National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre admitted he has "been feeling a strange and vague sense of responsibility, and having trouble sleeping through the night," following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 elementary school children were murdered with a semi-automatic assault rifle.
"Do you understand my job? Did you listen to my press conference yesterday?" LaPierre rhetorically asked members of the national media Saturday morning. "I actually suggested, in a speech seen throughout the world, that the answer to our gun culture of violence is lots more guns in our schools."
Indeed, he called on Congress, at the NRA's behest, "to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation."
LaPierre, who has worked for the NRA for 35 years, said he is proud of his proven ability to distort death and tragedy to fit whatever narrative his employer calls for, but deep down he knows his job is to "professionally make the world a place where more people die from gun violence."
The Virginia native admitted crying intermittently since he publicly blamed the creation of "gun-free school zones" as one of the primary causes for mass killings like the one December 14 in Newtown. More than anything, LaPierre insisted, it scares him to understand he actively encourages the large contingent of Americans who genuinely believe the Second Amendment, born of a time where knives and single-shot muskets were the cutting edge of death, makes logical sense.
"For Christ's sake, they wrote it more than 50 years before Samuel Colt revolutionized murder with the advent of the semi-automatic handgun!" LaPierre shrieked, his voice breaking.
"I understand my job, and believe me they pay me well for my conscience, but this time feels different somehow. I don't know." He added, "Columbine, Virginia Tech, all of them, I stood up and read my script. But I swear to God, after this time, I think my soul might really be dead."
His wife, Susan LaPierre, admitted she was worried about her husband, pointing out that the slaughter of children with legally-acquired firearms has never before given him pause.
"But then they made him insist the only rational answer to gun violence is placing guns inside every single school in the country," Mrs. LaPierre said, as her voice trailed off. "And he said it with a straight face."