If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em


Dear NRA:

Good morning and happy Eastertide. I hope your Easter was meaningful as a conclusion to a horrendous Lent. You might recall that the shootings in Parkland, Florida occurred on Ash Wednesday. Most of us spent the forty days of Lent in somber reflection upon the toll of gun violence in our country. You spent that time … well, differently. Actually, you have been in quite a defensive posture lately, haven’t you? 

We spent Lent lamenting the uselessness of violence, and the tragedy of Jesus’ suffering and execution. You spent Lent celebrating the “God-given right” to own guns, even guns which are good for nothing else but inflicting harm on humans. You spent Lent calling teenagers “crisis actors” and “whiny.” You spent Lent comparing Parkland survivors to Nazis. You spent Lent mocking people who simply want common-sense gun laws.

We observed Easter Sunday with the hope that the despair of violence and suffering has finally been defeated by Jesus. You observed Easter by saying that the answer to violence is more violence.

Frankly, NRA, I have become very tired of your rhetoric and fear-mongering, as has a solid majority of this country. Every time there is a mass shooting, the public voices of the NRA double-down on more guns and less restrictions. 

I recognize that you are a powerful institution, NRA. I see that you have become a very powerful lobbyist in Washington and in capitols across the country. I know that you have lots of money to distribute to politicians to make sure you get your way.

You won’t back down easily, either. There have been some moments recently in which we all thought the tide was turning against you — Columbine, Sandy Hook, the Pulse nightclub, San Bernardino, and now Parkland. Every time, you have bounced back, stronger than before.

I have marched in the streets against you. I have railed on social media against you. I have signed petitions, subscribed to websites, and read hundreds of articles.

And nothing has changed. Somehow you only get stronger.

So I am doing the only thing left to do — I’m joining you.

I’m now a card-carrying member of the NRA.

I sent in my $40 and got a nice looking card to carry in my wallet, as well as a handy pocketknife with the letters “NRA” engraved on the blade. Thanks for the knife, by the way — that was a nice touch.

But I’m warning you — you don’t know who you have let into your ranks. I now have access to the Exhibit Hall at your 147th annual convention which is being held in my hometown of Dallas, Texas next month. I’ve ordered my convention pass. I want to see for myself what kind of show you put on. I want to walk amongst you and bear witness to who you are and what you represent.

I’m also planning to attend your Sunday morning “Prayer Breakfast.” I put that in quotes because I don’t think we share the same definition of prayer. I’ll be praying, for sure. And fasting.

I will be there, NRA, because I’m calling you out. You are a hollow, shrill, and pathetic institution which preys on people’s fears and hates. And the people are tired of it.

Worst of all, you don’t truly represent the people who are part of you. You have become something alien, a frightening monster, a distorted beast. You don’t care about the wellbeing of people, their safety and freedom; instead, you have become captive to an extreme reading of the Second Amendment and have turned it into an idol.

Now that I’m a part of you, I will do everything in my power to stop you from spreading your toxic message, and to persuade you to listen to the men, women, and teenagers who are not trying to pry your guns from your hands but instead pass some plain old common-sense laws about guns. 

Now that I’m a part of you, I will take my responsibility of membership seriously, and call you to accountability. I will show up, listen, and let you know what I think. Believe me, you’ll get an earful. 

See you in May.


Wes Magruder