That, in precis and with a modicum of paraphrasing, was the speech given by the head of the National Rifle Association, to a nation shocked by one of the most heart-rending and brutal mass slaughters in modern American history.
If there were any remaining doubts that the National Rifle Association should be excluded from the national debate, then in a twenty minute presentation of lies, vitriol, projection and hate, Wayne LaPierre surely dispelled them.
We might not be ready, we might never be ready, to take the sensible step of removing all firearms from society, but there is no place at the table for an organisation whose only answer to the current problems with gun violence, is more guns!
When LaPierre rose to speak I harbored some concern that his organisation might, just for once, have sensed the mood of the nation. It worried me that they might have the common sense and decency to have understood that Americans are in no mood to support the simplistic, and utterly wrong view that the answer to gun violence was the proliferation of more deadly weapons.
In such a scenario the NRA might have retained the appearance of relevance, and remained an unpleasant thorn in our side. An itch we might be unable to scratch with the consequence that they would forestall and frustrate attempts to bring sanity to an mad, mad world. My fear was that the only result of their involvement would be a frustration of any efforts towards effective control of a situation currently running out of control, and the deaths that would follow.
I needn't have worried!
Wayne LaPierre has no concept of self-defense. That is the only rationale put forward by the supporters of individual gun ownership that makes even the slightest sense in a modern world. Sport shooting and hunting are the other two reasons, but they are a separate debate to this one, and those activities are not challenged.
As citizens and residents who profess to live in a reality-based community, we are entirely free to simply dismiss any discussion of the meaning of "Militia" or "Well regulated" because they are the territory of the fringe right. They are arguments sponsored and promoted by those we pejoratively refer to as the "gun nuts", the Preppers, the fucking idiots. They are a distraction because there will not be a situation where we rise, pitchforks and Bushmasters at the ready to face down Predator Drones and tactical nuclear weapons. Madness, and we don't need to indulge it. Honestly, if there are any "States Rights" folk out there who think, were it to come down to it, that they would last more than ten minutes when confronted by Seal Team Six ... I am being generous giving them ten minutes.
So, excepting hunting and sporting use, we are left with self-defense as the only argument that supports an individual right to own, and especially to carry, a firearm.
Acknowledging and accepting the position of my RKBA friends, then this is where we begin the debate.
What do you realistically need to defend yourself from assault that might lead to serious injury or death?
If we can get to that position, there is no remaining argument for keeping the rest. If we can reach that agreement then all sides of the debate, with the exception of Wayne LaPierre, come together and we can go forward. We can accept that rifles make piss-poor defensive weapons under most circumstances. They are unwieldy, impossible to use effectively at close quarters unless you are actually the one doing the assaulting. They are hunting guns and military weapons. Your property will not come under attack from afar, giving you the 50 to 100 yards you need to reasonably use your rifle. They are off the table as a defensive weapon.
When I was a younger man I regularly used a rifle. It was in a gun club and we shot twenty five and fifty yard prone, inward gauging. I was quite good :) Equally I would be very happy to fill my freezer with eighty pounds of venison, and that would be one less deer to jump out in front of my motorcycle. I cannot even comprehend the idea of using my skills to kill a person so far away, when clearly I would have the option to retreat. The rifle I was so competent with was a bolt-action, single shot. For hunting I would prefer two shots available. I can see no need for more.
We argue about definitions until the cows come home. The arguments are a completely unnecessary diversion. An "assault weapon" is a weapon that can reasonably be used to assault groups of people. Whether it fires nine hundred rounds a minute on automatic fire, or merely thirty rounds in five seconds by squeezing the trigger, it is beyond all reasonable defensive arguments, and merely makes it easier to kill children.
That is Wayne LaPierre's position. An absolute insistence on making it as easy as possible for unarmed citizens to be killed, in large numbers, by a murderer. LaPierre has nothing interesting to say on this issue. He has blood on his hands from every murder that has happened since he began his quest to make killing as easy as possible.
A word to the wise for any NRA members. Wayne LaPierre uses your subscription to fund his seven figure salary. He does not promote your views, he scorns them. He treats you with utter contempt then takes your money. If you ever suffer the misfortune to become a victim of gun crime, he will use your death to sell more guns. More guns that might easily be used to kill yet more people who share your views. You might want to reconsider that subscription.
There is not a regulation on the books that the NRA has supported. There are plenty of laws removing regulation that the NRA have promoted. The NRA seeks to sell death to America, with no regard to the consequences nor any acknowledgment of the outcome. When confronted they shift the blame. If they were on trial in a criminal court they would struggle to avoid conviction as accomplices to murder.
I acknowledge that the fear of crime is real. It exists in the minds of many Americans, and it is a fear that is actively encouraged by Wayne LaPierre. The way forward is not to give in to this fear, not to extend the prisons in our minds to the streets, the malls, the schools of America. Bad guys go to prison. Good citizens, responsible adults and the children they are raising should not feel the need to throw up guard towers on every street corner. We relish our freedoms .... Surely the freedom to live free from fear is the most important freedom of all?
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
Clearly they are words written by some Liberal blowhards unaware of the reality of twenty first century America .... Unless we make it so.