Chris Wallace didn’t just grill National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre today during Fox News Sunday, he chewed him up and spit him out at the same time. In an almost 15-minute interview, Wallace did not pull any punches, did not fear monger about the Second Amendment and gave LaPierre quite a talking to about LaPierre’s “ridiculous” suggestion that kids in school are subject to the same kinds of dangers as the Obama daughters.
The entire interview is worth watching. But two exchanges stand out:
1. Wallace played a clip of LaPierre in Congress earlier in the week, saying: "What people all over the country fear today, is being abandoned by their government. If a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs, that they’re going to be out there alone, and the only way they’re gonna protect themselves, in the cold, in the dark, when they are vulnerable, is with a firearm."
WALLACE: Do you really think that that is a more serious threat, marauding bands of Americans during a tornado or hurricane, do you think that’s a more serious threat to the average American than the steady drum beat of gun violence and sometimes mass gun violence?
LaPierre ducked the question.
LAPIERRE: We want to stop gun violence, that’s what we’re trying to do. So here’s the threat. There are 25 violent crimes a week in this country. We need to take a city like Chicago and nobody wants to do it but the American public I think will get it when I say it. Chicago is 89 of 90 in the country in terms of enforcing the reasonable federal gun laws NRA supports on the books against felons with guns, drug dealers with guns, gangs with guns, the people doing the killing.
We are all obsessed with the Taliban and we ought to be. What about these gangs that are ruining neighborhoods all over the country? We need a federal task force, if it takes 500 agents, if it takes a thousand agents, go into Chicago.
I know, Eric Holder doesn’t want to do it. He says it’s a cookie cutter approach…
Wallace said LaPierre had a “perfectly legitimate point” but he noted that it “wouldn’t have saved the people in Newtown. It wouldn’t have saved the people in Aurora, Colorado. It wouldn’t have saved the people in Clackamas County, Oregon.”
2. Later, Wallace played a clip of the controversial NRA ad accusing President Obama of being elitist for having his children protected with more guns than other other children.
WALLACE: They also face a threat that most children do not face.
LAPIERRE: Tell that to people in Newtown. Tell that to people—
WALLACE: Do you really think the president’s children are the same kind of target as every school child in America? That’s ridiculous and you know it, sir.
LAPIERRE: You know, unfortunately, I think there are parents all over the school that think—all over the country that think their kids are entitled to the same amount of protection when they go to school, and they want their kids to be safe…
WALLACE: So, they should have Secret Service?
LAPIERRE: No, but what they should have is police officers or certified armed security in those schools to keep people safe. If something happens, the police—despite all the good intentions, is 15 to 20 minutes. It’s too long. It’s not going to help those kids.
Certified armed security in schools, just like—
WALLACE: But that’s not going to protect them in the shopping mall, in the movie theater, on the street.
Kudos to Wallace. And I don’t think LaPierre did himself any favors here.
If anyone at Fox News was getting even half the death threats those two get (most of them from Fox News viewers), they’d have a full detail bearing automatics, and drive around in a S.W.A.T. Tank.
And @bemused – you are absolutely right. If LaPierre is a “good guy with a gun” he shouldn’t need additional protection. Obama’s daughters do not carry guns – the Secret Service protects them because of who their father is and because all the insane fuckwits threatening him and them as well. Bush’s daughters were protected – all presidential offspring (and spouses) receive this protection. It’s a baseless argument against a man the NRA absolutely despises – someone with a brain calling them out. And I honestly believe most NRA members are not batshit crazy like LaPierre – but too cowardly to publicly buck the most powerful lobby in Washington. Guess their big old guns aren’t enough, huh?
He’s armed, he travels with armed security guards. Do all members of the NRA get this perk? If not, why not? Is it fair to other members that LaPierre gets all this extra protection? If he’s armed, WHY does he need extra protection? Does HE pay for it? I don’t think so.
Just thought this was an important point. I am not a fan of Chris Wallace per se – I think he can and does argue the douchey point when his Fox masters want him to. But I do give him kudos for this interview. Jabba the Ailes must see which way the wind is blowing, lower ratings, etc. and is responding accordingly.
I’m more curious how a “journalist” got past Fox Security.
People like Wayne Lapierre (aka “The pebble” or “The stone”, which reflects his IQ pretty effectively) are interested only in selling more guns.
Unlike clothing, shoes and food, even homes, guns don’t wear out or go out of style, even though it does seem that certain firearms are more stylish than others: “Mildred, you have just GOT to come over for coffee and see my new AR-15!”. How long before they start offering pistols with pastel colors or even inter-changeable external coverings so the owner can mix and match with his/her clothing?
Anyhow, the big-buck backers of the NRA are terrified at the thought of their market shrinking as more and more people realise that irresponsible gun owners are a menace to everybody, including the law-abiding ones. The key is not more guns lying around (which only multiplies the danger) but rather intelligent regulation that can encourage gun owners to realise:
1) that guns are d-a-n-g-e-r-o-u-s in the wrong hands (hence the need to keep them under lock and key;
2) a tiny minority of gun freaks can create a lot of havoc (hence the need to make it less easy for them to have guns);
3) one’s individual freedom stops where it infringes on the freedom of another individual iand.
I – for one – take strong exception to the very idea that a gun freak can simply walk into a shop or gun show or Granny’s dining room and buy a gun. People who think that’s acceptable should do a bit of research on the quality of life in Somalia, the only country in the world to have more guns per capita than the USA and a country where the only law for the past two decades has been the gun.
Wallace is more genuine- He’s uncomfortable when there’s no guest that are pro-control. He’s equally uncomfortable when there’s no one pro-gun at the table. He wants both sides together. He doesn’t allow any of the pity party points other hosts do, and he’s more natural when he actually asks the tough questions the rest of Fox won’t.
For whatever reason, Wallace cares about there being a balanced narrative on at least his show to defy Fox for one at every turn. He is seriously the only name on the network that I can believe his fairness isn’t an act that will be later used as a go-to argument against critics.
Bill O’Reilly has not been bad on gun control. Geraldo, too.
But he has never had anything resembling tolerance for the NRA pity party. He even told one of his guests a while back that if that was all they were gonna do, they should have booked Hannity.
LaPierre doesn’t do his homework if he went in not knowing that.