Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Bastards Behind The NRA

When you consider the enduring power of the National Rifle Rampage Association to frustrate the will of the majority of the American people who want sensible gun control legislation, you rightly consider the effect of millions of dollars being funneled into the pockets of Republican office holders. You also may think of the single- issue gun humpers whose outsized influence causes craven Republican (and your occasional "Democrat") to cower in fear.

But also consider this:  the NRA is a lobbying organization that fronts for those who profit from the glut of weaponry in America today, especially those who live the good life while their war weapons are used over and over again for mass murder.  The real bastards the NRA shields are the gun manufacturers, and there are several great reads about these "merchants of death."

Back in 2016, Mother Jones' Josh Harkinson investigated the hidden world of the 10 biggest gun manufacturers in America, the bastards behind the NRA.  It's a must- read if you're interested in getting to the sources of the gun misery in America:
They are all white, all middle-aged, and all men. A few live openly lavish lifestyles, but the majority fly under the radar. Rarely is there news about them in the mainstream media or even the trade press. Their obscurity would seem unremarkable if we were talking about the biggest manufacturers of auto accessories or heating systems. But these are America’s top gunmakers—leaders of the nation’s most controversial industry. They have kept their heads down and their fingerprints off regulations designed to protect their businesses—foremost a law that shields gun companies from liability for crimes committed with their products. [snip] 
Many of these companies’ top executives have donned the jacket bestowed to members of the Golden Ring of Freedom, an exclusive club for $1 million-plus donors to the National Rifle Association. Several have been the focus of criminal investigations and lawsuits over everything from arms trafficking and fraud to armed robbery and racketeering.
Sturm Ruger, for example:
... Sturm Ruger CEO Michael Fifer lobbied personally against a Connecticut ban on high-capacity magazines, commonly used with the company’s semi-automatic rifles. “The regulation of magazine capacity will not deter crime, but will instead put law-abiding citizens at risk of harm,” Fifer wrote to state lawmakers in early 2011. The legislation died in committee that April. At the NRA’s annual Corporate Executives Luncheon the next year, Fifer presented a check to the group for more than $1.25 million—$1 for every Sturm Ruger gun purchased the prior year. Eight months later, 20-year-old Adam Lanza used a semi-auto­matic rifle and a 30-round magazine to gun down 20 children and six adults at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, located just 27 miles from Sturm Ruger’s headquarters.  
In the year following the shooting, Sturm Ruger’s profits increased 56 percent. Fifer’s compensation that year was more than $2.6 million. He sits on the board of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a lobby group based in Newtown and run by former Sturm Ruger executive Steve Sanetti. Sturm Ruger’s largest shareholders are mutual fund giant Vanguard Group and a private investment firm, London Company of Virginia, which has assets worth $10.6 billion, including holdings in ammunition, cigarettes, missiles, and caskets.
Ammunition, cigarettes, missiles and caskets. Looks like London Co. has you covered.

Michael Daly at the Daily Beast focuses on the CEO whose company is responsible for the war weapon used in the Florida high school shooting, and drives home the point that sludge like the NRA's Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch are just human shields:
All the scorn and invective prompted by LaPierre and Loesch only means that they are doing their job and that the NRA is earning the millions in contributions it receives from the gun companies. 
Proof that the NRA earns its big bucks from the gun industry comes if you ask survivors about James Debney. 
A quick Google search shows that P. James Debney is the CEO and president of American Outdoor Brands, which until last year was named Smith & Wesson. 
By whatever name, the company Debney heads manufactured the AR-15 assault rifle that Cruz used to kill 14 Stoneman High students and three staff members. 
LaPierre and Loesch are just mouthpieces and the NRA is just an industry shill. 
Debney and American Outdoor Brands actually made and marketed the monstrously lethal murder weapon.
 Of course, P. James is a well- compensated sociopath:
Debney earns more than $5 million a year in what the Stoneman High survivors would no doubt consider blood money. He owns a large tract of land in Hemden, Massachusetts, not far from the company headquarters in Springfield. 
The property includes a riding facility, for Debney’s daughter is said to be something of a prodigy equestrian. Debney’s wife, Karen, is so dedicated that she reportedly drives their daughter seven hours each way on the weekends to work with a top trainer in Maryland. 
The daughter—who seems to be an altogether nice kid—won a big championship in October, when she was just 13. Had she been living in Florida rather than Massachusetts and were she a student at Stoneman High, she could have been in the freshman building on Valentine’s Day when one of daddy Debney's modern sporting rifles proved so murderously reliable. 
But hey, business is business. 
And those were somebody else’s kids.
The current effort to get companies to stop doing business with the NRA should continue, but has to go to the next level -- pressure on mutual funds and investment companies to divest their interests in these merchants of death, especially those that produce the automatic rifles. As long as the NRA is allowed to solely absorb the punishment it rightfully deserves without the bastards behind them being impacted, it will be business as usual with these sociopaths.

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