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I've been in the NRA since the early 70's. I watched with great interest the, so-called, 'Cincinnati Rebellion' back in 1976. I was, at that time, neither for nor against the general membership's topics of contention.

The years, since, have changed all that! Over time I have come to recognize that most of the problems addressed at the Cincinnati annual meeting NEVER DID get resolved to the betterment of the general membership. Far from it; and, today, that generation who raised and fought the issues is quickly passing away! Rather sadly, the current membership seems to be oblivious!

For instance, that financial, 'albatross' called, The Whittington Center is, still, hanging around the entire membership's neck. I'm sure it has some recreational value IF you live in the Southwestern US; but Whittington has little or no value to the rest of the national membership who live elsewhere in the country.

It, also, ticked me off when one of the NRA's most highly over-rated past presidents, Harlon Carter, made his first official act a revision in the by-laws that prevented any other member from, every again, challenging mismanagement within the NRA in the same manner that he, himself, initially did in order to acquire his presidency.

For many years, now, I've watched while MY NRA went from one questionable expense to the next questionable expense. In my opinion, the general membership has not been well-served by the acquisition of that, 'huge beast' of a new administrative headquarters in Whapples Mills, Virginia. Along with many other members I, also, believed that the old (well-maintained and perfectly functional) headquarters WITH some form of modest expansion would have more than sufficed for the needs of the present day.

If the NRA insisted - for whatever reasons - upon more room, then, they should have done what any other cost-effective corporation would have done and rented it! (This way the association could have quickly and effectively cut it's costs during periods of, either, declining membership or increased political expense; but this would have been the smart thing to do; and, over the past 30 years, I haven't seen a whole lot of smart moves by the NRA.)

Then there is the matter a few years back of the executive officers refusing to disclose their personal finances which appear to have included the letting of lucrative contracts to their own sources of supply. Nice! What would happen to you or me if we did something like that?

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Charlton Heston the actor - I love him! I wish I could say the same thing, however, about Charlton Heston the NRA President. Unfortunately, I cannot. In my opinion Heston's administration did little more than place an entrepreneurial, 'Band-Aid' on the many festering accounting, administrative, and managerial problems that have continued to plague this once proud and effective organization.

Today, I see my NRA as bloated, disassociated, and predominantly irresponsible toward the everyday concerns of the general membership at large. What is more I, also, see the general membership of the NRA as frequently disassociated from any hope of meaningful and effective - INTERACTIVE - representation by the modern headquarters leadership.

Let me ask you: When was the last time you tried to voice one of your firearms' problems or concerns to the NRA? I'll bet you didn't get too far; did you! One of the general membership's complaints back in 1976 was about how very difficult it was to open any line of meaningful dialogue or, for the matter, to communicate effectively with NRA headquarters. (Hell, in those days, you couldn't, even, get headquarters to answer, let alone open, their mail!

Years ago we could take our mechanical and ballistic problems to the NRA's technical staff and get quick and accurate answers to any number of our problems. Try doing that today! Sure things have changed; they're more modern, now; and we have: Knox, LaPierre, and some good looking women writing books on how to use firearms properly. My point, here, is SO WHAT!

The purpose of the NRA is a whole lot more than publishing paperbacks that: would be, could be, and are being written by numerous other sources. We, also, have a nice modern website. Woweee! What's it full of besides a lot of intellectual folderol, and glitzy palaver? After you've used the range locator a few times what practical IMMEDIATE value does this website have to you and the guns in your closet? So far I've found it, about, as useful as, 'USA Today', or 'People Magazine'.

As a SHOOTING NRA member I don't need a publishing company; I don't need a self-aggrandizing advertising company, either; and I'm too old to be razzle-dazzled by Ted Nugent's electric guitar. What I do need is a good EVERYDAY FIREARMS ORGANIZATION that can and will address my daily gun usage problems on all practical levels: political, competitive, and technical!

'Why' is the NRA's general membership constantly waxing and waning? Weee...ll, perhaps, it's because today's NRA, while glitzy, computer literate, and prestigious, (to the point of being pretentious) is, also, aloof, remote, disinterested, and to a MAGNIFICENT EXTENT only marginally effective in it's SELF-ASSUMED role of representing ALL the best interests of American gun owners.

I strongly suspect that there are tens of thousands of other NRA members who - like myself - fully intend to never again give another dollar to this association! If I were an annual member (which I'm not) would I renew every year? Hell, no! I'd much sooner give money to GOA, JPFO, or one of the more active state sportsmen's associations than send more perfectly good money into the consumptive and mysterious coffers at NRA headquarters.

The facts that the NRA occasionally defends and, even, wins 2nd amendment rights cases, or causes presumably, 'pro-gun' political candidates to be elected to office doesn't begin to accomplish that full spectrum of political AND personal services which you and I frequently need to reach out for in everyday life.

Let me ask you: If you or I should need a legal question answered about firearms' ownership or use, what phone number at NRA headquarter is the right one to call in order to get help?

If you or I have a technical firearms' problem and want the right answer in the shortest possible time, exactly what phone number or e-mail address at NRA headquarters will provide a prompt answer?

If an incumbent NRA officer is discovered to be letting association contracts to HIS OWN company AT HIGHER THAN NORMAL PRICES, would it do, either, you or me any good to cry, 'foul'? Furthermore, if you or I tried something like this at our place of employment, geeeee ..., I wonder what would happen?

Well, don't expect any such repercussions at OUR National Rifle Association because OUR NRA has already demonstrated that it is immune to this sort of criticism. As employees (or representatives) you and I are expected to produce reasonable corporate expenditures, as well as pertinent and practical personal expenses; but, just try to discover this sort of expense accounting at OUR NRA – It ain't happened yet! What is more, as employees (or representatives) we expect to be held accountable for our expenditures of corporate monies - right? Everyday that one of us goes to work, a standard of accomplishment is held up and expected to be achieved. Now, tell me if you're able what, 'standards of conduct and accountability' is the general membership able to hold NRA management to - Are there any that you can think of?

From everything I've seen over the past quarter century, NRA management has been consistently able to get away with acting in an, almost total, entrepreneurial vacuum! Lastly, there's that fundamental outstanding feature behind NRA membership to which all of us, in larger part, have fallen victim:

THE GREAT MYTH THAT THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP THROUGH IT'S VOTING AND BALLOT CASTING ACTUALLY RUNS AND MAINTAINS CONTROL OVER THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION - ITSELF.

In the real world NOTHING could be farther from the truth! MOST NRA MEMBERS DON'T VOTE! Consequently, the extant managerial structure of the NRA consistently enjoys the covert advantage of being able to: elect, manage, and be accountable to ONLY itself! As a public corporation today’s NRA is, little better than, a gubernatorial sham - A genuine parody of, both, personal and corporate accountability!

About the only thing the general membership has been able to acquire in any of these overrated, and excessively vaunted, annual elections is to appointment a few demonstrably inept, but, nevertheless popular, 'gun culture figureheads' to the Board of Directors. Big deal! So, looking back over the past 30 years from today, what improvements in: organizational structure, response, or corporate government has NRA leadership truly accomplished for the benefit of the general membership at large? Well, as far as I’m concerned, many of us have trained a lot of kids to handle and shoot 22 rifles well; but I’m hard pressed to come up with much more. (And, please, don't volunteer the NRA-ILA because if you've been an NRA member for any period of time you know: (1) that the ILA has its own agenda that usually steers well-clear of you and me; and (2) the principal function of the ILA often appears to be that of an incessant, 'money vacuum' for its many obscure, 'hit or miss' legal ventures and lukewarm political candidates.)

In the back of my mind I, sometimes, imagine that the evil people in this world who strongly desire to disarm modern American society must laugh themselves to tears when they think about the: beliefs, hopes, and daily problems of American gun owners AND their forced reliance upon predominant representation by the National Rifle Association of America. No wonder the national new media is always making fun of us. Hell, they're winning; and, what's more, they obviously know it!

If by, either, some miracle or, perhaps, the Hand of God - Himself - WE, THE PEOPLE, manage to retain, both, ownership and constructive use of our firearms then I, for one, am convinced that this will occur by means other than popularly presumed effective representation by the National Rifle Association.

Today's National Rifle Association MAY come along for the ride; but NRA headquarters management and their disaffected, self-serving representation will not - I am positive - be either the motive cause or predominant influence behind any miraculous preservation of OUR second amendment freedoms.

Tomorrow's battles to retain and protect ownership of American firearms are going to be fought against predominant world authorities like the United Nations and the European Economic Union. I see this on the horizon, now; and I believe that it has to happen - soon. When it does many of us who are affected will quickly recognize, 'Why' our founding fathers desired, even required, us to be armed.

Like so many other things in this world, it is always, 'the enemy within' that has to be most carefully guarded against. May God bless us all!
 

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Very striking and thoughtful material Arc Angel, and while giving it a good read, I was struck most by one thing:

"and, over the past 30 years, I haven't seen a whole lot of smart moves by the NRA" . . .

to tell you the truth, over the past 30 years what have we seen happen to our country? Your article seems to call to mind many of the complaints that I have about our society as a whole, and you encapsulate it all quite well. It seems that you boil a lot of it down to character issues like honesty, decency, dignity and integrity.

Truly, while I do not believe that America's sins are so much those of rash imperialism or overweening aggression, I do believe and have been saying for a long time that our lack of attention to important and very basic character issues is what will cause us to fall at the hands of our enemies, . . .

and they are MANY!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
:roll: And, to those of you who might have thought that I am incapable of a short reply ...

'Yup!' :mrgreen:
 
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