Perhaps I spent too much time in my formative years listening to conversations between my father and his various friends in the CIA, absorbing a thin layer of information about the intricate web-spinning that is the world of intelligence. One of the things I learned, albeit perhaps not expressed in precisely these words, was: always look beyond the obvious.
I am proud to say I am and have been a life member of the National Rifle Association for close to forty years. I am also a member of the more radical Gun Owners of America and I send money to other pro-Second Amendment organizations as well.
Doubtless you have heard about the internal brouhaha that has disrupted the National Rifle Association just as it has its annual convention. There have been accusations and counter-accusations, threats and counter-threats, ultimatums and ugly rumors, and a lot of negative publicity. All of it comes at a time when the NRA is especially needed. The progressive socialist left is becoming more and more the aggressive anti-gun socialist left, fighting for a disarmed America. Unconstitutional legislation is being proposed on both coasts, so unconstitutional that even the anti-gun American Civil Liberties Union has sided with the NRA in its lawsuit against New York Mobster-in-Chief Andrew Cuomo.
And all this brouhaha comes on the heels of the recently convicted redheaded Russian spy who apparently tried to cozy up to the NRA (as well as many other conservative groups and individuals in Washington), leading to gleefully inaccurate media reports accusing the NRA of “colluding with Russia,” reports that were even less honest and less accurate than those about President Trump colluding with Russia.
Always look beyond the obvious. My first reaction to all this was to think that if I were on the Board of Directors at the NRA, or if I were one of the higher-up employees there, I would quietly and discreetly institute an internal intelligence-study, because all of this smacks very much of dirty tricks. I’m talking about the kinds of dirty tricks national intelligence agencies routinely play on each other, the kinds of dirty tricks the Russians successfully did play on us during the 2016 election: fomenting discord, sowing seeds of distrust, spreading misinformation, planting outrageous-but-plausible lies in the media, hinting at bigger and darker things yet to be revealed. “If you only knew what I know, what I heard, what I saw. It’s so terrible I can’t even bring myself to tell you, but…” Doing all those things that can cause a company or a country to self-destruct.
I would also ask myself who stands to benefit from all this infighting. Is there money to be made? Who stands to benefit internally? Who stand to benefit outside the NRA? Has one of the anti-gun organizations planted a mole to pass on information and disrupt when and where possible?
Perhaps I’m overly paranoid, but I remember the conversations around my childhood dining table, and I can’t help but think that what works at the international level can work just as well at the corporate level. If it should turn out to be nothing more than internal squabbling for personal reasons, then shame on the NRA, shame on Wayne LaPierre and shame on Oliver North.
I shall continue to support the NRA in any case.