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Greenpeace, PETA, and the NRA?

Discussion in 'Activism Discussion and Planning' started by Davandron, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. Davandron

    Davandron Well-Known Member

    Please allow me to frame my questions with some opening thoughts:
    • I enjoy the natural landscape and strongly urge for the care, maintenance, and responsible use of our environment and natural resources.
    • I believe in treating all living things with respect and that animals and pets deserve to live dignified and meaningful lives. I also believe in hunting and in domestication of livestock.
    • I support the belief that citizens and peace officers be allowed to own and use firearms, for sport and defense of life and liberty.
    I am not a member of Greenpeace, nor am a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); I will likely never support either organization. While common ground exists between my thoughts and theirs, I find their views and actions support extremism and highly political agendas. Among the many rational and normal people to stand under their flagstaff I see them harboring dangerous individuals.

    How should I consider the National Rifle Association (NRA)? At their core, they support one of my beliefs. However, I have witnessed some very worrisome actions and heard irrational words from people holding the NRA flag above their heads.

    I find myself wanting to approach gun rights as I do my other beliefs; by working at the local level and associating with people that I can come to know personally. Yet, so many local organizations seem to strongly support or demand support for the NRA; support I'm not certain I can provide.

    How do other members consider and respond to the NRA?
    How are each of you active in supporting your beliefs?
  2. .38 Special

    .38 Special Well-Known Member

    Many if not most NRA members hold beliefs that I do not share. I am essentially a libertarian; I do not support laws against prostitution and drugs, I do not support the Iraq war, I do not subscribe to any religion, I do not have a problem with gay marriage or Mexicans coming to America to work, and I do not think that abortion is any of my business.

    I think that puts me pretty firmly at odds with the typical NRA member -- but I did not join the NRA with the expectation that they were going to lobby on my behalf about religion or gays or abortions. I joined the NRA because I enjoy owning and using guns, and the NRA is the only nationally effective organization dedicated to preserving that right.
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Good question and a concern many members here have.

    I guess there's two issues that fall out of it.

    What are the effective national alternatives to the NRA in protecting RKBA.

    What are the things you can do personally to protect and support RKBA?

    The second question is easy. We have many individuals working on their own to support RKBA. They write letters to their local, state and national representatives in support of RKBA and against irrational laws restricting it. They actually spend time visiting those same politicians to personally take the message that there are voters concerned about this issue. They work with local organizations that they have common cause with to amplify their voice.

    The effective national organization question is more difficult. The NRA is the 800 lb gorilla amongst the RKBA organizations because of the number of members they have and as such has a huge impact in our favor. Supporting them in the near term could be very beneficial. Other organizations may more closely fit your personal philosophy. GOA and JPFO are just two.

    Here's a great source to start your own campaign. http://www.gunfacts.info/
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008
  4. 6_gunner

    6_gunner Well-Known Member

    I think that everyone who is serious about their 2nd amendment rights should join and support an organization like the NRA. Many people find the NRA distasteful for the reasons that you mention, as well as others. However, it remains the most recognized and probably the most influential gun rights organization out there.

    As .38 Special points out, although many NRA members hold beliefs with which you disagree, the NRA itself generally sticks to 2nd amendment matters. I would encourage you to join despite your differences with many of its members. If that doesn't sit well with you, there are other pro-gun organizations which may be more to your liking. I believe that GOA is a pretty staunch supporter, whose views may be more to your liking.
  5. csmkersh

    csmkersh Well-Known Member

    IMNSHO, Greenpeace, PETA and ELF are all eco-terrorists and should be treated as such.

    I'm an NRA Patron member but have disagreement with some/many of La Pew's actions.

  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Greenpeace, PETA, they're irrelevant to the central argument, and seem to be a distraction for a lot of us, of how do we get people who only see the extremist element of the NRA and base their RKBA decisions on them to support RKBA through the NRA or other RKBA organizations. Don't get hung up on the caricature examples used to communicate the impression of lunacy.

    How do we persuade folks that the NRA is not the extreme elements? Heck, even the NRA is not an RKBA single issue organization like GOA and JPFO. We know they have youth and hunting programs and competitive marksmanship programs (that's what the NRA started out as), but that the visibility of those programs have been eclipsed in the public eye by the RKBA efforts. So, unlike what most folks think about the NRA they are not a single issue organization and work very hard at teaching firearms safety, sponsoring competitive shooting and working to preserve hunting in the US. In spite of this they're still perceived as focused only on one issue.

    Why did the NRA get into the RKBA business when for most of it's existence it was a hunting and recreational shooting organization? Well, that should be obvious since it didn't until laws began to be written restricting and then completely trying to deny RKBA. Once gun owners were targeted by politicians the NRA was the natural organization to react being the largest gun owner organization in the country.

    Has this shift in emphasis caused them to become more political than they ever were? Sure. Since they were reacting to a political attack on gun owners they had to get political. Has the politics and controversy brought problems for the NRA? Sure. There are a lot of members here that do not support the NRA at all and many more that grudgingly support them because of the view that they are too extreme in some areas and not ardent enough in others.

    If our own members aren't uniformly behind the NRA how can we expect folks elsewhere to be?
  7. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    Exactly what is being said by the NRA are you uncomfortable with? Greenpeace and PETA are in the NRA's sights because of their anti hunting stance. Groups like the Sierra Club often catch flak from the NRA because they always want to close public lands where people hunt and shoot.

    While it's often heard that the NRA is simply an arm of the republican party, it's not exactly true. In the last election for state representative where I live, the NRA supported the A rated democrat incumbent over the A rated republican challenger. Their reasoning was that a senior democrat in a leadership position in a democrat controlled assembly was more valuable to RKBA then a freshman republican.

    Tell us what you are uncomfortable with.

  8. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    Because of the different aims of the organizations, I think it's pretty hard to fairly compare PETA and Greenpeace to the NRA. It would be much more accurate to compare the NRA to The United States Humane Society and The World Wildlife Foundation.

    All three organizations are well-funded, and all three organizations share some beliefs with more extreme organizations. The WWF wants to save whales as much as Greenpeace does, the HSUS is as against beating dogs as PETA is, and the NRA is as concerned about gun-owners rights as any crazy little RKBA club you can think of. The difference is that the NRA, the WWF and the HSUS have a far broader spectrum when it comes to the issues they deal with and the members they have. As Hso mentioned, the JPFO is strictly a RKBA organization. There is very little in the way of hunting news, gear reviews, police-specific articles, womens magazines, competitive shoots or any of the other things the NRA does within the JPFO organization. By way of comparison, PETA, to my knowledge, isn't running animal shelters across the nation, and Greenpeace doesn't have anything approaching the research dollars that the WWF has.

    Because, in all three cases, there is such a wide variety of issues, there is a correspondingly wide variety of members. I actually used to work for the HSUS, and I hunt and fish. That puts me at odds with the overall mission of the HSUS, but I assure you that I was not the only one (though there weren't many of us!) and I thrived within that organization. In fact, I still donate money to them. There are, no doubt, some wackos in the NRA. I won't deny it, and any honest NRA member will tell you the same thing. They don't speak to the overall mission of the NRA anymore than I spoke for the HSUS. The same thing applies to the WWF.

    Many of your local 2A groups want you to join the NRA because they know that nationally there is basically only one dog that can hunt, and that's the NRA. Local groups obviously have more power locally. For example, here in Colorado, we have Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. They have zero power nationally that I am aware of, but are one of the more powerful RKBA advocates on a state level. Membership to the NRA is encouraged, but not required. The same is true of the Colorado State Shooters Association. Still, for as much support as the locals show the NRA, the more important association is the NRA to the locals. Your group having a hard time finding an effective lobbyist? If your associated with the NRA, you are essentially golden.

    What it boils down to, pretty simply, is whether or not you think that the NRA speaks for you on the whole or not. If they do, join. Join, and disagree with what you want knowing that your dollars are also supporting what you want. If they don't, don't join. I assure you that you will be able to find an organization that you will feel represents you better. While your dollars might not be supporting as powerful an organization, they are still supporting something you believe in, and that's whats most important.
  9. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    I don't know when my father and his brother became life members of the NRA. Sometime before WW II, I know. At any rate, I've read the American Rifleman dating back to around 1939, from their saved-up copies.

    The whole RKBA deal arose with the Congressional hullaballoo of the 1968 GCA.

    The key is that WE, as gunowners, were attacked in the sense that many in Congress wanted to eliminate non-governmental ownership of handguns, and wanted registration of all other firearms of whatever sort.

    The only available organization with our interests at heart was the NRA, and it was indeed a struggle, a lobbying effort where we barely had the votes to wind up "merely" with GCA '68.

    By and large in American politics, hard-core, radical organizations are ineffective. Politicians respond most to calm and reasoned argument--provided that the presence and argument is always there in front of them, is unending in presentation. The NRA has thus pretty much been that calm and reasoned voice. We've been able to persuade enough votes to not lose all that much when the majority was basically against us. We've been able to sway voters from time to time to elect those who are supportive of RKBA instead of those against it.

    Radical thought such as PETA's is irrelevant to discussions of any aspect of the NRA. Same for individual political views of NRA members. Those views vary all through the political spectrum, with the only true commonality being that of our rights under the Second Amendment.

    Irrational words from among the membership of ANY organization have little to do with the official policies and actions of the group. The NRA is no different in that respect. Face it: There is some percentage of blathering fools in any group of whatever sort. Pro-anything, con-anything.

    I look at RKBA groups and judge them as to their rationality, the maturity of the leadership, and whether or not I could actually get involved with that group. In Texas, e.g., the Texas State Rifle Association passes muster by my judgement. I wouldn't join GOA, as they don't pass muster for me.

    What do I do? Less than in the first twenty or thirty years of this recent forty. Not as many letters or face-to-face lobbying, but more money, FWIW.

    I don't have to agree with every "how-to" of NRA efforts, nor do I blindly offer allegiance. On balance, however, I see no reason to do other than support them as much as reasonable or feasible. By and large the leadership acts rationally and as though they're adults--and that's saying a lot in today's world.

    And I pay little attention to negative mouth-music against the NRA. I figure that after all these decades of being in and around the NRA that I am able to judge for myself. Folks might figure that I give little heed to Keyboard Kommahndos and Armchair Quarterbacks. :)

  10. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus


    Which, really, isn't as surprising as all that.

    Every organization has its fringe. Every church, every political party, every activist group.


    The fringe isn't the policy making body.

    There are organizations with extreme policies and practices, which policies originate at the top. They go to great lengths to achieve their ends, setting aside reason, rationality, and, often, the law.

    Other organizations willingly mis-apply the law after the fashion of sociopathic personalities in order to extort where needed to achieve their ends. I include these with the "extremist" organizations.

    Both kinds seek to impose their will on the general population, rather than working for greater liberty.

    Contrast this with the NRA. Their work has uniformly been directed at the achievement of greater liberty and the protection of constitutionally enumerated rights.

    Are there nutjobs at the fringes? Certainly.

    They, however, are not at the helm.

    Your support for the NRA is NOT support for the fringe.

    They will always be there. They are the fleas that all organizations have.

    The fact that there are organizations whose policies ENCOURAGE fleas makes prudence advisable before aligning yourself with them, but anyone whose ability to observe and reason isn't crippled can recognize the difference between groups that have fleas and groups whose fleas represent the group's ideals.

    An organization that offers justifications for the actions of its fleas? You don't want to know those guys.

    An organization that disavows the actions of its fleas, offering "plausible deniability" along the lines of "well, we can't control the actions of individual members," while clearly promoting policies that encourage that kind of misbehavior? Nope, you don't want them for friends, either.

    And what of organizations whose actions over decades have consistently been to work within the system, to roll back oppression through court action and pressure on legislators? Well, if the stated objectives of such an organization align with yours, and their open and public actions work toward that end -- even in an inept or clumsy fashion -- then that would be an organization worthy of your support.

    Even if you had to slap them around occasionally for doing something dumb.

    The NRA is not an extremist organization. Yeah, it's got fleas. Sure, they make mistakes. Without them, however, gun owners would have far more to complain about than clumsiness.
  11. Valkman

    Valkman Well-Known Member

    While I agree with some things that PETA says, nothing they've ever done affects me that I know of. Same with Greenpeace.

    But I do believe that without the NRA we would not have the same rights we have now and that we may be a lot more like England. You don't have to agree with everything they say, but in my opinion every gun owner should support them.
  12. TAB

    TAB Well-Known Member

    So someone like Ted Nugent (Who I like for saying what he thinks, but have no respect for, due to some of the other things he has done/doing...) Is not a "radical" NRA member (he is on the board)?
  13. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus


    Well, his individual actions are certainly high voltage and high profile.

    Does he set policy?

    Does he advocate thuggery, law breaking, or violence?

    He is openly a champion of our civil rights and puts his money where his mouth is. He's got a big mouth, and the money to match.

    Has he got a past? Sure.

    So do I.

    I got over mine. I reformed. I matured.

    If I had his money and made as much noise as he does, you'd probably find someone digging around in my past as well. I wasn't always the "me" I am today.

    To imagine that he, alone, represents the entirety of the NRA -- or even the entirety of the board -- is to succumb to an emotional clouding of your observation and judgement.

    Go ahead and hate him if you like.

    You know, there's a particular model of car I will never own, never rent, never drive. Why? A man whom I despise to this day, who cost me my job 20 years ago, drove one. I don't even remember his name. I remember his car.

    There's probably nothing really wrong with one of those cars. In his own mind, the jerk I despise is probably a decent fellow. He's probably matured and would not do the same things today.

    That's okay. I still despise him and avoid the car he drove.

    That's a pretty rational response, don't you think?

    There are people in this world who knew me when I was in my early twenties. I won't ever offer them up as references. The guy they remember was someone they'd happily spit on. It probably wouldn't matter to them that I'm not that guy any more.

    Any more, though, I find that a grudge is a pretty heavy thing to hold.

    Must have something to do with my age.
  14. TAB

    TAB Well-Known Member

    He is a board member, whether he set policy or not is not important. Most people would assume he plays a large role in doing so. Which is what matters in the public "IMO".

    Its not his past I am worried about, its the here and now. Thing the video of him telling presidential candidates too perform sex acts with his machine gun. (Yes I know it was a rock'n roll show, and I can take it in that context... does not mean every one else does) That does not help. I also find it completly out of line (and should be illegal) for him to have legal status of a LEO, simply so he can carry nation wide.

    Like I said, I like that fact that he says what he thinks, I just don't like his actions.

    Now I do think, he does a very good job of dividing gun owners... if thats what the NRA wants, so be it.
  15. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus


    Yup, seems that dividing gun owners is pretty easy.

    They're suckers for being distracted by antics.

    Heck, if you browse around, you might get the impression that gun owners are so busy being indignant about one thing or another, about calibers and stopping power, about bolts and clips, about plastic and metal, about ugly and pretty, about bench rest and offhand, about carrying open and concealed, about how many zombies can dance on the head of a spent .45 cartridge, that you might -- at some point -- pause and wonder who it is that benefits from all the dissension among us.

    I'm always amused when I see how much anger is directed toward an unapologetic advocate of the right to keep and bear arms, and yet no one is even annoyed at a sporting editor who helped throw us under the bus decades ago, and who is willing to do it again.

    I am reminded of the cow in the "happy cows" commercial who's actually winning a race with the other cows, until she becomes distracted . . . "oh, look, a dandelion!"

    Hey, did you hear the politicians are trying to eliminate our gun rights again? Maybe we should work with the NRA on this. Bah! That Nugent guy is a jerk!

    Shocking that we keep getting ambushed.

    I wonder why that is.
  16. TAB

    TAB Well-Known Member

    No anger here, but no respect either.

    With any group of people, thier worst enemy is always themselfs.

    Does not matter if its guns, cars, boats, hell people that wear baggy pants. on bad apple really does spoil the whole barrel.
  17. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Well-Known Member

    Why do so many judge all of the NRA by the actions of an extreme few. I have heard about some worriesome bombings/terrorism orchestrated by PETA members but even I don't judge all of PETA by the actions of those psychos. Though I'm no big fan of PETA by any means, just saying not all PETA members are crazy terrorists.
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    The central question is what to do when the extremist elements are what deters people from supporting an effective organization they share common cause with?

    As has been pointed out, if you gauge whether the organization actively encourages the extremist elements or even acts as an apologist for them you may find them unacceptable.

    Nugent on the board of the NRA? That one's tough for a lot of folks. Is he the only one on the board like that? If so, he may represent that angry in-your-face element within the organization, but not the organization as a whole.

    There will always be extremists in any organization. The bell curve and all. The size of the organization and where the policy center is will also dictate where the extremists that are within the organization may fall. The question is what's the official policy, where's the majority of the membership stand and do you find sufficient common cause to support the policies of the organization.
  19. ilbob

    ilbob Well-Known Member

    The NRA board is composed of 60 some individuals. I doubt any of them has a large role in setting policy. I used to think the NRA board was just too large to be effective. I have come around in my thinking to realize a board of that size also has some advantages.

    I don't worry a whole lot about anyone else's past. Most people have things in their past that are less than ideal. Some have things in their present that are not ideal.

    Nugent is an outlandish musician. It is part of his persona. You can't really expect him to completely tone it down for the suit wearers. The people that voted him on the board knew exactly what they were getting.

    If you don't like Nugent on the board, next time he is up for election run a campaign against him. Run yourself if you think you can do better. Me, I sort of like having a few rabblerousers on the board of the NRA.
  20. TallPine

    TallPine Well-Known Member

    It's pretty hard to separate RKBA from hunting and fishing.

    But just because I am an NRA member doesn't me that I agree with their de facto support of our current foreign policy, for instance. I myself can overlook that because of the greater good that they do for RKBA (which of course is somewhat debatable in itself, but the anti-gun folks hate them and that's good enough for me).

    I do think that the NRA would do well to shed itself of support for non-RKBA/shooting/hunting issues. Then maybe a lot more people would join.

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