The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 19, 2013

John Sullivan, guest columnist: NRA leader doesn't represent all Americans

By John Sullivan
Special to The Globe

— National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre is an unabashed gunslinger.

To him, the only answer to gun violence is more and bigger guns. Beware of the rhetoric he is slinging, however. Why? Follow the money. He is owned lock, stock and barrel by the gun manufacturers. He does not represent legitimate gun owners, most of whom think universal background checks for gun buyers is a good idea.

He represents the gun sellers. His only agenda is to keep selling whatever guns his mentors are manufacturing, and to whip up gun buying into a frenzy by fearmongering that President Barack Obama’s agenda is to take away your guns and to repeal your Second Amendment rights.

That is pure balderdash, but he seems to believe his conspiratorial assertions. Why? Because they fuel his one and only objective — to sell more guns and make more money. He is a one-issue, single-minded advocate for the gun makers. He eats, breathes and sleeps the agenda of selling more guns, any and all guns. The facts be damned about what this gun culture has brought about in this great nation.

LaPierre is not only wrong. He is dead — or perhaps deadly — wrong, and he is going to fight with all his might to make sure the agenda of the American people is set aside, and that the free-for-all gun culture continues its hegemony. Stand in his way, and his mighty checkbook will defeat you. Will crush you.

In the immortal words of William Shakespeare: “The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.” The American people should pay him no heed.

LaPierre’s speech in response to the president’s State of the Union deserves its own response. The president was elected to represent all the people of this country and to try to seek ways of curing our ills, fixing what ails us and ensuring our continued prosperity.

He generally outlines his strategies once a year before Congress in the State of the Union speech. There is even an official rebuttal from the opposition party. There is no reason for Mr. LaPierre to presume to rebut the president’s agenda, in his own State of the Union rebuttal speech.

No one elected you, Mr. LaPierre. Your unreasoned and unrepentant rhetoric is a blot on our body politic. You, Mr. LaPierre , would not know the truth if it jumped up and bit you in the derrière. Time for you to move out of the way.

As the president said in his address: “They deserve a vote. The survivors of Newtown deserve a vote. Gabby Giffords deserves a vote."

The American people deserve a vote. Mr. LaPierre deserves to exit stage right.

John Sullivan lives in Pittsburg, Kan., where he teaches at Pittsburg State University.