR team at Ackerman-McQueen (who work on their videos) have never had any problem sacrificing the lives of Americans for their bottom line. So none of us should be surprised that they would attempt to turn Americans on one another in a bloody civil war in order to intimidate the Resistance, distract the media, and create the chaos needed for Trump to seize greater executive powers during his moment of peak vulnerability.
Thankfully, gun owners seem to be rejecting the NRA’s radical new messaging in droves (the comments on their Facebook post of “The Violence of Lies” are a must-read), dulling the possibility of “freedom fighters” taking the law into their own hands. Now we must ensure that the NRA does go down with Trump by pressing journalists to expand their investigations to include an analysis of the NRA-Russia relationship.
* I suspect we will hear from the inevitable pro-gun activists claiming “the NRA is not the gun industry.” In truth, the NRA president is Pete Brownell, the CEO of the firearm retailer Brownells. He’s not the only gun industry exec on their board of directors. The NRA’s lobbying arm (NRA-ILA) gets millions of dollars in direct corporate contributions every year from gun and ammo companies through its “Ring of Freedom” program. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The NRA keeps firearms regulations loose so gun company execs like Brownell can arm the “secondary market” (unregulated so that prohibited purchasers can buy firearms, too) and make big profits. In return, those execs kick back a nice chunk of those profits back to the NRA.