While there are protests outside, the gun fans in the hall think they are among themselves. There is a discussion and a young man in a shirt reaches for the microphone. He first introduces himself in a slightly annoyed tone. “My name is Jason Selvig, I’m from West Palm Beach, Florida. And I’m sick of left media, frankly, including people in this room, spreading false information about Wayne LaPierre every time there’s a shooting,” the man says.
Once a killing spree occurs, people would say LaPierre isn’t doing enough, he continues. They would even imply he was responsible for giving gunmen easier access to guns. For example to Columbine, Las Vegas, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Parkland, El Paso, Buffalo – he lists all the places in the USA where massacres have recently taken place.
The man to whom his speech is addressed sits on the stage, his expression impassive. Wayne LaPierre is chairman of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is holding its annual meeting in Houston, Texas on this day.
Three days after the school shooting in Texas that killed 19 elementary school children and three adults, NRA members there have spoken out vehemently against gun control. The association stands for “the basic human right to self-defense,” said association chief LaPierre. Every year, “more than a million Americans” use their guns for protection.
According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, 313 children under the age of 12 were shot dead in the United States in 2021. There are an estimated 400 million privately owned firearms in the United States. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre has accused the NRA of contributing to gun violence.
This is exactly what Jason Selvig alludes to in his speech. And then begins to satirize the standard response from the NRA chief and other Republicans: “The NRA, under LaPierre’s leadership, has sent thoughts AND prayers to the victims and their families.”
Selvig continues: “I call on you all to think. To pray. Give your thoughts and prayers. And your thoughts and prayers. And your prayers and thoughts,” says Selvig. “And when we have enough of these prayers and thoughts, these mass shootings will end.”