I met National Rifle Association Veep Wayne LaPierre at SHOT Show. We had a brief moment of togetherness between booths; just me Wayne, his bodyguard and his Executive Assistant. What’s he like? Let’s just say any similarity between Mr. LaPierre and a Disney Audio-Animatronic is strictly coincidental. Mr. LaPierre launched into a spiel that included something not unlike a fist pump accompanied by “We gotta win in 2014!” OK, then. To be fair, busy! Also, Wayne’s world is so big it makes aircraft carriers look like hydrofoil racers. So it’s no surprise, really, that it’s taken the NRA five days to respond to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s threat to “make them wish they weren’t alive.” Over at dailycaller.com, the NRA-ILA [finally] counter-attacked by highlighting Harvey’s personal security arrangements . . .
In 2012, following an extortion attempt against Weinstein, a source shared with the New York Post, “[t]he Weinsteins have always had intense security and been on high alert because of the movies they make.” The paper also noted that while producing The Master, a film that received opposition from some in the Scientology community, Weinstein “beef[ed] up his own security.” And a New York Times account of Weinstein’s 2013 Golden Globes after party described a scene where, “Harvey Weinstein appeared… amid a retinue of security.”
An entire retinue of bodyguards is outside the purchasing power of most Americans, but contrary to what Weinstein might think, their personal safety is no less important than his. Unfortunately, this penchant to utilize private security personnel while working to limit access to the tools of effective self-defense for those of lesser economic stature is pervasive amongst the most wealthy gun control supporters.
I’m not sure this approach is the right one. Oh how the libs laughed when the NRA’s post-Newtown attack ad pointed out that the President’s children are protected by guns while the CIC and his anti-gun allies seek to disarm average Americans, leaving their kids defenseless in “gun-free zones.” “You can’t compare the President of the United States’ security needs to the average American’s!” No really.
Of course, it’s not the libs to which the NRA speaks. They preach to the converted and, one assumes, fence straddlers. Who seem immune to the NRA’s “us vs. them” rhetoric. Thanks to mainstream media vilification, the NRA “brand” is not the best proponent of pro-gun populism. Just sayin’. Anyway, the NRA-ILA’s editorial is a one-two-punch. The second blow: pointing out Harvey’s hypocrisy.
In July of 2012, following the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., the producer told The Huffington Post, “I think, as filmmakers, we should sit down–the Marty Scorseses, the Quentin Tarantinos, and hopefully all of us who deal in violence in movies–and discuss our role in that.” Nevertheless, it’s not clear whether such “discussions” (if indeed they occurred) suggest any remorse, or merely led to further deals to produce more of the same violent content. Besides the planned NRA film, Kill Bill Vol. 3 and Halloween III are now in production.
And . . . that’s it. As someone who writes more than a million words per year, I gotta say: meh. And I’ve said this before: the NRA needs to be a LOT lighter on its feet. The news cycle is 24 hours. (It’s actually 24 minutes but you gotta run before you sprint.) The gun rights group also needs to re-think the way it sells itself to people who’d no more buy an NRA-branded .50-caliber bottle opener than vote their guns. Which they don’t have. Yet.
But what these non-NRA folk do have is a sense of fairness and decency. Weinstein’s threat was over-the-top offensive to people who believe in civilized political debate – even if they respond with Pavlovian predictability to its opposite and flock to violent movies in droves. Regardless, the NRA-ILA should have taken the high road on Weinstein’s throw-down, deploying both immediacy and personality. Colion Noir should have led that charge.