Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part Three: Harlon Carter: the Man Who Militarized the Cops and the NRA

Part Three: Harlon Carter: the Man Who Militarized the Cops and the NRA

Tue, 21 Jun 2022 10:00

Robert is joined again by Matt Lieb for the final part of our series on Harlon Carter and the NRA.

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Hey, Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation, then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know, I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. So if you want to explore LASIK plus I can't recommend it enough. They have over 20 years experience in the industry and they performed more than two million treatments right now if you want to try getting LASIK plus you can get $1000 off of your surgery when you're treated in September, that's $500. Of per eye, just to schedule your free consultation. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's breaker handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. What's Epstein? My Barr virus. Why was that your intro? Why? Because your intro will be as. As with all of our podcasts, this show is sponsored by the Epstein Barr virus. It is not. But have you had mono? No. Well, maybe try it. Maybe try mono. Hell yeah, it's good. It might cause multiple sclerosis later in life. There's all sorts of things that money to tell. Hard to tell. You will know if you had it if you ever take the Epstein bar. Damn, that's right, is a test. You get the rest of the joke. You can do it for free on this podcast if you sign up for a week of food. We love the Epstein Barr virus. You're just like to make our poor editor bleep things. I do, I do. It's fun. I'm so sorry for him, Chris. Well, Once Upon a time, when we still went to the office, somebody dinged my car. Maybe I'm not 100% sure, but I've decided it was our editor. And it was. This is Chris. It was. You don't know that, Sophie. You don't know they didn't come in and prove it. You don't know that he didn't do it unless you did it. You wanna know unless you did it. I've seen his dogs. His dogs are honest. He would never do that. It was the IT was the you're on blast, Chris. You know who it was? And I don't know who it was. It does wrench us back on the topic, which is Harlan Carter and the birth of the national. Well, not the birth of, but the rebirth of the like. This is it's it's like a racist. You know how Gandalf is like Gandalf the Grey. And then he gets reborn as Gandalf the white after fighting a Balrog. NRA gets rebirthed as a white supremacist organization after fighting the Balrog of the Black Panthers, assembling legally with guns to check police power. May have lost the thread a little. No, I got you. You shall not pass legislation. Legislation. Alright, we figured it out. We got it. We got it back on. Yeah, then it got there. See, people, this is how the sausage gets made. So, disgustingly, now we're talking about the NRA, and particularly we have this over the Gun Control Act, this, this first big clash between Harlan Carter's people and the old guard. And the old guard wins, right? Because they're still, broadly speaking, in control. But it become that like they kind of sacked, like in the course of winning, it becomes clear that an awful lot of, perhaps most NRA members are actually not on board with the direction they want. They are really excited about this more fundamentalist attitude towards the 2nd amendment. And while Harlan Carter was busy building the bones of a fundraising and lobbying machine that would dominate conservative and really, in a lot of ways, American politics for the next half century, the old guard were wistfully looking back to the organization's past as a sporting association and and figured maybe we could go back to that, right? And so they are the conservatives. Harlan Carter is the radical right politics kind of leaves a bad taste in these people's mouths because, again, they're all aristocrats, right? They're all like. They're they're, they're kind of like Joe Biden. They want to have all of their friends, right. They they like on on both sides of things. They don't want things to get too political because that gets nasty and it reduces the number of people who can give you money, right. So yeah, in 1973, the old guard had purchased land in Colorado and they wanted to turn it initially into a shooting range. Pretty normal thing for the NRA to do. But in 1976, they decided to go with a grander plan. The National Rifle Association Outdoor Center. This was going to be a massive compound, dedicated. Do classes on like Woodcrafting and Wilderness, you know, stuff and conservation research there supposed to be scientific research done there and also other sporting skills. And of course, there would be a shooting range there and people would be able to hunt on the land. But like, guns were not the primary purpose, right? It was like a whole outdoor Recreation Center for the NRA. And this was in line with they wanted to expand the organization because that's obviously there's more money and whatnot, but they didn't want to, like, hone in on guns and. Right. They wanted to be like, well, we could be like those. We could be like the. The American go to organization for like outdoor, you know, sporting and stuff. So in order to help them kind of make this shift, right, because this is at this point, but that is different from the NRA's initial vision, as is Harlan Carter's vision, right? So they're both trying to move it in different directions, right? It's become clear that, like this thing the NRA had been isn't going to continue. And the old guard has a vision and the new Guard has another one. And so the old guard hires a PR firm, the Orem group, to help them drum up funding to make this facility a reality because they need 10s of millions of dollars to build this thing. It's a pretty impressive vision. And they hope that the they see Carter's built this, like, massive fundraising arm. He's getting all these people organized on behalf of his Second Amendment absolutism. And they want this PR firm to help them, like, take back, like, power from from Harlan Carter and like people on their side. Now here's be like, yeah, you know, Second Amendment absolutism is fun, but what if we built a rec center? Yeah. What if we had a rec Center for rich people? You can see what this is kind of like how you've got like those, those like old political ghouls in the. The the, the Democratic Party and like the parts of the Republican Party that turned into Lincoln Project, who opposed Trump with, like, very slick political ads that did nothing, whereas Trump just got people angry. And that works a lot better than like, yeah, yeah, anyway, this is a version of that same fight, right. And part of how you could tell the Orem group was not going to succeed in their goals is that their founder that like, the the guy they're named after their founder is this wealthy New York philanthropist whose most prominent clients before the NRA were Planned Parenthood in the N double ACP. So boy. This, this, this, this guy maybe doesn't get the base of the NRA and it's gonna have trouble speaking to them, right? Yeah, that's gonna be a problem. I see. It might be a problem. Yeah. I mean, it's one thing if it's just like, hey, we have two different branches of conservatism or whatever, but no, these guys are going to be politically and morally opposed with each other. It's going to, it's not going to work out well. It's not going to work out well for them. It may have it. It may be such a bad idea that literally anyone could have called it. But the NRA bigwigs, they bring this guy on the team, and his goal in his organization's goal is to chart like a safe new course for the NRA in which they kind of keep out of politics. And this is in part because, like, they want to build this new facility. You're not going to get $30 million in 1970s money like by by hewing to a hard political line, right? Right. So they succeed in roping at a bunch of big donors from all across, you know, major American business interests. They get Bill Spencer, who's like the second guy at Citibank. They get Ezra Taft Benson, who's the highest apostle of the Mormon Church. They get a bunch of oil and gas industry bigwigs, all of whom agreed to like start putting money into this project. So in order to like celebrate that, they've found enough rich old dudes to fund this thing. The NRA sets up a big party on their land in Colorado for all of these these rich guys and they basically host like a multi millionaire summer camp. People are like camping in their private jets on the land. Like they park their private jets there and like sleep on them and then they hunt and fish in the daytime. I love it. Uber relatable. Exactly. Right. You see again car this this just makes it really easy for Carter to be like, well these guys don't if you're interested heart because they don't, right? Like, no. Yeah. It's not defending Carter to say that. Like these guys don't give a **** about the average person who might want to join the NRA because most people who join the NRA are not millionaires with private jets, right? Exactly. Yeah, they're they're missing the entire cultural aspect of it at this point. Yeah. And and so it this is not going to work out well for them, right. So there's there's some backlash, and Alina Buckley describes kind of the old guard's vision of the association's future as quote one in which shooting accompanied frontier abundance funded by corporations that had long bankrolled conservative causes. One in which guns were a reflection of American might. Cowboy liked to be sure, but still with a military like formality rather than a vigilante ethos that saw federal power as a threat. So again, the NRA, this is the attitude. The NRA works with the federal government in order to ensure this sporting culture and in order to ensure a degree of military readiness, which is basically back to their old principles. As opposed to the NRA is this is an association that enables individual Americans to be vigilantes. Right, right. Like, which is more what Carters pushing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The fun, the fun type. Carter, the guy who was a vigilante, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So while the old guard are hobnobbing with the great and good Harlan. Carter is making a strategic alliance with a gun industry journalist, a guy named Neil Knox. Now, Knox had been educated at Christian College in Abilene, TX, and the fact that he comes from Abilene is a red flag. Ohhh, yeah, just in general, don't go to Abilene. No, it's almost as bad as Brady. So. Anyway, sorry. I believe. I wish I knew anything about this. Is this is just Texas lawyer. You have to yeah. You're doing some from Dallas. I do. You have to **** on every other city in Texas. Yeah. Yeah. So that people don't notice how terrible Dallas is. Right. Right. So I I like to throw a lot of Flack Houston's way in order to ignore that their food is better. It's whatever. So he goes to Abilene College and he every social find on Neil Knox will note that he marries his wife because she was the only girl on campus who kept a rifle in her dorm room. Hey, you know what? That's love, right? Like, he finds his, he finds this person good for him. He was interested in safe sex. Am I right, fellas? Ohh, we're having fun. I mean, it is this is like getting into like, how different some things are in the country. But like at the elementary school where I went to, it was not uncommon for like. People particularly like teachers to have like guns in their cars in the parking lot and at the high school. Like, kids would regularly have their guns in their cars in the parking lot during the hunting season and stuff. Well, it's like they're hunting rifles, right, because they're like, OK, it's this is in like, Idabel, OK, like it's not uncommon during the season. Like, you go straight from there to like, whatever blind you've got. Yeah. So again, this is like different, different time. But also, Neil Knox is a very modern kind of gun guy who is going to help make the NRA into, like, the gun culture. Or organization that it becomes. Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like the kind of origin story of like, the first guy ***** for guns. That's gonna be normal. Like, he's gonna normalize being *****. No, he's going to normally is being gun *****. But also with conspiracy baked into it, right? That's one of the keys, right? It's not just like an appreciation for guns, it's an appreciation for guns within this, like, conspiratorial milieu that Neil Knox is like, he's a guy on this. Yes, it's a it's a yeah, he's he's read the Turner Diaries. **** yeah, I mean, he he would have been the kind of guy to help write them. Not that he was, because that's a different set of guys, although they are kind of connected by the Goldwater campaign. But that's another story I want. As the Dallas Morning News writes, Knox was yeah, I'm just gonna quote them. Walking through this guy's background. In the mid 1960s, knock Knock worked as a reporter and editor with newspapers in Vernon and Wichita Falls before getting a job as founding editor of Gun Week, a newspaper covering firearms issues of the day from his base in Arizona. The bearded gun evangelists spent the next 40 years railing against. Gun control and pitting himself against NRA leaders he saw as too compromising the 1960s and 70s, the gun industry and the NRA were inclined towards pragmatism, said Jeff Knox, who's his kid from his home in Buckeye AZ and willing to make concessions. The elder Knox believed strongly that the Second Amendment was absolute, and he especially didn't like the idea of registering guns, which to him raised the specter of a dictator confiscating all arms and subduing the citizenry. Jeff Knox said at one point in the mid 1990s, Neil Knox even suggested the assassinations of Kennedy and King might have been staged to build support. Gun control. So Knox is the startup, specifically the strain of the American Right and American gun culture that kind of culminates in Alex Jones, right? Yeah. Right. And he's not super big about pushing that, but he is like the first kind of prominent voice to start talking about, like these these, these shooting texts that were made specifically for gun control. That's one of the big things that Neil Knox introduces into American culture, at least helps to introduce. I'm not gonna claim that he was entirely on his own there, but. He's like, he's like the vanguard of that kind of guy who winds up doing the Sandy Hook conspiracy **** later on. And it's it's worth noting though that while when Knox Partners with Harlan Carter again, this is 7677, so he has not yet started pushing conspiracies outright, but you can see kind of where he goes is where he, he and Carter helped to lead a lot of the gun culture. And yeah, so these guys, the old guard, see Carter and Knox and see them as like kind of unhinged. But even more than that, they're they're not primarily objecting necessarily to their goals as much as the fact that they're so extreme that it's going to take away funding, right. It's going to reduce the NRA's ability to attract a lot of like people to give them money for this, right? It was the Republican establishment during like exams run, they were just like, listen, we agree all Mexicans are rapists. But you're not going to get the nomination by saying it. And it's like, wanna bet? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Like that's that's kind of like you. They're arguing like these people are too extreme. The NRA will like die out if they're kind takes over and Harlan cutters like, ohh, ************ you wanna see how to make the NRA make a lot of money? I will show you some things he's about to. Yeah. So one Friday in November of 1976, the head of the NRA purged 80 staff members loyal to Carter, right. They fire everybody with like. Very little warning because, again, Carter spent years getting his Border Patrol guys in there, so they tried to get rid of all these people. And what becomes known later is the weekend massacre and Harlan. It's the only massacre that Harlan resigns from his position in protest. And Alina Buckley continues quote and Gun week, hand loader and rifle, all publications. Knocks at once edited writers began reporting rumors about a shake up at headquarters, the Orem Group's report on the outdoor center had been leaked, and gun group leaders around the country bristled at its language. And this is from the the Orem group's report. In the public mind, the NRA's current image is based almost totally on its supposed opposition to any form of gun control. This public image constitutes a weakness for fundraising, a new piece of again, very bad at being that their job, by the way. New piece of information had gotten out, too, via a brochure sent in the mail to some members, the executive committee was considering moving the headquarters to Colorado Springs, not far from Raton, where the NRA could focused more squarely on its sports shooting ties. Regional gun groups began receiving concern notes from their members. The Shooters Committee of Political Education Scope, based in New York, wrote a letter to rich protesting the NRA's recent board appointees and to let him know that they would advise their membership to write in Neal Knox, among several others, as board candidate at the annual meeting in Cincinnati in the American Rifleman. An unsigned editorial appeared. There have been charges that the National Rifle Association is being subverted, it read, in abandoning its fight against gun control. So this and you see here they've built in their partnership Knox and Carter have built a very effective. Both fundraising and propaganda wing that is there, they're building a moral panic over this, right in a very modern way, in a way that is, it's modern because this is like the the *******. This is part of, like, the blueprint of, like, everything the right will do in the future. So for the next couple of weeks, Knox and Carter call every other NRA lifetime member they can. In brief, like you, when you have an organization like the NRA every year, you have to have a meeting and you have to do, like, voting at that meeting and stuff. And like, there's people who are the actual like. Board and stuff. But also the lifetime members get to vote. And so the board is in control unless you can get like enough of those Members to vote on measures that would like, replace the leadership, right. So. And they didn't, they had never worked. No one had ever really tried to do this before. The fact that the Members get to vote had kind of been like, like stock options voting where it's like, yeah, I mean the the random citizens who control 20% of the company's stock get a vote, but like our CEO controls 45% in his best friend controls 20. So it doesn't matter what they say. Right, right. Yeah, that was the the thinking. But obviously, the NRA isn't like a A publicly traded company. You just each each of these people has a vote. And if you can whip them all into shape, you could actually wrest control of the organization away from the old guard, which is what Knox and Carter start planning to do. Now, there's a lot of politicking that goes on here. You can read about it in in detail in Alina Buckley's article. One thing I think that's worth noting is that the whole event has something of an early Trumpy vibe. The folks Carter lines up to back their plan to take over the NRA. Saw the old guard is out of touch. Aristocrats, which they were. They framed themselves as like Paul Revere types, right? They're founding fathers, right? They're they're fighting a revolution against an unjust like aristocracy. Yeah, one person who was all, but they're all doing the cosplay now. It's all begins with the don't tread on me flags and the three pointed, you know, ******* hats and yes. And one person who was present later recalled some members were angry enough to bring rope, tar and feathers to Cincinnati. Yeah, their obsession with it's like, oh, the two party a tar and feathering. It's just like they're just having obsession with this, like patriotic forms of like, you know, like old style Larping. It's just just the same *******. Oh God. I mean, this gets into a broader issue that. Actually is is present in different forms everywhere which is that like. Umm, everyone has their types of violence that are like good and traditional and OK and there are types of violence that are so black people breaking a bunch of windows during a riot or like flipping a cop car and lighting it on fire. That is not OK, that's horrifying. That's that's evil violence. You know, end of suffering. And feathering a guy trying to like, raise taxes, like literally melting a man's skin off in order to. Stop him from, like, getting the taxes that will pay for a road that's traditional, right? Yeah, that's. That's. Yeah, it's allowed. You know, it's, I mean, it burning their skin off and then the feathers is just so they look like a chicken. Just the most horrifying joke that you can possibly think of. Yeah. There was like that John Adams HBO series with Paul Giamatti. Ohh. Yeah. Yeah. They had like a tarring and feathering in it. And it was like the first time I was like, Oh yeah, that's incredibly. It's really, really violent, actually, to tar and feather a person. I thought it was just like, hey, we're gonna make you look like a funny chicken, like a pie in the face. I put it on the same level as a pie in the face. But it's no, it's not. It's pretty bad. No. And it's like, I'm, I mean, everyone, there's a degree to which this is very common across the political spectrum because on one you get, like, whenever people suggests, like, well, the cops should confiscate this or the cop should like, do that. It's like, well, OK, what happens when police confiscate things? Like, what does that look like? Violence wise, you know? Yes. Yeah. And it's it's because like, I don't know, everyone's got it's it's a, it's a. It's, I mean, it's a common political tactic, right, to frame the violence you wanna do or you want to have the government do as not violence because it's being done by the government. It's like, you know, when people do a panic about, like, drug dealers sneaking fentanyl into things, right. Their solution to that is have the DEA raid more people. It's like, well, the DEA kill people too, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Completely. Yeah. I don't know. This is just what people do. Anyway, uh, so. Knox takes point on the actual day of the convention. He's the one who's actually whipping votes at the NRA convention to propose a series of bylaw changes using the support base Carter had built. He gets them to vote in a defense of the Second Amendment to the NRA's mission for the first time. Right. So he's like, this is the first time they actually add because the inner like they have a mission statement, whatever is an organization. The first thing they do is they add like Second Amendment, you know like we are an advocating for like the, you know this interpretation of the Second Amendment to that. The next thing they do is they block the sale of the NRA headquarters in DC and they block the development of the outdoor center. So they put it into this plan. And then Carter or Knox brings up a guy named Bob Kukla, who's one of Carter's people who's still in the NRA. When Carter resigns in protest, Kukla takes over the lobbying arm, and he's apparently, I guess, the the old guard had thought he was trustworthy, but he's secretly records one of their managing committee meetings, and they play this in front of the crowd. And in the tape, you can hear the current head of the NRA and the other members of the old guard criticizing Kukla for, quote, going to war every time someone mentions gun control. So it pulled the project Veritas on he he Veritas. Again. These guys are really building the playbook that's gonna be used everywhere well outside of guns. So following this, Knox and his voters stripped the board and managing committee of power. And basically, again, this is that you can go into a lot more detail about how they do this. All legislative leave by the end of things, the old guard are no longer in charge of the NRA and Harlan Carter is the new executive vice president. Damn. At 3:30. Yeah, yeah, they do it. They do it ******* St style. And at 3:30 AM, Carter takes to the stage to give his first speech to his newly conquered NRA. You're America's greatest people, my friends. Don't ever forget that you are. You have afforded the NRA this wonderful, historically important reaction of years to the way the association has been going to the way you want it to be, to the way it ought to be. And if I have anything to do with it, you are going to win. Because you are the NRA. Buck O. You did it. You did it. Very Trumpy speech. Yeah. Yeah, it did. Is is Trump's speech and he took over the NRA and. I imagine now, uh, people going to start falling in line that, yeah, well, the NRA is going to make a lot of people fall in line and and we're going to talk about what they do. But first. You know who loves to carry out Coos? Who are our sponsors? Who backed us? A series of Coos in Indonesia in order to gain access to the island that you can go to hunt kids on. Yeah, that's what they're known for. And hey, if you're not, if you're not into guns, understands you can use bows. You can use an atlatl. Yeah. Ninja stars. Ninja stars for sure. Look, they're size. Stop you. Yeah, a bow staff. Literally. Any weapon the Ninja Turtles used. Yeah. The Government of Indonesia has no control over this island. So it's all on. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month, Mint mobile will give you the best rate. Whether you're buying one or for a family, and it meant family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. 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And get the feel of nature so that you come to be fascinated, then you come to want to understand it, and then you come to love it, and at that point you want to protect it. And then we'll come to the sort of healthy world that I envision as a good future for us. And the rest of life on this planet. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Ohh, we're back. So immediately after carrying out his coup, Harlan Carter sets to work remaking the NRA in his own image. One of his first hires is a guy you may have heard of. Matt Wayne Lapierre. Ah, yeah. Yes. Good old. There we go. W Big Wayne. Yeah. Big Lapierre, Pete peppy. Le Pew. Pew Pew Pew. It's not French, but you know, I mean probably somewhere along the somewhere along the line, yeah. Point is peppy, la Pew Pew Pew Pew is a very good point and everyone that was a good joke, you should be proud. So by 1986, La Pierre is running the NRA's entire lobbying arm, right. So he kind of takes the job that Carter had had basically. But by the by the 80s he has turned it into because again it was, I mean in Carter started this process, but it becomes the most, the best funded and most effective lobbying organization in DC, right, and the entire country. Again, insane. Carter draws kind of the blueprints. Lapierre carries them out, though. There's no other sport someday that you know exists that you know has a lobbying arm that changed into just like a, you know what I mean? It was like this was a sportsman lobby, that it wasn't even a lobby. And now it is the most powerful lobbying group. And again, there's like critiques about well, there were primarily interested in like preserving rich people's right to ownership. But they were broadly speaking, saw that like, OK when a law affecting. When's proposed, we'll sit down and we'll let them know this is how we think this will affect our members. And these are some changes we left and right again. It's like, broadly speaking, like, like what you would kind of wanna see in a democracy that's supposed to function the way ours does as opposed to like, we are going to become so key to right wing fundraising that if somebody proposes any kind of law meant at curbing gun crime, we will destroy them. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Which is by any means necessary. Yeah, by any means necessary. And to and to an extent. Like, it doesn't matter how, like reasonable the the restriction might be like, even outside of stuff like an assault weapons ban, like if you're going to propose, like, universal background checks, which most gun owners support, right, we're we're gonna come for your *** you know? Yeah, unless you're the Black Panthers, but whatever you like. So another 1977 higher, brought onto the NRA at the same time as Wayne Lapierre, is a guy named Robert Dowlat. Now Dowlat becomes the NRA's general counsel, and it's his job to begin wrangling together legal scholars to push hard the idea of an individualist interpretation of the Second Amendment. So between 19601970. There's only three law review articles endorsing an individualist interpretation, right. There are some, like state level roofings you could argue, kind of endorse one earlier, but there's never been like a national, like a Supreme Court ruling on the matter one way or the other. And it hadn't really, people have not even talked about it in that way until the 60s. So three art law review articles written between 1960 and 1970 endorsing that interpretation between 1970 and 1989, the period in which Dowlat is the NRA's general counsel. There are 27 law review articles, three of which are authored by delete. Itself, yeah. And his work would start to bear fruit again. There's some, like, lower level rulings, but it makes the individualist interpretation of the Second Amendment makes its way to the Supreme Court for the first time in 2001, some people will say, like point to DC as Heller. That's not the first time. It happens in 2001. And the case in question has its origins in a 1997 criminal case in which a Texas woman divorced her husband and filed for a protective order against him because he had threatened to murder the man she cheated on him with the next year. While he's got this protective order, which he's not supposed to have guns because he has the protective order against him, right? During a meeting with his wife and daughter over some financial issue, he pulls a gun during an argument and points it at them. So he gets in again, if you're a rational gun owner, you think, like, well, this is exactly the kind of person who shouldn't have access to a ******* gun. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He gets indicted for possession of a firearm, will subject to a court order, and he files for dismissal, arguing that this had unfairly infringed on his Second Amendment right and the ruling. What it actually rules is kind of complicated. The ruling is not entirely in favour of this guy Emerson. It's Emerson versus the United States. But in the ruling, the Supreme Court rules that the second describes the Second Amendment as an individual right, right. So this is the first time that happens at a federal level. And then this ruling in 2000 is reinforced by 2008 DC versus Heller, which is like the big ruling that is really more explicitly on can you ban like categories of weapons and whatever it's based on, like a DC, I think handgun ban and then in 2010. The Second Amendment is finally incorporated in McDonald V Chicago. But this is all you know, orchestrated by Robert Dowling, right, starting in the 70s. And one thing you have to say about the man as he earned his salary, right, it that that's a significant change in US jurisprudence that he kind of painstakingly is the architect of of pushing. It's probably worth noting here that he was a murderer. So I'm going to quote from the Boston review here. Robert J Dowling was convicted of murdering Anna Marie Yokum, the mother of his then girlfriend, in 1963. Delete also robbed and shot the owner of a pawn shop like Carter. 17 years old. When he pulled the trigger, he confessed to the shootings and served six years in prison before his conviction was overturned on a technicality. The crimes were not made public until 2014. *** ****. No wonder it's like this is. It's also he and the same origin story over and over. He and Carter and Kyle Rittenhouse, all 17 when they ******* kill people and like these. I guess I would. Maybe you wouldn't call what Dowell it does. Vigilante violence. He's really just murdering people. That just sounds like straight up murder. Yeah, he just murders a woman and then shoots a pawn shop owner in a robbery. So I guess you would say he's not a vigilante, he's just straight up an armed criminal. That is ******* insane. And this is the guy who's made it easier for ******* everyone in the world in the United States like he's he's he's the NRA's general counsel. So at one point, I assume you went to law school. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because again, he gets off like, like a like Carter does, right. He gets off and then he goes to college and, I mean, you know, his career. Good for them, I guess. Nice to know we live in the land of opportunity like that. I believe firmly that people should be able to get a second chance after making a mistake. Especially when they're, you know, not a legal adult. Sir. I believe in certain second chances for certain kinds of mistakes, I think perhaps if you murder your girlfriend's mom and then shoot a pawn shop. Under during a robbery an Ave that we ought to close to you is representing the National Rifle Association as like that's like like maybe that's not OK. Yeah. I mean, you know, it's like, listen, that guy explicitly does gun crimes. Yeah. For fun. This perhaps should not be his job. I wanna know what happened with the with the the relationship. Did that actually suffer after the murder of the mother? It must have been hard while she was his girlfriend. So I don't think they wind up staying together. Ohhh, damn. Yeah. It's like, you know, with Harlan Carter, I think a 17 year old who, in a crime of racism, commits a murder. There should be some way for, like, that person to be rehabilitated. But perhaps they should never be allowed to be a Border Patrol officer. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, there's like little things, like not giving them. I don't know a authority over other people or requiring them to use lethal force as a part of the job. And maybe the guy who murders his girlfriend's mom shouldn't help to be an architect of federal gun policy. I mean, it's just it's sound, that guy. It sounds rational, but you know what? I don't know if that's. Yeah, I think, I think it'll work out fine. I'm I'm not even arguing against an individualist interpretation of the Second Amendment because, again, I don't really believe that the Constitution is something that we should treat as a religious document, but not this guy's, not this guy making that case. If you're going to make that case, maybe Ross Dowlat shouldn't be the man doing it. Seems. Seems like not, no. So that's cool. And the Boston Review article I found is a good job of pointing out that the NRA's embrace of the specific legal interpretation. Does not occur in a vacuum. While Dalits are lawyers are making their case, right. So while they're and again this is a very it's a pay. It's 40 years. It's painstaking process of doing well, not it's I guess. 20 ish 23, something like that. But while they're making their case, the NRA is carrying out mass mailing campaigns, some of the most extensive and political history. And they're publishing magazines that reach millions of people. They're paying for ads and all of these different gun press magazines they're having paid spokesman show up and talk radio stations, right and part of like what they're doing. They're obviously they're arguing for this interpretation of the Second Amendment, but they're also pushing a cultural change. What some scholars have turned the. Termed the tactical turn in US gun culture again, even to the extent that like all. I mean one thing that liberals get wrong is like it is not new for civilians to own on a widespread scale military grade weapons among other things. One of the most popular guns in civilian hands that the NRA before its political turn sold to people was the M1 Garand, which was the US service rifle of World War Two. Right? Right. But what is really new is is that it's. Is this is this kind of paramilitary turn for gun owners because people were not buying in one garrens primarily to like play act as soldiers, they're buying them because the ground is a perfectly good hunting rifle, right? Is a 30 out six, which is a very effective hunting round. And those were cheap, right? So it was a good weapon to buy. So people are not dressing up as soldiers with their in one garens primarily, right? That kind of stuff. The tactical turn in US gun culture occurs because it it it occurs. Alongside the militarization of the police and these kind of Hollywood valorization of the militarization of police, yeah. So there's a lot that's going on here, right? And including like, broadly speaking, the kind of like, you could you, you also should tie in what, Holly Hollywood's partnership with the Defense Department, right. And the increasing degree to which, like military tactical culture becomes like, popularized. But the NRA recognizes like, this is there's a lot of promise in this number. One, you can get more people involved. You can. You can sell more **** to people, which means you can have more companies funding the NRA who are not selling not just guns, but all this tactical gear. I'm gonna read a quote again from that Boston interview article, and it's quite long, but it really ties all of this together. Quote though, the story of this tactical development in the US gun culture is complex, I focus in this essay on a few particularly crucial components. The first is that border enforcement has been increasingly militarized since the 1970s and diffused deeper into the interior of the country. This is blurred the boundary between domestic and foreign conflict, brought the use of exceptional police powers into nearly every US town, and turned militarized border security into a ubiquitous mechanization of radicalization. This is also corresponded with the militarization of local police forces, which was certainly worsened by the War on Terror, but which historian Elizabeth Hinton has identified as having deeper roots in the Johnson administration's war on crime, which of course the NRA backs. Like the nationalization of border security, it turned this nation city streets into sites of militarized racial enforcement. Second, individuals once arming themselves for self-defense, often out of racial fears or a perceived threat to their masculinity, are now frequently claiming to do so in defense of the Constitution and freedom itself. The NRA has played an outsized role in this vigilante reframing by promulgating the myth that gun ownership has always been about an individual constitutional right and oriented towards a nativist version of self-defense. This vigilantism operates in conjunction with extra legal violence of law enforcement officers and is fueled by an individualist notion of sovereignty more dangerous than any military grade weaponry. It rejects the freedom of others as equal to 1's own and views any attempt to support such equality as tyranny. More importantly, this sovereignty is assumed to grant the individual the power to take life. The defense not of law, but of particular social and racial orders. There are now 25 federal agencies with special tactical units and May of June of 2020 alone, 16 deployed their tactical teams to Black Lives Matter protests, including the Border Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Bureau of Prisons, the US Marshals, the US Coast Guard, and every one of the FBI's 56 field offices. And at the local law enforcement level, special weapons and tactics SWAT units are now a staple of daily policing. Their very ordinariness is to a testament to how dramatically. Local policing has changed since 1969, when a SWAT unit was first used to raise the Black Panther headquarters in Los Angeles, pioneering what was at the time an almost unprecedented domestic use of military force. In Carter's victory speech, he declared beginning in this place. In this hour, this. In NRA history is finished. The Post 1977 NRA was decidedly partisan, took an absolute position against gun regulation, and redoubled its efforts to cultivate a social identity and authoritarian political ideology. Among its members. *** ****. Yeah. Pretty bleak when you lay it all out like that. Yeah yeah. All of that in a row and concisely done. Yeah. ****** **. Yeah. And it is again. I I I'm. I'm. There are some of our listenership will agree and some will disagree. I'm a believer fundamentally that Umm. I don't like the idea of the state having a monopoly on violence, and I certainly don't like the idea of the police being able to own things that I cannot own. Sure. But and and that there's there's an argument to be made, if you're again care about being an originalist, that that is close to the original interpretation of the Second Amendment. Right? Right? What part of what? By and they're claiming to be originalist. They're claiming to be that the that that the initial original interpretation was individualist. But what they're doing that for is not any idea of. Community self-defense, or a fear that the federal government will accumulate too much power. Although it's often framed that way, fundamentally, it is about allowing. Regular white citizens to emulate the military and the police and to act as vigilantes in their stead, right? That is where the NRA turns, and that is that is the tactical turn, right? It's not that there's nothing evil about owning body armor, which people can do for different, perfectly reasonable defensive purposes. There's nothing like. But but what? What they're what they're doing is. Pushing this idea of, like, not just the Millet, not just that, like, society ought to be militarized, which you get in every kind of argument that, like, what we need to do is harden the schools, we need to add more cops. But it's this idea that the individual white person should militarize themselves in order to in order to protect this kind of racial hierarchy, right? Yeah. Uphold white supremacy. And this is, and this is the thing. This is what I wish folks who are supportive of, of more gun control. Would more often do is tie in all of this to what has happened to the police because they cannot be extricated, right. Yeah. And that that's I think Ivaldi made that perfectly clear that like, these are two sides of the problem. And and the NRA is a huge part of how we get there, both how we get these cops that look indistinguishable from like Marines and downtown Fallujah. Not that I think the Marines necessarily should have been in downtown Fallujah, but you, you you have these. Guys, it's this. There's this thing called the weapons effect, right? Which is a psychological phenomenon that's noted that like the presence of weapons in an area, visible weapons can increase the willingness of people to use violence, right? There's like something about that that heightens it and. That's happening here. And part of why that happens is just the fact that America has so many *** **** guns, right? Right. But another part of that is the fact that everywhere you go you see ******* cops in a way that, like, you don't see cops dressed as armed as heavily as our cops and ******* war zones a lot of the time. Yeah, right. Like it it's it's. Anyway, whatever. No, that's that's what Arlene Carter builds, you know. Yeah, no, I, I, I I hear exactly what you're saying and I, I, I, I agree to an extent with with what you mean. I feel like in general, but problem with liberals is that they tend to kind of like. Put guns in the same category, like they moralize guns the way they moralize, like the right will moralize drugs. Yeah. And kind of this idea that like, you know. If we were to just make all the guns illegal, then, you know, this would solve the problem and whatnot. And that's not to say that it there isn't. It wouldn't be helped if you had some serious regulation. But this, like, moralization of it, like, misses the entire point of why exactly the why. The people who want guns and have those guns have them. You know, it's like, yeah, and you're the people you're speaking to are not you. It's people speaking to the choir. Liberals often just speak to themselves. And go like isn't it crazy that, you know, all these people have so many guns and it's like, yeah, well, while you're talking amongst yourselves, all these guys have created an entire, yeah, they've filled with guns it. And it's like looking at these right wing like militias that people are rightly like concerned to see militias marching around US streets like threatening people and but also failing to see the thing that is like, well, every one of those guys has friends who are cops and like a significant percentage of them are cops. Which is why a whole bunch of cops were present at January. 6 and that's a huge chunk of it. And like, you can't, you can't divorce your desire to reduce the number of guns in American culture from the need to reduce the militarization of the police because they were both inextricably tied to the problem. Yeah, which is the constant gun violence in this country has, has, has two points that need to be really, like, hit on. It's not. It's not just civilian gun ownership. It's also the way in which the state uses and legitimates armed force, going back to even the earliest days where it's like. Yeah, in Texas, your right to carry guns was heavily restricted. But if you were a white vigilante who carried guns to do racist violence, you would often get off right even though you've broken the law, right? Right. Like Harlan Carter, you know? Anyway, under Harlan Carter, the NRA's membership triples from 1,000,000 to more than 3,000,000. It would reach 5,000,000 members under Wayne La Pierre. Obviously the NRA, we're not going to get into this a lot, but it's like well past its prime at this point. For a variety of reasons of primarily rampant corruption, there's a pretty good podcast. About like, what the **** happened there? But yeah, it's not. Pod yourself. A gun? A Sopranos podcast? Yeah, I'm sorry. So the NRA tops out at about 5,000,000 members, but as of 2017, about 14 million Americans claimed some sort of affinity for the organization in there. Ever get who did the poll, but whatever. And one of the things that's interesting here is that, like, that's like a lot of people to get around anything, but that's also not a lot of people as a voting bloc compared to the entirety of the United States, right? Yeah, yeah. And so looking at that, you have to kind of marvel at the success of the NRA in making their ideas a cornerstone of right wing politics. Cause under percent. I was just thinking to myself, that seems like a low number. It's right. Because, again, if you look at actually polling of Republicans on gun control issues, they are a lot less hardliners on guns than you would guess by how the party acts. And it's because the party's ability to fund elections for decades was heavily based on who could get the NRA's approval, right? Yeah. Got that A+ rating. Exactly. In 2016, they spent more than $30 million on Donald Trump's campaign. And this again, people often miss this. Like, my parents are were ******** right wingers, right? So was my whole family. I had like 2 relatives who owned guns, like my grandpa and one of my uncles, right? Yeah. And I did go shooting as a kid, but my parents didn't have any. My aunt and uncle didn't have any. They were not guns in the house. Of of my family in Texas, you know, Umm, because, like, it's actually not as integral to conservatism as a as A at least. I mean, this is again changed because the culture wars have accelerated. So, like this is that there's less conservatives like the ones I grew up with when right there today. But the NRA, it wasn't that everyone on the right was in lockstep. It's that the elected leaders were scared to cross them because that's where the ******* money came from right now. Of course, that's why they were able to weed wheelpower so effectively. One of the most peculiar. But also influential aspects of Harlan's time and power was his repeated and intense defense of cheap, ****** handguns. And this gets us to the Saturday night special. Here we go, Saturday night special in brief, like there's a type of handgun. Uh, that was very cheap in the 70s, up through in the 80s and stuff called the Saturday. It was nicknamed the Saturday night special. It's like A5 or A6 shot, usually 38 caliber handgun. Yeah, these are still guns like this are still used in violent crime way more often than like the guns that are politicized. Like cheap handguns in general are the primary guns that are used in violent gun crime. Yeah, although what, what, what is a cheap, ****** handgun is different now because actually six shot revolvers are kind of pricey. Mistakes as opposed to like a high point or something. But yeah, so this is a cheap, ****** handgun and these are particularly low quality handguns. They were not like well made as a general rule, right? They didn't always work. They did not always, yeah, yeah, that's that. We're building to that. OK, jumping the gun. So you have this massive crime rate race that starts in the 70s and really like. Peaks in the early 90s and again a lot of Joe Biden's career is based off of this like violent crime panic that starts in this. And one of the first like legislative like tsunamis that forms around the crime surge is around this fear of the Saturday night special. And one of the reasons why people are so scared of the Saturday night special is that it is a gun that black people can afford, right? Right. It is a cheap handgun and so it is affordable for those folks. Hmm. Harlan Carter opposed new legislation to ban the Saturday night special, although he didn't do it on the grounds that poor people deserved firearms, but, fascinatingly, on the grounds that they were ****** and broke easily. And this is one of the most incredible arguments I've ever heard from the from NRA on quote, speaking in opposition to let opposition to legislation that aimed to ban Saturday night specials and other inexpensively produced handguns, Carter stated in a 1972 speech before the NRA's executive committee. They can produce actual cases that the cheap handgun that snaps in a police officer's face instead of firing has saved many, many lives. And the question arises, what are we trying to do? Upgrade the quality of handguns in the hands of our criminals? God, that's an amazing logical argument. Yeah. I mean, it's like he has a point, a really ****** ** evil point. And it's also he's getting straight to, I mean, the crux of it here, which is like he he's lucky to be in a situation in which he can claim like, oh, actually, I don't want to ban this. Because this makes me feel safer to know that they have, you know, the, the poor, their, their quality of handguns is, is it's way worse. Yeah, there's a lot, there's a lot that's messy on this whole, this whole thing. But it is very funny and it's going to wind up getting a lot of people killed. Not in necessarily, not not just from violence. A lot of people are going to die because of Carter's defense of terrible handguns and where it leads. But before we get into that, you know who else loves ****** handguns that break? In their owner's hands and. They've. I'm sorry. Sophie absolutely loves it. Motto is, we want you to be armed and we want you to never know if that gun's going to fire or not. Yeah, completely inexplicable. We we we want a weapon that you cannot trust under any circumstances. That's guarantee. Remove drop safeties from handguns. Let them free. You know, I enjoy this because I am watching Sophie just shaking her head every time you do this bit. She's. Actually hates. Please stop. She hates. It makes you so angry. Do you know why I hate it? Why is that, Sophie? Because there's like 50 Reddit threads of people being like, wait, what is this? I've never read about who has? Who has a child hunting island? Is he and I just. It just feels like betrayal to our listeners now. My love with most of my heart. I like ******* with him. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I I feel the same way towards him that I do with my cat. When I like, I like pick it up and I like, toss it in the air and it hates it. But yeah, it can't. It has to let me, like, squeeze it and and wrap it in a blanket. It's. Yeah, it's called rent. It's called paying rent. Yeah, that's right, ************. Yeah. You gotta be adorable for me. Sometimes your fear makes me smile. Hmm. I feel the same way about our piggies, you know, everyone. It's like you feed the slot to the piggies and you let them oink, but it's you. You're the farmer. Remember that, right? You're the farmer. Well, I'm the farmer. You are. Yes, exactly. Robert. Remember? That's. I don't think it'll work out. Work out? Well, no, it's really fun to **** with the goats if you pick them up. Like they don't know what to do with their little legs and they just, like, kick in the air and then you can hug them. Oh, I love it. They go, wow. Except for my boy goat. He's the ram. He loves it. He *******. He'll. As soon as he sees you, he'll run up because he wants to get cuddled. Damn, his sister hates it, but yeah, whatever. Anyway, of course, here's us course. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. 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If we don't help them find ways of making a living without destroying the environment, we can't save chimps, forests or anything else. And that becomes very clear when you look at poverty around the world. If you're living in poverty, you can't afford to ask as we can. Did this product harm the environment? Was it cruel to animals, like, was it factory farmed? Is it cheap because of unfair wages paid to people? And so alleviating poverty is tremendously important. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. We're back. So before we get on to the consequences of Harlan Carter's embrace of terrible, unsafe firearms, let's talk about the his defense of the virtues of arming small children with derringers. Now, Matt, if you're not a gun guy, the derringer is a tiny, ultra concealable one or two shot pistol. They were originally made for Riverboat Gamblers, as documented in the documentary Maverick. Hmm. OK, alright, I know exactly what's going right. Yeah, they're like little little bitty. Like, yeah, yeah, little hot girl, guns. This is the way I think of him. Here's something he said to Congress. There was a little boy, and it was real cold. And he had his hands in his overcoat. He had one of these little old derringers and four bushy guys ambled up in an arrogant manner. He stopped them, and three of them were very nice and decent. And one of them said, what would you do if I told you I had a pistol and I was going to kill you? And he says I would kill you, you son of a bunch. These little guns have a very noble in it, perfect, important purpose. And we should make our position clear. God, that is the 1st. Recorded incident of like what? Someone being like my 5 year old just said, Daddy, why does Trump do the bad thing? And I couldn't explain. It's like a totally fake story that did not. There's absolutely no way this happened. But also, did that make sense? Like what does it mean by their bushy? What does that mean? That has to be racist, right? He has to be being racist here. Ohh yeah, for sure. But I don't know how which race I'm going. Like were they acidic Jews? Yeah. What does this mean? What does bushy mean? I don't know what, but it could be Italians. It would be funny if, like, the real story is that, that the Jeb and George Bush who were young at this point, like it was, it was all of the Bush brothers. Like, yeah. Trying to mug children. Yeah. You know, bushy like the former head of the CIA. Yeah. I think he was current. Probably would have been current when this was, I guess at that point, 70s. Yeah. So obviously that's probably a lie, but it's very, again, Harlan Carter is, he is the kind of guy. It was not just like. I think children should be able to engage in shooting sports, but like, I think children should be routinely carrying handguns on their person. Yeah, because whatever bushy guy shows up, yeah, exactly. That is out of its damn mind. Just oh man, a bushy man could strike at any point. Yeah, you never know when a bushy dude's gonna come in. You gotta be you have to always have a derringer in your 5 year old pocket. It's the 70s. Maybe you're talking about like a Tom, like a like a lot of chest hair type guy. Like, you know, like, yeah, disco Stew shows up. Yeah, bunch of disco guys come out and start threatening children. So anyway, back to the point. Under Harlan and his successors, the NRA acted repeatedly to defend the rights of gun manufacturers to build dangerously shoddy firearms like this is we talk a lot about, rightly so, the things they do like legislatively to defend the gun industry. But this is often left out because one of the things is its primary victim is gun owners, right? I'm going to quote here from a write up in Bloomberg. In 1972, Congress created the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Four years earlier, Lyndon B Johnson had signed the Omnibus Crime Control and safe. Streets act, which regulated several aspects of firearm sales, and advocates of gun control hope to give this agency oversight of defective weapons. Representative John Dingell, a sorry a Democrat from Michigan and a hunter with an A+ rating from the ascendant NRA, blocked them in 1975. He did it again when a colleague introduced a bill making a second run at giving the CPSC Firearms authority. We put in there and express prohibition against their getting them getting their nose into the business of regulating firearms and ammunition, Dinkel said in debate in Congress that second. Was crushed 339 to 80 and the issue has never been seriously considered again. And it's one of those like this is again. A perfectly. I. Even if you're like a a a gun fundamentalist, you should want there to be oversight of guns that don't work or explode and, like, ammunition that doesn't work. Like. Right, right. That seems to make that. That shouldn't be a political issue. It's one you'd be into that. Yeah. And the only explanation for you not being into it is like, oh good, they can't get the good guns. I mean, like, like. Poor people, black people getting the defective guns seems to be the only excuse here. I mean, well, I mean, they're specific excuse is that like, this will, this will enable potentially the government to like, regulate what kind of ammo is illegal and ban types of like, whatever, right, that which they do anyway, right? There's that **** happens and like, whatever, it's dumb. It's dumb that this happens this way. It is worth noting that, yeah, it's it's like a blue dog Democrat who is the one who, like, blocks this ****. So the end result is that when gun manufacturers produce firearms that, for example, fire for no reason and kill their owners, it is impossible for the government to order them to recall those weapons. Not even the BATF E, which supposedly regulates firearms, can force a gun maker to take broken guns off the market. And I'm going to quote again from that Bloomberg article. And this is actually how the article opens. Thomas Bud Brown makes his way out the back door and stops a few steps to the right, raising a trembling arm, pointing at something. It's where he found his boy slumped against the cold back wall of the house around 7:15 AM on the last day of 2016, bleeding out. Brown is telling the story now about how he was sitting in his chair in the living room when he heard the shot. His son Jared, 28, had just picked up buds Torres PT 145 Millennium Pro pistol and headed out to do some shooting near their house in Griffin, GA, with his best friend Tyler. 90 but figured Jared had fired at something for the fun of it, like he did. Sometimes I was thinking I'd better go out there and tell him to be careful or something, but 54 says, his voice trailing off. But what he'd heard was the pistol going off without anyone pulling the trigger, sending a 45 caliber slug through Jared's femoral artery. Oh **** my leg, my leg, Jared yelled, loud enough for his father to hear. Haney, 26, rushed to the house in a panic, pleading for help. When Bud got out there, the pistol was still in its holster, tucked into Jared's waistband. So. And he can't sue. He can't do nothing. Absolutely nothing, but is one of we have no idea how many Americans died due to defective tourist guns. The company did eventually issue a recall on something like a million weapons that were potentially defective, but they didn't have to run ads anywhere to inform people of the recall. They were not required to reach out to their customers, to reach out to gun stores, to take any action at all, to warn people that they'd sold guns that could fire for no reason. And unknown number of those weapons are still in people's gun safes, closets, and holsters. Today, that's ******* crazy. Just like, I don't even know the justification. It's just guns don't kill people. Yeah, it's this face kills people. The the NRA, they are, there's this, like social, like culture war component of how they do what they're doing. But they fundamentally represent the gun industry in any industry that can stop there from being away, to sue them if their products don't work, like, course we'll do it if they can, you know? Yeah. Yeah. It's just it's just it's yeah. It's so insane to get to a point where it's so clearly a manufacturing lobby mixed in with a culture war issue that just creates death everywhere. Yeah, it's and it's, I mean, again for, among other things, don't buy tortoise guns for any practical purpose. But absolutely. In the 1990s, more than 40 U.S. cities filed lawsuits against gun manufacturers, spurred on by a surge in violent crime. This was the Super predator era. Now, I can't speak as to the legal merits of the individual cases of these cities against these gun manufacturers, but the response the NRA chose was interesting. They used their lobbying arm to launch a campaign that got Senator Larry Craig of Idaho and Representative Cliff Stearns of Florida to propose a piece of legislation that would end all pending litigation against gun companies and prevent any future litigation. It took a while to actually get the law, which is the PLC a written. And by the time it was introduced, George W Bush was on his second term. In October 2005, he signed the PLA and a law which blocked lawsuits from seeking damages on gun industry companies for unlawful use of a firearm. Right? So if the company could be sued for like, breaking the law in some way, but they cannot be sued for what people do with their weapons. And I have some conflicting feelings on some of these lawsuits, but one of the things that people will point out is that the advertising. Of a lot of these companies like leads to the like and this is a big thing like the Sandy Hook lawsuit, right. One of the big issues one of the big like points that used to justify like the suing against the Bushmaster who who made the gun that was used in Sandy Hook was this some this ad campaign they just done where it was like a consider your man card reissued and would like send you a man card with an AR15 and it's it's it's again there's again I I this is like a complicated thing to get into entirely. But there's a debate to be had in into my mind. The area in which it's kind of most relevant to have this debate is on to what extent is, does the way the gun industry tries to sell weapons to people complicit in when those weapons are used for violence? So, for example, when Daniel Defense launches an ad where you have like a Bible verse and a small child holding an AR15, to what extent does that help to lead to, to what extent does that help make the gun culture in the United States? Violent, right. Wrong. And this is not really what the lawsuits are like, the Vivaldi families aren't suing Daniel Defense or they that they're attempting to right now. This is all happening at the moment on those lines. But to my mind, that's kind of the most. That's the thing that, like, I think there's a point on. Sure. I mean, it's like, I mean, the way cigarettes were marketed changed, you know? Yes. Were regulated like crazy and has actually had an effect on. Yes. The amount of smokers. Yeah. And so anyway, again. I have some complicated thoughts on like suing companies for the unlawful use of their products but there's like anyway the the PLC a kind of in ended that for a long time and this is starting to be challenged. But for for 15 or 17 years or whatever made any kind of like debate meaningless right because it was just a prohibited and it was prohibited again this is the NRA spent a lot of money on George W Bush's campaigns. You know I am wondering if the like initially the. Hitachi Magic Wand actually was a back massager. And if you could sue Sue a company because it gave your wife an orgasm, well, like again there I I think people do need to consider when we talk about like to what extent should a gun manufacturer be liable for something about a mass shooting. There are some unsettling implications to some of that, but it's not a super cut, it's not as cut and dry as certain other things are. Yeah, I mean, I'm not saying it's a slippery slope necessarily, but I am saying that I thought it was a back massager. Yeah. And now it's. Better at making my wife calm than I am. And that seems has been. Yeah. And, well, I mean, it seems kind of unfair to me to have not known that. What's really, I mean, people are bringing up people on Twitter have brought up the fact that, like, you're limited to six ****** I think, in the state of Texas. Is that right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. There's like literal laws on how many. I mean, I don't think they've ever been in what has been enforced, though. Is that like anyone, you know, who works at a sex shop in Texas has to be like has is like prepared. This is a little bit less the case now. But when I had friends in the early 2000s, like, you get training on like, what to do if you get raided because you're not allowed to sell sex toys they had, they were always called cake toppers, right? Like, the ****** and **** were like cake toppers or personal massagers or whatever. Yeah, but you couldn't like, you couldn't say, like these are for ******* in the same way that, like, you could sell a bong but you had to call it a a water pipe for tobacco, like if you use the word bong in a Texas heat. Again, head shops were always kind of inconsistent about how much they were paranoid about this. But like. You you could get asked to leave for calling something a bong in a in a, right? But I mean, what do you what do you call that? You know that? You know that silicon **** that has both the ***** and the vagina? That's a sexy ***. That's a sexy ***. Yeah, so but you? I mean, I'm just saying, how do you market that? So get around. I don't. I don't think they really had sex *** although I know people bought *******. What do you call them? The the fleshlights. So there must have been some like, I'm guessing they probably they must have been advertised as like a novelty, right? It's like a this is for joking around at a Bachelorette party. You put it on it. They're they're like, it's dumb all Texas is whole legal system is stupid as ****. That's insane. That's a lot of fun, though. I mean, you know, but people get around it, like, I didn't have access to a big silicon, you know? But vagina. And so I ****** the big mouth Billy Bass. Yeah. Who didn't **** a big mouth Billy Bass. Yeah. Yeah. I'm just saying universal experience of people in the early 2000s. Yeah. I'm sorry. I just, like, eventually I I just was like, we're gonna start talking about come. We're going to start talking about come look. You know, the same year that George W Bush signs the PLA and the law, that's the year that many millions of young American boys encountered a Billy largemouth bass for them. That's right, yeah. And and thanks to the NRA's lobbying, the Billy Bass company couldn't be sued for taking the rigidity of all those boys. Take me to your virginity. Alright, I'm done. Alright. The last thing I wanna talk about here, and this is maybe the most unsettling thing the NRA has done, is that they have made it impossible not just to like, not only do they fight, like any regulation that might potentially impact positively America's gun violence problem or America's gun death problem, they've made it impossible to research how gun violence works and like the extent to which different policies. Affect it. In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article that show showing that gun ownership was a risk factor for homicide in the home. Now, this is a study you'll see cited a great deal, and it's often used to argue that firearms in the home make people less safe. This study was widely reported on at the time, and it scared the **** out of the NRA. So the NRA campaigned to eliminate the organization that had funded the study, the CDC's National Center for Energy Injury Prevention. Congress included language in the 1996 Omnibus Appropriations bill to insist that, quote, none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control. Now, you may note they weren't doing that with that study. It was a study that you could use to argue gun control supported gun control. But it was just a study on like the the homicide risk and how that changes when you have a gun in the home, right? Right. Like the the CDC was not like lobbying specifically. They were carrying out a study, but the NRA. Studied, yeah. How people get hurt in the home. And the NRA argued that was inherently like, that's political and should be illegal. Yeah. And then they make that happen, right? Yeah, like Congress goes through with this ****. This is later referred to as the Dickey amendment because of some dude named Dickey. Now under extensive lobbying pressure, Congress also removed $2.6 million from the CDC's budget, as that was the amount they had invested in firearm injury research the year before. So they cut all of the money out of the CDC's budget. That had been used to research firearm industry. And again, whatever you think about gun control, there are 400 million of these things in the ******* country. There should be research into how they affect people, right? Just like, seems prudent. It seems prudent. Just seems prudent. Yeah, if if ******* if auto companies were blocking research into how car accidents work, right? Like you would say, that's nuts, you know? Because it would be. And it's not even. It's like, it's not even that our ball tried to do that. But yeah, right. It's. I don't fault them for trying. It's the same way with the, you know, that's what they're going to do. That's what they're gonna do. They're gonna try to do that. And you know, it's a ****** ** capitalist system wherein if you have the money you can try. The crazy thing is the success rate of the NRA in these and these things that are completely like common sense ideas. There's there's a wide variety of arguments about how should you interpret this, this, the, you know, the, the findings to studies like this. To what extent should they inform policy. All that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, I think if you're saying you shouldn't be studying this kind of stuff at all, you're the bad guy here. You're definitely bad. Like, definitely bad guy, the very least coming in bad faith. But yeah, you are 100% doing bad guy stuff. Yeah, and should be stopped. And federal funding for research into gun violence and gun related injuries dried up after that. Since 1996, the CDC's funding for Firearm Injury Prevention has fallen 96%. And similar attempts to fund research have met with further attacks and the ability to study any of these stuff, most recently in 2012. And yeah, so anyway, that's broadly speaking the story. Our buddy Neil Knox. I should give you a little bit of context on how our heroes turned out. Yeah, they doing Neil Knox wound up being way too radical for even Harlan Carter's NRA. He was forced out of the organization in 1982 after being overshadowed by the rise of Wayne La Pierre. I think Lapierre kind of helps maneuver him out. He dies of colon cancer. In 2005, he outlived Carter by a fair amount. Harlan died, not surprisingly, of lung cancer in 1991. So the tobacco industry did us all a solid on this one. Yay. Occasionally it works out. One of his final acts in this world was to hand over control of the NRA to Wayne Lapierre. Ohhhhhh ****. That's the that's the Harlan Carter and the NRA, everybody. *** ****. There's a pretty good song about him called Ramon Cassiano by the drive by truckers, which is good. OK, ******* the he sucks. It sucks that he sucks that he's dead, too. I feel like the one of the big reasons why I'm just, like, I don't, you know, I'm not for like, hey, let's make guns illegal or whatnot, is because, like, I feel like guns might end up being very useful in stopping all these ridiculous, you know, ******* NRA lobbies, you know, I'm saying, yeah, and this is. I have, I have tried. I think I've done a very good job of like not inserting a bunch of my own specific opinions on gun control because at the end of the day, there is a history of here and it deserves to be like talked about. Sure, without a tremendous amount of editorializing. But yeah, I I feel similarly like my attitudes on what gun control should be around are impacted by like #1. I don't think only rich people should have guns. I really don't like the idea of 1000% excise tax on AR15 so that only wealthy people. And afford them, right. And I don't like the idea that like at this point, at least culturally, the only people who are interested in in having guns are people who are interested in upholding white supremacy and that is deliberately designed that way. And one of, I mean one of the things that has happened in the last couple of years, this is really accelerated since 2020 is the demographics of people buying firearms have changed wildly, particularly first time gun buyers and it's gotten a lot more left-leaning and a lot less white. And, you know, there's a variety of personally, OK, because people do ask about this because I talk about guns sometimes in terms of what I think are the number one, the laws that you could most easily pass without the Supreme Court guaranteed shutting them down. And I think a federal assault weapons ban the Supreme Court will rule against. Right. Like it will go to the Supreme Court and they will rule against it in their current construction outside of, like, talking about should we stack the Supreme Court? Whatever, like, not doing that. So stuff that I think would not #1. Not necessarily like obviously anything is a crapshoot with the Supreme Court, so literally anything could get turned down by yes is they're about to rule on a concealed handgun carry bill anyway, but the I think I think it's perfectly reasonable and is also there is legal precedent for raising the age at which someone has to be in order to buy a semi automatic firearm. Certainly 18 year olds are not full adults and are our current gun legislation recognizes that by banning them from buying handguns. Although that's also not entirely accurate because you can still buy handguns through like, face to face sales or have them given to you by a parent or whatever. There's always every there's always, like ways around this kind of stuff. But it is, it's been established since I think 1986 that the federal government regulates stock, does not want people under 21 buying handguns. So it it's the kind of thing where if you were to pass a law extending that to semi automatic rifles. You'd have a stronger argument in front of the Supreme Court if it came to the Supreme Court in order to like defend that piece of gun control legislation and both of our most recent mass shootings as of this recording there may have been another one by the time this drops. Let's not we're 18 year olds who bought a gun and immediately carried. So I I do think just on a moral level, there's a case to be made that, yeah, this might ******* save some lives. And I think the best thing you could do, you would probably not have to call it a red flag law because that term has been politicized. But a law that would allow you to take guns and stop people from buying guns if they have a history of domestic violence and. Comments towards women and making violent threats of mass shootings, which seems like a no brainer. Yeah. And like everything, the politicized to a stupid degree. But the Buffalo shooter was aunt had been doing like threatening shootings and threatening women and like head was on law enforcement radar. Should have been. It should be possible to do something there, right? You'd figure. And yeah, I feel like that there's so many like common sense, like laws that you're yeah, that don't exist, that you're surprised every time you find out they don't exist. I I do think, I think one of the things where gun control advocates make a mistake is focusing on universal background checks. Not because I don't think it's a good idea to have background checks for buying a gun, but because nearly all of the guns bought and even used in massacres were by people who passed a background check, including the Buffalo and Ivaldi shooters. They both like universal background checks. They they pass those so like that. That's not as much of the solution as I think, something like an effective kind of. Again, I think you would need a better term. And red flag law, because, but also maybe, I don't know. The right's gonna culture war, whatever you try to do, right? But everything's poison pilled, no matter what you can name it. Any ******* let's euphemistic, nice sounding thing. If you hit your wife and kids, you shouldn't have a gun, bill. But of course, one of the issues with that is that you're going to disarm, like, 40% of the police, right? Like I I can talk about like, what I think would be a good idea at the end of the day. Like, I don't know like what I what actually is going to pass. That's a totally different *******. Conversation and yeah, no, I don't. I don't know what the answer is. I know that the one thing that I don't think the answer is is, is this, like mutually assured destruction thing where we're all armed at all times and that's the society we live in. I also know the answer isn't every like, liberal and leftist being like, Oh well, I'm, you know, I'm going to trust that the government and the police. We'll keep me safe from this, the bad men. And so I'm like, it's it's hard to know. It's hard to know what to do. I mean, this is a very difficult issue because again, people, a lot of people say, no, it's simple, just like ban the guns. But it's like, well, how are you going to do that? There is legal precedent. There is a Supreme Court. And also there's a police force that's not going to disarm certain people. Like, this is not as simple as you're making it out to be, right. You can say it is the guns. And yeah, of course access to guns is like why a lot of this is happening, but also like that. Listen, that's not the end of of, like, the complexity of the issue, because there are 400 million of these ******* things in the country right now, and a whole culture built up around being ready to immediately use them against. Right now, gay and trans people are particularly in the *******. Crosshairs and again this is like. So I don't know. I I think fundamentally, like, I, I, I argue a lot about gun control with people. I think the folks who want to see more of it are coming from a fundamentally natural and noble position, which is looking at repeating massacres and going like, we got to be able to do something about, yeah, there's gotta be like, there's gotta be some we can do about this ****. No, I completely understand it. I mean, and yeah, and I feel, I feel the same way. It's like there's certainly gotta be a ******* solution to this, that is. A systemic solution, a governmental solution, like an an acceptable state of affairs. Yeah, yeah. But like so many of the problems we have, like how to fix it and like how to fix it without having a shooting war over it and, like, who does the fixing? And like, I I think like one of the things that is frustrating to me is that like it is, it is just a big fundraising issue in a lot of ways and in in ways that I think are kind of, like unhelpful and actually solving. The problem and I again, nobody knows what to do with this because it's. It's so much like no one has ever had anything like this happen, right? People bring up the the Dunblane massacre, the Port Arthur massacre. They bring out like, you know, when Australia confiscated all those guns, and that was 200,000 guns. Like there are 20 million AR fifteens in the United States. There has never been a society that's heavily armed or a society that has turned the random mass killing of civilians into a meme. Yeah, both of those things have happened here, and they happened alongside like the. The militarization of an increasingly unaccountable, violent police force, that once dictatorial control of American cities and all of this stuff is pretty, pretty unique historically. So, yeah, I don't know how we fix it. It feels so American and unique that it feels like, yeah, if I knew the answer to it, I would. I would say it, but I really do not. I mean, and again, it's like one of those I don't vote. I'm not a gun issue voter. I barely a voter, right? Like, I do vote, but I don't believe in it. I don't believe it's all to do any. I vote as I vote is like a well what if I'm wrong, if I'm wrong and it's best to vote and and vote and and the people who say you got to vote, if I'm wrong and they're right, then at least I I I put in the vote and I tried that thing. I don't think it's going to work. I don't think they're going to solve any of these problems, I think. Other things are going to be happening in the future that are not what we recognize as part of American politics, but are going to become the way things get decided in this country. And I think you're going to be uglier and weirder than our parents were used to. But I do like, voting is like, Oh well, OK, but maybe I'm wrong about that. It's the same reason I have a 401K. Right? Right, right, right. Exactly. Maybe there will be an economy in 30 years, so I'll get to retire. You know, it's the same reason I own half of a Bitcoin, you know? Exactly. Maybe I'm wrong. Yeah, you know, I get it. Yeah, you got you. Just in case. What if I'm not missing out? Yeah, I just have a one. That's all I could afford. But the point is, is, yeah, I I I just want to say I vote. And I also am cynical, and I have the exact same. I have the exact same pessimism that you do. Yeah, but. You know, the the only optimism that I have is there's going to be some someone smart who does something good. And I don't want to miss the bus. I don't wanna miss you know I I mean my and I tend to think we should all. Maybe if if people are more committed to like. Getting out there and taking personal responsibility, not as a militia, but in in a, in a, in a, in a responsibility for believing I I think sometimes because we just had a mass shooting in Portland that was stopped by an armed member of the community. A shooting at A at A at a protest for a A a police violence victim that was stopped by an armed member of the community. But I think Community defense is everyone should have an IFAC right? Downsides to owning a gun, no downside to having a tourniquet. And some guys on you, and some chest seals and knowing how to use them. Zero downside could be useful in a car accident. You could have a ******* piece of rebar fall off of a building construction and impale somebody, and maybe you'd get to save their life with an effect million times. That could be useful. Have an IFAC right organized in your community to provide a houseless people with, you know, defense against sweeps to provide people who are low income with eviction defense to to stock food pantries. Like all of that stuff is a you can wear out. You can wear cool. Uniforms, if you want. While you can get a plate carrier, you can put patches on it, you know? Can I wear tactical sunglasses? Yeah. Why the hell not? Yeah. The be the, be the, be the tactical sunglass guy. Yeah, whatever. Make it, make it cool. Just help your help. Your Black Panthers look cool as **** when they were like, serving food to kids, you know? Yeah, they did. They had swag, you know? Yeah, they wore berets and they made berets look ****** you know? Yeah. Look who was hell and protect your community and. Yeah. Yeah. It doesn't mean you need to own a gun, but maybe a little more community involvement might be helpful. And also Society of things that you can you can do. Yeah, yeah, abolishing the police. That is a good idea anyway. Matt, Danny, portables. Ohh man I've had a great time and if you love the ********. And getting behind them, you'll love the podcast, pod yourself, a gun, a Sopranos rewatch podcast that me and my friend Vince Mancini do. We just finished the entire series, so you can relisten and rewatch the whole thing and it's great. You'll love it. And yeah, you look forward to us doing our the wire podcast very soon. It's going to be great. And you know, speaking about cops being ******** it's a whole show about it. Yeah, you'll you'll love it. And I promise you that, you know? Well, we're not going to. You know, be it. It's 2 white guys talking about the wire. We're not gonna it's, you know. So just don't worry. It's a good. It'll be good. You'll. I promise. I don't know how to say that. Well, I'm excited to listen to it. We don't, you know. We're leftists. Anyways, I'm excited. Follow me at Matt Leaf jokes on Instagram. Follow Matt Lieb home. You have a Twitter track? I do. It's it's it's at Matt Lieb. And you can follow me there too. That's fine, but I feel. Hmm, no jokes on that one. That's deathly serious. That one, you know, I just post whatever today. In fact, I posted something from a doomsday dried food ad that I saw good and and it was really weird. It was like a Mac versus PC commercial. But they made the doomsday the like, you know, dried food guy, you know, he was talking about his product and then the other guy who was selling the the fake patriot food was very much an anti-Semitic. Name ohgod. Ohh yeah. Yeah. They made they made him very clearly a Jew and he it opened my dad hello, fellow Patriots. And I was like, holy **** they went for it. And yeah. So I posted a little bit of that and you love to see it. You love to see. Just straight up anti-Semitism. On on the on. This was an Instagram ad, by the way, but the hey, it was on. Usually is, yeah. Anyways, follow me on all the things and learn to can look. It's cheaper than food buckets, yes, learn to can and it works way better. It does work very well, yeah. Behind the ******** is a production of cool zone media. For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. 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