A short memo to critics of the NRA

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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby A-R » Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:39 pm

lkd wrote:
seamusTX wrote:The NRA is not going to reflect the views of 4 million members precisely. The NRA's explanations of its actions are not going to satisfy 4 million members. Those are simply facts of life. I don't know of any organization or even family where everyone agrees about everything.

I'll say it again: I don't agree with NRA about everything. But I realize that it's the biggest and most effective RKBA organization, and I will continue to support it publicly and criticize it privately.



We definitely agree on this, Jim. It's just my opinion that the NRA needs to do a better job of showing that they're _listening_ instead of _telling_. But as you also point out, 4 million people represents a LOT of diverse voices.


I wholeheartedly agree with almost every word of BOTH of these posts.

My only concern is this idea that an organization such as the NRA should only be criticized privately. I believe any organization that holds itself to represent "the right way" in any facet of life is entitled to - and must be ready, willing, and able to humbly accept - public criticism. Such is the basis of representative democracy not only in government, but also in member-driven groups of any kind (as distinguished from businesses or other private or semi-private interests).

For years, I had a less than stellar view of the NRA - caused in great part by biased media representations, but also by missteps by NRA leadership. Many of these missteps amounted to little more than the NRA being "tone deaf" to the din of public opinion, but when the majority of the media is against you, adding your own tone deaf response can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Thankfully, the NRA has improved and is a much better organization today than it was even 10 years ago. Why did my own personal feelings change? In great part from hearing actual members who were willing to admit the organizations' mistakes and tout its successes. The organization can still seem, as ikd put it, to be "telling" people what to do instead of "listening" to their concerns. But as long as the members are willing to listen to criticism openly and with restraint, the organization itself will thrive.

My point is simply this: us against them logic can only get you so far. And holding up any organization as above criticism will instantly scare off potential new members who don't want to be required to drink the Kool Aid in order to join. But an organization - and more importantly the members of an organization - that is willing to take a candid look at itself will survive and will show potential members it is open to new ideas and discussions.

The NRA is a great organization. It is not a perfect organization and never will be. As Jim says, 4 million voices can't all speak in unison all the time.

But telling naysayers to look at either end of a horse only guarantees those people will stay naysayers. Inviting them to level their respectful criticism, then responding with civility and statesmanship can sway minds.
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby ELB » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:01 pm

+1 to everything Seamus/Jim said.

There is nothing wrong with pointing out things the NRA could do better or expressing disagreement in a sober, fact driven manner that support reasonable unemotional conclusions.

But when someone strings two half-facts together with an absolutist attitude and launches a flaming arrow using terms like "sell out," "doesn't listen to its members" (which of course, really means "me"), "gag order," and the like, that is not helpful to either the NRA orthe RKBA cause.
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby pbwalker » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:18 pm

ELB wrote:But when someone strings two half-facts together with an absolutist attitude and launches a flaming arrow using terms like "sell out," "doesn't listen to its members" (which of course, really means "me"), "gag order," and the like, that is not helpful to either the NRA orthe RKBA cause.


I would say that, too, applies to any pro-RKBA groups. The "what have you done?" attitude doesn't help. Ultimately, we're all after the same goal. It's the 'how to go about it' that is argued. So, no, the JPFO, SAF, or GOA haven't done the same thing that the NRA has. They don't have the same membership numbers. But remember, we're all pro-2A. Let's hug it out! :lol:

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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby A-R » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:28 pm

ELB wrote:+1 to everything Seamus/Jim said.

There is nothing wrong with pointing out things the NRA could do better or expressing disagreement in a sober, fact driven manner that support reasonable unemotional conclusions.

But when someone strings two half-facts together with an absolutist attitude and launches a flaming arrow using terms like "sell out," "doesn't listen to its members" (which of course, really means "me"), "gag order," and the like, that is not helpful to either the NRA orthe RKBA cause.


It's all relative. And what's good for the goose ...

If someone is telling outright lies about an organization, sure ignore them or chastise them. But half-truths deserve at least half an explanation. And resorting to attacking any criticism of an organization as automatically counterproductive is in itself counterproductive.

I'm all for sober, fact-driven, reasonable, unemotional discussion ... but its a two-way street. Even if confronted with a criticism of your organization that does not meet this standard, one should still respond in a way that DOES live up to this standard. By doing so you not only rebut the criticism but also demonstrate your resolute belief in the righteousness of your cause, which cannot be swayed by petty criticism. By taking the high ground, you prove the worthiness of your cause.
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby A-R » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:29 pm

pbwalker wrote:
ELB wrote:But when someone strings two half-facts together with an absolutist attitude and launches a flaming arrow using terms like "sell out," "doesn't listen to its members" (which of course, really means "me"), "gag order," and the like, that is not helpful to either the NRA orthe RKBA cause.


I would say that, too, applies to any pro-RKBA groups. The "what have you done?" attitude doesn't help. Ultimately, we're all after the same goal. It's the 'how to go about it' that is argued. So, no, the JPFO, SAF, or GOA haven't done the same thing that the NRA has. They don't have the same membership numbers. But remember, we're all pro-2A. Let's hug it out! :lol:


Well said. I agree and support you. But I'm not going to hug you :leaving

:smilelol5:
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby seamusTX » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:56 pm

Austinrealtor, I have several distinct concerns:

As I said earlier, the NRA has a proven track record. To achieve its goals, the NRA has had to lie down with dogs, wrestle with pigs, and otherwise get dirty. That is the nature of practical politics. It pains me to see the NRA leadership then criticized for not being ideologically pure enough.

This public criticism generally does not come from NRA members (though it might — Michael Moore is a life member of the NRA). Mostly it comes from people who are not members, never will be members, and run organizations that I consider self-serving (IMHO).

There is a much larger body of people who are not NRA members for a variety of reasons, including the notion that their name will get on some government list, the NRA sends too much junk mail, the NRA has its lips glued to the butt cheeks of politicians that they don't like, or the NRA doesn't endorse candidates that they do like.

These people do not hesitate to criticize the NRA; but somehow, I doubt the NRA leadership could ever satisfy them.

Finally, when RKBA proponents publicly criticize the NRA, this criticism is recycled by anti-RKBA interests in the form of "even NRA members disagree with X." Just look at the garbage on this link.

Everyone has a right to free speech. I don't deny that. But please think about what you say and know the possible consequences of saying it.

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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby seamusTX » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:16 pm

austinrealtor wrote:I'm all for sober, fact-driven, reasonable, unemotional discussion ... but its a two-way street. Even if confronted with a criticism of your organization that does not meet this standard, one should still respond in a way that DOES live up to this standard.

Given the volume of criticism of the NRA as "the gun lobby" and "wanting every 12-year-old to be able to bring a machine gun to school," this is an impossible task. It would be like swatting every mosquito in Texas in July.

You can't believe how much rhetoric of this sort has been generated by the McDonald decision until you look and listen.

And just with respect to the McDonald decision, everyone who is anti-RKBA give the NRA complete credit for this decision, while many of those within the pro-RKBA community diminish the role of the NRA.

I am addressing bona fide RKBA advocates who seem to be more concerned with ideological purity than results. They complain that the NRA has not achieved enough, or lately that the leadership has failed to abandon the interest of the membership for the sake of some abstract principle.

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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby pbwalker » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:19 pm

seamusTX wrote:I am addressing bona fide RKBA advocates who seem to be more concerned with ideological purity than results. They complain that the NRA has not achieved enough, or lately that the leadership has failed to abandon the interest of the membership for the sake of some abstract principle.

- Jim


Based on what I have read in recent NRA related threads, I assume you only find the NRA to be a bona fide advocate? (on a national level)
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby seamusTX » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:35 pm

That assumption is incorrect.

I'm confident that all the other three- and four-letter organizations, the Pink Pistols, etc., sincerely support the RKBA. So do many individuals who are not members of any organization.

What scorches my grits is when people who have done nothing significant criticize the NRA for not achieving enough. It reminds me of couch-potato sports fans (who would drop dead before completing a 1K run) who scream about a fumble or bad play.

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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby KFP » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:51 pm

pbwalker wrote:
seamusTX wrote:I am addressing bona fide RKBA advocates who seem to be more concerned with ideological purity than results. They complain that the NRA has not achieved enough, or lately that the leadership has failed to abandon the interest of the membership for the sake of some abstract principle.

- Jim


Based on what I have read in recent NRA related threads, I assume you only find the NRA to be a bona fide advocate? (on a national level)


Do you ever hear an elected official mention any others?

Do you ever hear any mainstream media mention any others?

Everyone "knows" the NRA, only us gun nuts know about GOA, JPFO, etc.
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby pbwalker » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:51 pm

KFP wrote:
pbwalker wrote:
seamusTX wrote:I am addressing bona fide RKBA advocates who seem to be more concerned with ideological purity than results. They complain that the NRA has not achieved enough, or lately that the leadership has failed to abandon the interest of the membership for the sake of some abstract principle.

- Jim


Based on what I have read in recent NRA related threads, I assume you only find the NRA to be a bona fide advocate? (on a national level)


Do you ever hear an elected official mention any others?

Do you ever hear any mainstream media mention any others?

Everyone "knows" the NRA, only us gun nuts know about GOA, JPFO, etc.


Very true, but remember one thing...I'm sure no one was mentioning the NRA in November of 1871. You have to start somewhere...

And I agree with Jim 100% on the "armchair quarterbacking" that is done. If anything, these other organizations should be thanking the NRA for paving the road that they can drive their agenda on. I do think, though, that dismissing them is only doing a disservice.

side note: I've actually enjoyed this thread quite a bit...it's great to be on a forum where civil discourse and intelligent, thought provoking posts are the norm!
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby seamusTX » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:13 pm

pbwalker wrote:... dismissing them is only doing a disservice....

I don't dismiss them. More power to them. They fill niches that the NRA does not.

However, a smarter man than I once said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

Or (not quoting anyone) shoot toward the enemy, not sideways and backward.

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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby A-R » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:31 pm

pbwalker wrote:I've actually enjoyed this thread quite a bit...it's great to be on a forum where civil discourse and intelligent, thought provoking posts are the norm!
:tiphat:


absolutely agree with this.

and thanks to Seamus for stating his opinion and starting the dialogue. sincerely :tiphat:

petty children argue and bicker

true statesman debate and disagree with honesty and civility .... then hoist up a few cold ones and salute this great nation :cheers2:
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby KFP » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:01 pm

pbwalker wrote:Very true, but remember one thing...I'm sure no one was mentioning the NRA in November of 1871. You have to start somewhere...

And I agree with Jim 100% on the "armchair quarterbacking" that is done. If anything, these other organizations should be thanking the NRA for paving the road that they can drive their agenda on. I do think, though, that dismissing them is only doing a disservice.


Absolutely! My simple reasoning used was intended purely to pull us back into the mindset of the average American. The average person "knows" the NRA; meaning, that the know they like guns, fight against restrictions on guns, etc.

The NRA has considerably more members and political capital than other gun rights organizations - resulting in more attention from the media and elected officials. When the NRA speaks, people take note.
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Re: A short memo to critics of the NRA

Postby OldCannon » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:31 pm

"This public criticism generally does not come from NRA members (though it might — Michael Moore is a life member of the NRA)."

This calls for a new adage: "Even a working clock is broken twice a day." (See, cuz Michael Moore is the size of at least two people, and there's this clock, see, and...um.... ok, I gotta work on a better adage :biggrinjester: )
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