Saturday, April 14, 2007

April 14, Super Saturday

The calm before the storm ...

And ... the storm ...

Remember yesterday when I said there was a “sea of humanity” in attendance at the NRA show? Ha! I was standing on the metaphorical shores of Lake Erie believing I was looking at a sea. Today, I saw the figurative equivalent of the Pacific Ocean! Navigating the exhibit hall was exhausting with the throngs of people. But that’s a good thing.

The NRA is all about political clout and membership numbers are what make that clout. If you ever feel isolated or like you’re part of a minority as a gun owner, attend the NRA show. You’ll realize why the NRA is one of the most powerful lobbies for freedom in the world...and it’s because of you! NRA members. You joined, right?

Local St.Louis news outlets are reporting that this year’s meeting is the single largest convention in St. Louis history. Official numbers won’t be available until tomorrow, but estimates put attendance in the neighborhood of 60,000+. They’re also taking note of Republican Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney’s absence, even though he was in town yesterday.

Romney is said to be courting the NRA’s endorsement, but dodged his first NRA Annual Meeting since purchasing a Lifetime Membership last August and claiming last week that he is a lifelong hunter. The press is suggesting Romney was afraid to be ridiculed over his claim after it was shown he had never been issued a hunting license.

When the doors to the exhibit hall opened this morning, the crowds literally ran to meet R. Lee Ermey and additional security was required to control the multitude of people pressing in on Ted Nugent. They lined up to meet UFC legends, the Hughes brothers.

An additional, and unfortunate, result of the massive crowds was that it apparently altered the mobility of Wayne LaPierre and John Bolton and their respective security entourages and I was unable to interview them on the show floor as I indicated I would yesterday.

Probably not a huge deal. LaPierre is pretty famous for sticking to his talking points and I doubt I would have gotten him to stray from them. The main thing I wanted to ask Wayne was, in this extremely serious business of leading the charge for freedom and taking all the shots he takes, is he able to maintain a sense of humor and, if so, how. I want to know how a guy as serious as Wayne LaPierre blows off steam. I want to know what he has on his iPod, what movies he watches....stuff like that. Not hard-hitting journalistic questions, but definitely stuff that would help a guy like me relate to a guy like him.

I attended the the formal dinner tonight and heard John Bolton’s keynote address to the NRA. Other outlets will certainly cover his remarks better than me. I’ll simply summarize here.

The key message you need to know is that gun grabbers have failed miserably on local levels. You and I present too united a front and too vicious an opponent for them to ever beat. They altered their strategy and took it to the state level, where in states like Illinois and Missouri, they could get the backing of liberal cities like Chicago and St. Louis. Even that hasn’t worked out for them.

Next, they took their fight to the national level. Again, they haven’t been as successful as they wanted. What Bolton warned of, is the latest anti-gun strategy to take the issue to the international level and attempt to get guns via international treaties. In essence, every move up the ladder the gun grabbers have made has been an attempt to water down our democratic processes. Bottom line: pay attention to international diplomacy.

Anheuser Busch hosted NRA After Dark— a party at the Anheuser Busch brewery just down the road. Have you ever been to a party that runs out of beer? That was guaranteed not to happen at this little shin dig.

I have to plug Anheuser Busch here for much more that a couple of free Bud Lights. These guys are far from a company doing the typical corporate sponsorship thing when it comes to firearms. They’re not pandering to a specific market in an effort to sell a few more barley pops.

In 2003, when Missouri was trying to pass a meaningful concealed carry bill, the fight to override Gov. Bob Holden's veto of the bill was so intense that it came down to a single, deciding vote. That vote belonged to Sen. John Dolan, a
National Guard member on active duty in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He obtained leave to return home to vote on this matter and, the word is, August Bush provided the means to get him to Jefferson City post haste so the measure would pass. That’s commitment to your interest. If you have an thirst for oat soda, Anheuser Busch should be your brand of choice simply because they put their money where their mouth is when it comes to important issues like gun control.

On that note, Mr. Bush, I salute you,

Anyway...another great day of NRA annual meetings. I’ll check in later.

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