Boar Down!

Herschel Smith · 30 Oct 2022 · 11 Comments

Readers may have noticed I was absent the last several days.  It was a good time away.  A very good buddy and neighbor of mine, Robert, and I went hunting courtesy of the fine folks with Williams Hunting in South Carolina. I was shooting a 6mm ARC rifle with a Grendel Hunter upper, Aero Precision lower, Amend2 magazines, Brownells scope mount, Radian Raptor charging handle, Nikon Black scope, and a Viking Tactics sling.  I have no complaints about the gun.  It's at least a 1 MOA gun…… [read more]

One Man’s Perspective On Wayne LaPierre

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 5 months ago

From a reader, The Firearms Patent Attorney:

Poor Wayne.  No one complained that he earns over a million dollars a year leading the NRA ($5M according to Wikipedia).  No one paid attention to whether or not he flies in private jets to NRA events – I don’t know but I assume so.  Questionable but tolerable.  I try to fly first class to industry events and amortizing a $1000 ticket over a hundred meetings at the SHOT Show or NRA Annual Meeting makes it a good investment in reduced stress when every bit of positive energy helps.  If Dallas-area attendees ever want to link up to share a private jet I’m happy to make arrangements.

Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered.  Leaked documents show that Wayne received hundreds of thousands of dollars in private overseas jet travel, including the Bahamas and Italy (where I understand there was a brief appearance in an NRA video).  A $4000/month apartment for a stunningly blonde “summer intern.”  But what got me was the clothing.  The Wall Street Journal reported:

“Wayne LaPierre billed the group’s ad agency $39,000 for one day of shopping at a Beverly Hills clothing boutique, $18,300 for a car and driver in Europe, and had the agency cover $13,800 in rent for a summer intern, according to newly revealed NRA internal documents.”

I got curious about the clothing and learned both to my pride and my horror that Wayne and I wear the same brand of suits, the unpronounceable Ermenegildo Zegna (“ZAY-nyah”).  The only difference is that I paid for mine (actually, it was an extravagant Christmas gift from Karmen) for about the cost of a fine custom 1911 from a top maker.  You’ll see me in it essentially every day of SHOT, NRA, and NASGW for the next ten years (and probably for ten more years with patched elbows!)  I can afford to change my shirt and tie every day, but not the suit.

So, I was irritated to think that all the regular “end users” that populate the aisles of the NRA show, and who buy the products that keep our industry alive, are paying for the million-dollar exec’s luxury clothing.  Buy your own clothes, dude!  I don’t care if you have to look good on TV – Buy your own damn clothes from your own salary!

As an aside, I did rather well in my taxation classes in law school and recall vividly that under no circumstances is clothing considered a deductible business expense (safety gear and otherwise unusable uniforms aside).  Which makes me idly wonder if Wayne’s accountants are scurrying to file amended returns including the value of as taxable income as I presume one must – my “Zegna” was paid for with after-tax savings just like all your own clothes.

But it gets worse, much worse.

[ … ]

It turns out that blood is thicker than water.  Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors was founded by William A. Brewer III in 1984 and has just 15 attorneys listed on their website.  Doing the math, a $1.5 million monthly bill averages out to $100,000 per attorney, but of course we know that’s not how things work.

Then I learned from a cranky NRA member on Facebook why this small firm might have had an inside track to land the NRA’s plum case: Brewer’s father-in-law is CEO of Ack-Mack, the NRA’s high-dollar PR agency!  Again, I don’t fault the law firm for taking advantage of family ties, and they might well be the best choice for the case whose issues I haven’t even looked into and don’t yet have an opinion on.

But, I’m more worried if the NRA is making BIG decisions in the right way for the right reasons.  Did Wayne himself make the call to steer the eight-figure plum case to the kin of the company that jets him around the world and fills his closet with the finest suits?  Or did the Board make this call, fully informed of all the relationships and possible personal interests?  I hope the latter – maybe one of the 76 Directors can let me know.  Were other firms considered or was it just a remarkable coincidence that the best law firm in the nation to handle the matter was so closely related to the PR firm that received $40,000,000 from the NRA in 2017?  It may be that the law firm is handling more than the legal dispute – they tout PR capabilities so maybe are handling some of Ack-Mack’s duties – I’m only speculating and have no idea.

Sidebar: When the NRA gets its act together again can we please have it stop with the embarrassing and exploitative marketing tactics?  I have to assume that Carry Guard is a terrible insurance choice that exploits the fears of ignorant consumers, and that no sensible business person would opt for.  Same for the cozy relationship between the gold -hawkers on the NRA Magazine cover and taking up precious display space at the NRA Annual meeting exhibition hall – no investment advisor would dream of suggesting investing in rare gold coins.  Precious metals may have a place in a portfolio, but those guys in gold jackets make my skin crawl when I think of how naïve customers think they are making a good “investment.”

And it goes on, and on, and on, including donations to Hillary, and “last year to Beto O’Rourke in his race against stalwart Second Amendment supporter Ted Cruz (my Senator).   And maximum donations (over $10k) to Hillary in 2008 and before, and even to Al Franken.”

We all knew that it was bad with the NRA becoming so festering that the pimple simply needed to burst its puss before it could ever heal.  This analysis takes a deep dive into the puss.

But I do have one comment.  I’d rather have a good 1911 than a stitch of clothing any day.

Wayne LaPierre And The Apocalypse

BY Herschel Smith
10 years, 9 months ago

Kurt Hofmann has a must-read article on the connection between gun confiscations and gun registration (or so-called universal background check).  It’s an issue I have been discussing for some time.  Kurt begins his article this way.

St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner is a frequent and vocal critic of the NRA (see here and here for recent examples), often wondering if the organization’s leadership is merely naively optimistic, à la Neville Chamberlain, in its dealings with the forcible citizen disarmament extremists, or actively collaborationist, à la Vidkun Quisling. Honesty requires, however, acknowledgement of effective steps the NRA does take in defense of gun rights.

Read the rest at Examiner.  Taking off on this honesty though, I have also been a critic of the NRA before, begging, as it were, the NRA to put its full force behind educating the public to the dangers of universal background checks as a pretext for and necessary precondition to a national gun registry, which is itself a precondition for gun confiscations.

Today I received a flyer in the mail from the NRA where they said exactly that.  The NRA might be frustrating at times, but they are still the largest and most powerful gun rights organization in America, and it matters what they say.  I don’t partake in pitting one organization against another.  That’s a loser’s proposition, and it’s what the enemy wants us to do.  I sincerely appreciate each organization that protects gun rights and stands against the totalitarian state.  I will correct them when they wander, and praise them when they do well.

Moving on to Wayne, he is under criticism these days, most notably for his belief in a coming apocalypse and the prudence of guns to address it at a personal level.

National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre is again under fire after penning an op-ed that claimed Americans need guns to fight off rampant gangs, terrorists and psychotics.

LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, claimed the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy showed what the future would hold, and why every law-abiding citizen needs to arm themselves.

“We saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia,” he wrote in the Daily Caller. “Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.”

Immediately LaPierre was attacked. Former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough said, “He has lost his mind,” on his MSNBC show Morning Joe, while President Barack Obama’s strategist David Plouffe called the NRA head “delusional.”

In his argument against new gun control laws, LaPierre described a world where Americans would be defenseless without guns and fall prey to everything from terrorists and Latin American drug gangs to civil unrest and looters in the wake of natural disasters. He said Americans would, in effect, be crazy not to arm themselves against the coming calamity and to rise up in protection of their Second Amendment rights.

Well, Joe Scarborough is a moron and so the balance of what he said is unimportant, but let’s consider the state of the union for a moment.

Pakistan is now our enemy.  We are withdrawing forces from Afghanistan after having lost the campaign because we wanted to wage nation-building instead of war.  Libya is now a disaster, and we left our men to perish in Benghazi with forces available to respond to their need.  Iran is headed towards a nuclear weapon and Israel is alone in her quest for self preservation.  War is coming to the Middle East, and we won’t be energy independent when it happens mostly because of the EPA.

Russia is reasserting itself unopposed in its “near abroad,” and China owns 1.17 trillion in U.S. Treasury Securities.  Our Southern border may as well not exist, and MS-13 is in every major city in the U.S., and most smaller cities, while some in the border patrol and law enforcement across America are bought off with drug money.  The cartels South of the border have morphed into transnational warlords who kidnap, extort, murder, traffic, and torture, and they’re moving North.

We’re in horrible national debt, and our unfunded liabilities reach a staggering $87 trillion.  Within ten years, the interest on the national debt will reach $10 trillion per year, the unemployment rate is still hovering around 8% or higher, the under-employment rate is still around 18% or higher, a recovery is nowhere in sight and won’t be until we get spending and entitlements under control, half of the American people don’t pay federal taxes, 47 million people rely on food stamps and that roll is growing at the rate of 11,000 per day, and the U.S. Marines are set to lose 20,000 men.

We are too broke to refuel our aircraft carriers, the administration has – for now – gotten away with walking guns across the Southern border in an effort to bolster support for gun control in America, food prices may soon soar, and amidst it all, the administration is working hard on that currently critical need to take guns away from the American people, which would of course be the catalyst for fourth generation warfare in America.

I think Wayne is on solid ground here.  In short, good flyer in the mail, good call on a former ally turned enemy, and keep it up.  As for the apocalypse, I don’t have to be told by anyone.  I’m doing my best to prepare for it.  Are you?

UPDATE: Thanks to Mike Vanderboegh for the link.

UPDATE #2: Thanks to David Codrea for the link.

UPDATE #3: Thanks to David Hardy for the link.

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