Why would the handful of people at the top of the NRA organizational chart take the dopey stand that criminals should have an easy path to obtaining guns? Because the big wheels at the NRA home office don't care whether the rest of us are safe or not, as long as they can continue to live the good life, a significant portion of which is made possible by generous donations from gun makers.
The NRA's cowardly letter included several points. The first was this eye-roller: "The NRA doesn't oppose background checks," it began. "We support the National Criminal Background Check System." The first sentence is a lie, one that is not made into a truth by attaching the second sentence, which is true. Why doesn't the NRA leadership put its cards on the table? Why didn't their letter say they oppose background checks for the 40 percent of gun purchases that happen at gun shows?
The dishonesty continued, often in the form of weasel words -- statements that are technically true but that are designed to mislead.
And there was the egregious claim that Sen. Manchin has somehow failed to stay true to his values, simply because his heart was moved when he met with the families of the Newtown victims. The dead in Connecticut, and in Aurora, and in Tucson and in eight thousand (actual count, not an exaggeration) other locations since the Newtown murders are nothing to the NRA's leadership but factors to be dealt with, public relations issues to be managed. To the senator, those dead were flesh and blood people, individuals whose grieving families are left behind to stand in stunned silence at the heartless leadership of the NRA.
We Mountaineers are always free, says our state's motto. Free enough to see through a carpetbagging, snake-oil selling, coffee klatch at the top of the NRA who believe that we always will buy what they are selling. But their "sell-by" date has expired.
Wyatt is a Gazette contributing columnist and a Marshall University professor.