After two days of silence following the massacre in Las Vegas, the CEO of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre (aka ‘The Marksman’), has finally spoken out against such mass killings, in terms some commentators are calling ‘unprecedentedly strong’ for his organisation.
Mr LaPierre called the events of Sunday night ‘unfortunate if not regrettable’, adding that he personally found the death toll ‘a little excessive’ and the sight of so many dead bodies ‘distasteful’. His said that the NRA ‘equivocally condemned’ anyone who committed such acts, and in response to questions from the media conceded that the killer was ‘probably a bit of a jerk, or maybe he’d just had a bad day or something, as we all do sometimes’. Although he commended the ‘almost military-standard’ shooting skills of the now-deceased gunman, he questioned whether it had been ‘wise’ to conduct the slaughter at ‘such a politically sensitive time’, and stressed that the NRA had recently written to its members politely asking them to ‘refrain’ from murdering large numbers of strangers in cold blood ‘at least until the silencer legislation is good and passed’.
However, Mr LaPierre did also point out that for many members of his organisation shooting powerful guns at large crowds of random people ‘is a very important part of their lives and a key element of their identity’. He urged the media to respect the feelings of gun users at this time, stressing that some of his members were feeling chastened at the ‘somewhat overblown’ media reaction to the events, and warned that in such a mood they may react badly to further criticism. He pointed out that the high death toll had been the result of ‘some incredibly powerful weaponry’, and expressed ‘relief’ that the ‘very impressive’ collection of weapons used by the shooter do not appear to have suffered any damage. Mr LaPierre also mentioned that the very same models were now on sale on his personal website as part of a ‘Las Vegas Frenzy’ special offer, with a 80% discount for NRA members who are fully paid-up and have murdered at least four people in the last three months.
In response to questions about the possible need for a tightening of regulations regarding gun ownership, Mr LaPierre said that such talk was ‘absolutely unhinged’, and that ‘only a madman’ would suggest that there was any sort of link between guns, bullets and piles of dead bodies. He said that it was ‘monstrous, evil beyond measure’ to suggest, as some people had, that the NRA in any way encouraged such acts, and urged NRA members to ‘take action’ against all politicians who pursued such a ‘truly sick’ agenda, without sparing anyone who happened to be standing in their vicinity. He then asked for a ten-minute silence for the protagonist of the massacre, calling him an ‘exemplary customer’ and a ‘true American hero’.