Katy Burns: Enemies galore!
My normally unflappable sister Della was shocked, SHOCKED.
“You may already have seen the NRA’s recent enemy’s list,” she emailed her siblings. “I know I have. And I don’t know what’s more shocking – that the list exists at all or that Britney Spears is identified as a ‘singer’ and Marla Maples as an ‘actor.’ ”
Della’s right. The NRA’s enemies list is indeed a shocker – or at least a fairly stunning window into the prevailing mentality at the NRA under the leadership of Wayne LaPierre. Which seems mostly to be wildly paranoid.
The list – of people and groups who are “anti-gun,” with no further explanation – is posted proudly on the NRA website. It is a very long list. A haphazard list, a list that is almost whimsical, or would be if it hadn’t been compiled by the decidedly un-whimsical NRA.
Under “Anti-Gun Individuals and Celebrities” it includes a wide range of folks, from the aforementioned Marla Maples (one of a number of former Mrs. Donald Trumps) to Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, identified as a singer. The list is heavy with actors, including well-known Hollywood lefties – George Clooney, Rob Reiner, for example – but also head-scratching famous names.
Debbie Reynolds? Arlene Dahl? Nice to know they’re still with us, but why on earth is the NRA worried about Arlene Dahl’s vast influence? And Zooey Deschanel – isn’t she too busy being adorable to be bothered being an enemy of guns?
Some selections are just odd. Keyshawn Johnson, an NFL player. Robin Ruzan, “wife of Mike Meyers.” Prema Mathai-Davis, apparently a YWCA official. And Busy Phillips. Busy Phillips?
C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general, and Rabbi David Saperstein, whoever he is.
Then there’s retired game show host Bob Barker, who is fond of talking about what a fan of guns he is. He even goes to sleep with a loaded pistol in his bedside table drawer. But, alas, he is also a well-known animal lover, thus is deemed (apparently) to be anti-hunting and so anti-gun.
Some – James E. Carter, former president; Lyle Elmer Strom, federal judge – are creepy choices for an enemies list kept by people who seem to worship guns above all else.
And then there are the deceased-but-still-on-the-list enemies – Andy Williams and Ed Koch, among others. I guess, as sister Della observed, one can never be too careful. Although as she helpfully pointed out, rather than identifying Koch as a “political person,” perhaps he should be a “dead person.” And in the case of Andy Williams, as she said, “who knew he was more dangerous to American values dead than alive?”
The list of individuals looks like something done at a late night party involving lots of drinking and Googling and giggling. Although it’s hard to visualize the easily outraged Wayne LaPierre giggling. The other NRA lists of “anti-gun” organizations, corporations and media operations are equally as strange and random.
Under “Publication and Media Outlets,” for example, there are a lot of the usual suspects – ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, Knight-Ridder, Gannett. But McCall’s Magazine? Is there still a McCall’s Magazine? And Blue Chip stamps, for heaven’s sake? What sort of fantasy 1960s world do the NRA folks live in?
Anti-gun corporations include – surprise! – Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and Stonyfield Farm yogurt and its CEO, our very own infamously progressive Gary Hirshberg. And lucky we have him! Otherwise, it’s possible – based on a quick look through the huge NRA enemies list – that New Hampshire would be unrepresented. And that is never a good thing, I think we can all agree. God forbid Vermont should grab all the publicity and infamy.
Others on the corporation list were just interesting and at times baffling. How does a corporation show it’s “anti-gun”? I don’t have a clue, but that doesn’t stop the stalwart list-makers of the NRA.
Argosy Casinos in Riverside, Mo.? You’re tagged. Ditto Carter Hawley Hale men’s apparel stores in California. And Baltimore’s Crown Central Petroleum Corp.
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals both make the list, proving there’s definitely something in the water in Kansas City. Hallmark Cards, you might be the nation’s premiere supplier of pre-written sentimentality, but you are still an enemy of real Americans as defined by the NRA. Like Levi Strauss. And Sara Lee.
Sara Lee? WHO DOESN’T LIKE SARA LEE?
My favorite corporation on the enemies list is Mallinckrodt Inc., a St. Louis clothing starch company. What, pray tell, is a clothing starch company? And how on earth can a clothing starch company be anti-gun?
But if it can somehow be labeled anti-gun, leave it to the NRA to ferret that out and to figure out why it is anti-gun and to announce that fact to the world, or at least to as much of the world as listens to the NRA.
The NRA is rich, thanks to the money it gets from its primary patrons, gun manufacturers. So it foots the bill for a retinue of armed guards who apparently travel everywhere with LaPierre, the face and voice of the organization.
Folks on the NRA’s enemies list? They’re on their own. I suspect that they do not travel around with bodyguards. Now they are being fingered by the NRA as enemies of freedom and gun-loving Americans. Lots of luck to them.
And there’s a serious question here. Should such paranoid and, well, crazy people as those running the NRA be allowed to have guns? You can see I’m trying hard to get us on the NRA’s enemies list.
(Monitor columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)