28 dead people, including 20 children. This was the horror record of the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the US small town of Newton in 2012. Wayne LaPierre (71) was immediately on the spot. The head of the US gun lobby NRA (National Rifle Association) told Americans, “The only thing that can stop an evil person with a gun is a good person with a gun.”
Less than a year later, LaPierre and his wife Susan traveled to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, where they had the goal of shooting African elephants, the largest land animals in the world. The trip was filmed by an NRA-sponsored TV crew, LaPierre wanted to go down well with hunters, who are among the biggest supporters of his club. The film was never released.
Four shots are not enough
Why? This is shown by recordings that “The New Yorker” and “The Trace” are now making public – eight years after the trip. The video shows the local guides locating one of these giant elephants. LaPierre aims, hits, the animal falls on its side. “Good shot,” assured his companions. “Do we have it?” Asks LaPierre, somewhat incredulously. Together with his companions he runs to the animal and as it turns out, it is still alive, but lies there motionless.
The hunters are approaching again, about five meters away from the elephant. One of the tourist guides runs to the elephant and shows LaPierre where to shoot: “Right here”. Runs back, LaPierre shoots. Looks puzzled. The animal is still alive. The Führer tells him to kneel down for the next attempt.
LaPierre is determined, shoots – over again. The Fiihrer stands beside it in disbelief: “I think it’s not over yet. Where are you shooting at? ” “Wherever you tell me,” replies LaPierre. The guide asks an NRA colleague from LaPierre if he would rather shoot. No chance. The guide runs to the animal and shows LaPierre again where to shoot. He replies: “Ok, I can do that”.
LaPierre gets up, is told by the guide to kneel down, shoots – and misses again. There is a smile on the Fuehrer’s face. He says to a colleague from LaPierre: “Come on, you do it”. He starts once and kills the animal. He then praised LaPierre: “You shot him as if there was no tomorrow.”
Sitting next to the elephant and pondering the first shot, the guide says: “All that matters is that he went down.” LaPierre laughs and says: “Maybe I was a little lucky.”
In the NRA for over 40 years
Later that day, LaPierre’s wife is there too. Again they hit an elephant with the first shot, again it goes down, but is still alive. Again they come within a few meters of the animal, but this time it is Susan who is allowed to pull the trigger. She shoots the animal in the first attempt. Then she cuts off his tail and holds it up as a trophy.
Wayne LaPierre has been with the NRA since 1977 and has been its executive director since 1991. He is said to receive around one million dollars a year for this. The aim of the NRA is to push through gun laws that are as liberal as possible and to enforce the second amendment to the constitution, which guarantees every US citizen the right to private gun possession.
Bankruptcy as a way out?
But the NRA is coming under increasing criticism. In 2019 there were reports that testified to huge debts which were attempted to cover up with fraud. New York attorney general Letitia James accused the leadership of embezzling $ 64 million and enriching themselves. In January the NRA filed for bankruptcy. Observers say this was to avoid prosecution. The NRA denies this and says it is repositioning itself in Texas.
Wayne LaPierre is in the thick of it everywhere. For decades he has been attacking gun opponents as an “elite” who understand nothing about the lives of Americans. This video comes at the worst time. Hunting in Botswana costs tens of thousands of francs per person, reports the US media. In addition, the African elephants are threatened with extinction because their natural habitats are being destroyed, as experts recently said.
It is not clear whether the video was therefore never published. Or maybe it was because the most powerful gun lobby on the planet didn’t want to show that their boss can barely handle a gun. (vof)