Washington Post on NRA origins
An amazingly impartial article. There are a few minor factual errors, but those are the inevitable product of having to rely upon hearsay, relating to events decades ago, and aren't slanted.
[UPDATE: If you're commenting and get blocked, try dropping your email address. I had to block gmail, yahoo and a few others because of unbelievable waves of spam comments, robot generated and coming sometimes at a dozen per minute, but set it so you can comment while leaving no email address at all]
Mr. Hardy, if you can find the time, would you mind posting corrections to the factual errors?
I would love to use this piece of journalism with my history students as evidence that they cannot rely on the popular media for historical context, i.e., as evidence that they need to consult historical sources.
Posted by: Anonymous at January 13, 2013 12:18 PM
It's not all that impartial. If you want to talk about the NRA as a civil rights organization then talk about the NRA as a civil rights organization.
Carlton Heston was a classic Hollywood liberal. Ahead of his time, he was marching with Martin Luther King in 1963. As Screen Actors' Guild President he used his influence to introduce civil rights leaders to the technical union representatives, helping to open those unions to minorities. I believe he saw his NRA presence as a continuation of his civil rights work.
Roy Innis, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, is a member of the NRA's board of directors. He also chairs the NRA's Urban Affairs Committee.
There is much more that is similarly widely ignored.
Posted by: FredB at January 13, 2013 01:34 PM
Were is the history: according to this article the NRA didn't exist until the late 1970s when this revolt occurred among sportsmen. Its in line with gun centralist history that the purpose of the second amendment was to maintain hunting and sporting rights. Nothing about support government efforts post Civil War to maintain a pool of marksmen for possible Federal service.
Posted by: james N. Gibson at January 13, 2013 01:58 PM
Here's on subtly misleading quote: "It taught Boy Scouts how to shoot safely." Earth to WaPo writers: it still does!
Posted by: Kirk Parker at January 13, 2013 04:16 PM
Here's another: "Closely aligned with the Republican Party". Yeah, right, tell that to Harry Reid and John Dingell.
Posted by: Kirk Parker at January 13, 2013 04:18 PM
Actually, they opposed Reid in his last election. Do you suppose this is his chance to get even?
Posted by: Jim at January 13, 2013 05:31 PM
Some random thoughts:
Yes, closely aligned with the Republican Party, but WaPo fails to give the reason; because the Democrats as a Party ran away from civil rights in favor of centralized power. Sure there are some Dems who support gun rights, and sure there are some Republicans who don't. But as a political party, borrowing Ronald Reagan's line, "the NRA didn't leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left America."
Probably too bad Wayne LaPierre and the others didn't get some quotes in. That police chief association guy whined about the NRA not playing ball with them, but again, the WaPo omits the reason -- it's because those organizations try to "fight gun crime" by restricting the good guys, not the criminals.
Posted by: Eric at January 13, 2013 05:52 PM
Could it be that, in this one instance at least, the Post is post-Post?
Posted by: Anonymous at January 13, 2013 06:52 PM
I'm afraid I have to disagree with some previous comments. First, the easy one, the article explicitly states the NRA's founding as an organization to foster marksmanship, right here at the top of page 2 online:
"The National Rifle Association was founded in 1871 by National Guard and retired Army officers in New York who vowed to “promote rifle practice” and improve marksmanship. The first president, Civil War general Ambrose Burnside, had seen too many Union soldiers who couldn’t shoot straight. "
However, I can also say that it's not that impartial. The author of this story isn't the kind of flaming nutball a Piers Morgan would be, no, but there's definitely the sense they convey that the NRA was just fine and honorable right up until they started focusing on supporting the exercise of 2nd Amendment rights. It's not a poison-pen assault on the NRA but it's most certainly slanted to make the current NRA look like a twisted version of what was once a fine organization.
Posted by: Ric James at January 13, 2013 07:59 PM