December 5, 2018


George H.W. Bush's public rejection of the NRA exemplified his commitment to 'duty, honor and country' (Michael E. Diamond, 12/05/18, NBC News)

Bush, an avid hunter, had been a lifetime member of the NRA. Like many of his generation, the NRA to him was an organization dedicated to the promotion of hunting and firearm training. But during his political rise, that version of the NRA fundamentally changed, and Bush was wise enough to see it.

Just days before the deadly Oklahoma City bombing, where a domestic terrorist targeted federal agents and killed 168 people, the NRA sent out a fundraising letter in which NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre referred to federal agents as "armed terrorists dressed in Ninja black ... jack-booted thugs armed to the teeth who break down doors, open fire with automatic weapons and kill law-abiding citizens."

The "jack-booted thugs" imagery has long been associated with Nazi storm troopers. The letter showed just how far the NRA was sliding into lunatic conspiracy territory, but the organization's refusal to recant LaPierre's words in the wake of the bombing six days later seemed to be the last straw for Bush. He reacted by publicly resigning his membership.

His letter to the organization stated that "your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country. It indirectly slanders a wide array of government law enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us."

Bush was of an era where it was important to recognize who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. Comparing U.S. law enforcement to Nazis while advocating for irresponsible gun policy would have been tough for a guy like Bush to swallow. So he didn't.

That awareness of good and evil also led Bush to stand in opposition to the regime in Moscow, which at the time restricted peoples' access to free markets, free press and individual liberties. And while not much has changed in terms of Moscow's hostility to those ideals, one thing absolutely has changed: Vladimir Putin's Russia loves America's NRA.

Posted by at December 5, 2018 6:10 PM