At first, NRA Life member Norman McBride assumed his dogs were barking at the deer that frequent his rural property. The dogs persisted, however, so McBride investigated. Police say that as he stepped onto his front porch, he was alarmed to hear someone breaking into his shed. McBride retrieved a pistol and a flashlight, and hurried to the shed as his wife phoned police. Discovering the shed's padlock broken, McBride shone his flashlight inside and demanded that anyone within come out. Two camouflage clad men and one juvenile advanced toward McBride, but they put their hands up and waited for police when they saw his gun. "The law officers thanked [me] several times," McBride wrote in a letter to the NRA, adding that his 2-year-old son is a fourth-generation NRA Life member. (Vandalia Leader, Vandalia, MO, 04/15/09)
Suddenly awakened by the sound of someone removing the screen from her bedroom window, a woman quietly fled to her son's room and woke him. "I got up, grabbed my gun and went to ... her room," said the son, whose identity is being protected. Police say the suspect slid open the window, reached inside and pulled back the blinds. When he stuck his head inside, the son fired two shots. The intruder died nearby. (The Sun Herald, Biloxi, MS, 04/24/09)
Police say a 26-year-old man was filling a prescription at a pharmacy's drive-through window when two women approached his car. One of the women pulled a gun and tried to pull the trigger. For some reason, the woman's gun would not fire, but the man had a gun of his own-and unlike his assailant's, it was legally possessed and fully functional. He drew his firearm and fired two shots, causing the woman to fall to the ground. The man disarmed his assailant and phoned police, who will charge the woman after her release from the hospital. (Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, AZ, 04/24/09)
Three Eastern Washington University seniors had no idea their rented home was about to be targeted by a couple of career criminals with convictions for bank robbery, theft and other charges. Police say the armed men entered the home seeking riches. "I think these people thought there might be more valuables in the house than there actually were," said police detective John Miller. The alleged intruders did not find gold, but they did find lead. One of the college students retrieved a firearm and shot one of the men, causing both suspects to flee. Police found the wounded man in a nearby yard and arrested his accomplice two days later. (Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA, 04/01/09)
A family was relaxing at home when their evening took a terrifying twist: a deranged man began pounding on the door and shouting obscenities. The homeowner ushered his brother, wife and children into a bedroom and locked them inside. According to police, he then loaded his double barrel, 12-ga. shotgun and braced for the suspect's entry. The intruder smashed a sliding-glass door using a wrought iron patio chair and entered the home, but the homeowner wasn't going to let the intruder get any closer to his family. He emptied both barrels, killing the intruder. "When I heard someone tried to break in, I was just grateful he had a gun to protect his family," said a neighbor. "There's a reason the Second Amendment exists. We support gun rights and we would have done the same thing." (Roanoke Times, Roanoke, VA, 04/12/09)
Just as she was about to take a shower, a Seabrook homeowner heard "loud crashing" noises. She grabbed her pistol and came face-to-face with an intruder who had kicked in her back door. Gun in hand, the homeowner told the burglar to stay put while she called the police, but he took off running. Police later arrested the suspect at a nearby hotel. (Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, NH, 4/17/09)
Linda Schultz Russo was at home when, out of nowhere, a disgruntled former employee of her pizza business breached the back door by firing a shotgun through it. Police say Russo was bleeding after the blast, but still had the presence of mind to fight back, running for her 4O-cal. pistol and firing a barrage of shots at the intruder. The wounded man fled the scene. Russo was airlifted to a hospital for treatment and will fully recover. Her attacker will be arrested pending his release from the hospital. (Treasure Coast Newspapers, Fort Pierce, FL, 04/16/09)
Recently, demanding a harsh new federal ban on semi-automatic firearms, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell evoked the defining argument of the gun-ban movement-their twisted confusion between good and evil.
"It's nuts for ordinary citizens to go out and buy assault weapons. Assault weapons are difficult to operate, they jam easily. If you want a gun to protect your home, it's the last thing you should have .... If you have an assault weapon to protect your house, you're crazy ... they're not very effective."
So much for possession of a firearm on the side of good. What about evil?
In the hands of criminals, Rendell said, "Assault weapons only have one purpose ... They fire at short range; they put out a ton of fire at one time; and they are very powerful ... There's no purpose for these guns but to kill or maim."
All this double talk was said in virtually the same breath.
But Rendell's convoluted notion of good and evil is the very core of why the gun ban movement defies common sense. It rejects the most important instinct of humanity-self-preservation against evil.
Human beings have a hard-wired program for self-protection; for fighting back; for safeguarding their homes, families and communities. As Americans, that's why we preserve armed self-defense as part of our Second Amendment protections.
Rendell's rant was amplified by ABC's 20120 special, "If Only I Had a Gun"-a shameless hit-job, totally embracing the gun-ban belief system that armed self defense in the face of evil-a mass murderer in a public setting-is futile. (To see NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox's insightful analysis, "20120 Turns A Blind Eye on Self Defense," turn to page 16.)
That same embrace of evil over good was pressed home by an aggressively pacifist media on an international scale . with coverage of Somali piracy and terrorism on the high seas.
In the past year alone, Somali pirates, heavily armed with full-automatic firearms and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), have attacked over 100 commercial vessels and extracted tribute to the tune of over $100 million. In an April 1 0 puff-piece, The New York Times called the pirates "professional," quoting an "expert" saying the pirates have "a business model that has proven very effective for them."
There is a single reason the "business model" works. It is the same reason "gun control" provides an overwhelming advantage to armed criminals. Their unarmed victims can't fight back.
As most Americans proudly know, the pirate "business model" was wrecked when high-seas thugs attempted to capture an American-flagged ship, the Maersk Alabama-the first U.S. vessel seized in an act of piracy since 1801.
The American crew valiantly fought back and maintained control of their ship. U.S. Navy SEAL snipers aboard the destroyer USS Bainbridge killed three Somali pirates as one was about to murder the ship's captain who had bravely traded his freedom for the safety of his crew.
Even that intervention using deadly force to save Captain Richard Phillips was attacked as a provocation.
The Christian Science Monitor quoted a maritime expert:
"We fear that this escalation spiral, which we've seen in the past few months, will push the pirates into a readiness to shoot ... ."
Most importantly, the Maersk Alabama incident sparked a controversy over something that should be a no-brainer arming crews.
"Do we really want private industry taking law and order into their own hands on the high seas? ... private shipping companies could find themselves in an escalating arms race with pirates."
That's from a managing director of a London shipping concern who was quoted in a Houston Chronicle article that also quoted marine engineers-the Americans who maintain their ships as wanting small arms as the means for self-defense.
On the side of reason at a recent Senate hearing was Capt. Phillips, who advocated handing out arms to specially trained officers in times of pirate assault.
Also coming out four-square on the side of using armed guards on merchant ships was Gen. David Petraeus, who now heads the U.S. Central Command, that includes military operations in Africa.
What about real time experience? About the time of the Maersk-Alabama ordeal, the MCS Melody with 1,500 passengers aboard was attacked. The ship's master, Carlos Pinto, described the scene, "They were firing like crazy ... they tried to put up a ladder with hooks ... pistols were handed out ... we started firing, they gave up and went off."
Yet Reuters reported a maritime official saying, "Although the ship's action may have saved the Melody from capture, it only endangered the lives of passengers."
Sound familiar? Like guns in the home? It's the same old big lie we've heard repeatedly about the Second Amendment.
The gun-ban crowd would impose a tyrannical doctrine that goes against every human instinct for survival. That policy guarantees not free individuals choosing self-defense against evil, but the triumph of evil over disarmed victims.
We Are A Team
I want to thank you for the honor and privilege to serve as the 60th president of this outstanding association-the largest and oldest civil rights organization in the world. Nowhere else is there such a group of dedicated members willing to stand up for freedom.
Like so many NRA members, I grew up out in the country-in my case, in rural Nebraska. My family owned guns. I grew up hunting, shooting and fishing.
Now my wife, Ann, and I live in New Mexico, where we like nothing better than to go out with our family on a sunny Sunday afternoon, set up some targets and spend an afternoon plinking.
Like you, we own firearms. We like to hunt and shoot. And we want to preserve and protect those traditions for future generations-not just because they provide so much enjoyment, but also because they sustain and secure all the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
Someone asked me what major changes I plan as president, and my answer was any changes will be minor. I believe we have a talented, dedicated and driven leadership team, and an agenda in line with the needs of our freedoms. I am comfortable with the current approach because it works. The real "star" of this team is the team.
We must organize as never before. We must vote and convince others to vote to keep our guns and our rights out of the wrong hands-the hands of a gun banning government regime.
When they try to blame our freedoms for crime, we must demand strict enforcement of existing laws and aggressive prosecution of those who violate them, and fight for prosecutors and judges who will enforce the laws as they're written.
We must have politicians who support the entire Bill of Rights-the First Amendment, the Second, the Fourth and all others. And when they fail to do so, we must apply sufficient political and public pressure to elect, or have appointed, those who will.
I believe there will always be groups and individuals, both here in the U.S. and around the world, who seek to restrict or revoke our freedoms. We must approach each threat as an opportunity to increase awareness and educate the people, to protect the rights of every American citizen.
I believe we should seek to increase participation in the shooting sports. In Europe, some shooting events draw more than our total number of registered shooters, perhaps because in those cultures, marksmanship is more than just a form of competition-it's an enjoyable outing for the whole family.
Our challenge is to develop new and innovative ways to exercise the Second Amendment so that single moms and dads, grandparents and extended families can participate and feel at home while giving young people an opportunity to experience the shooting sports.
If we do that, we can plant the seed that often grows into a lifelong interest and belief.
But to do all this, we must first protect the Second Amendment and our ability to exercise it. To prepare for the 2010 and 2012 elections, we must expand and strengthen our grassroots network to convince our 4 million members, the 25 million Americans who consider themselves members and 80 million American gun owners to say: "I'm the NRA and I vote!"
All of this takes manpower, money and participation from individuals as well as industry.
We need to build a financial foundation under NRA that's strong enough to weather any storm and big enough to accommodate every American who cherishes Second Amendment freedom both now and in the future.
We are a team. We will never allow the theft of our freedom, dignity, honor or personal property. When it comes to freedom, we will not compromise and we will not be content to play defense our freedoms depend upon us to advance!
We are the greatest nation on this earth. Let's make sure that freedom lives, and always remember that NRA stands for freedom.