Thoughts on the NRA Press Conference

I just got done watching the NRA’s press conference, and while I have an open thread going for discussion on my fan page, I wanted to put some more concrete thoughts down on the blog. The first thing that I definitely want to say is that I think on the balance, the entire press conference was solid. The School Shield program is a much better idea than some random AWB, and is something that is actionable relatively quickly. So for proposing that as a counterpoint, I think the NRA deserves credit and points.

So, the good points were the actual definable program that’s actionable fairly quickly, and I thought that Asa Hutchinson was particularly good at presenting his portion of it. In fact, I felt like Mr. Hutchinson’s portion of the press conference was by far the best part of it, and should have been the focal point of the press conference. Unfortunately it won’t be.

The reason it won’t be is because of two little things that happened – the first being that during his remarks, Wayne LaPierre predictably brought up the standard conservative saw of “violent video games and media.” But that part was really weird, because instead of pointing to any one of the modern examples of violent video games and media, it felt like he was talking about 1996 all over again, referencing Mortal Kombat and Natural Born Killers. It felt weird and dated and will provide anti-gun folks with the handy talking point about how the NRA is old and out of touch and also old. Unlike some of my colleagues, I don’t feel like it particularly alienated any one video game playing demographic, because by pointing various cartoonish examples of video game violence, it left alone the most popular games like Call of Duty, Halo, etc. Someone playing Call of Duty could easy watch that press conference and think “yeah, but I don’t play weird games, I just like to fight terrorists.” Or they could assume that NRA hates all gamers. Really could go either way on that one.

The problem with calling out violent video games and media is that it’s a distraction at best and will deflect the conversation that should be had around the NRA’s new School Shield initiative. However, of all the things I came away with from that press conference, one keeps sticking with me.

Is it time for Wayne LaPierre to step down? I have a tremendous amount of respect for the man and what NRA has accomplished during his tenure in the big chair, but today he looked tired and frazzled and not like a charismatic, hard charging leader. The man has been in the trenches for a long time, and that has to take a toll; would we have been better off if that had been Chris Cox standing up there directing the show?

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