To: Wayne LaPierre, CEO and EVP of the National Rifle Association
Imagine with me the impact of thousands of your nearly 5 million members volunteering in their own towns! Because, what our country is a large body of people who care about our country, understand hard work, and choose what is right and good in our world. In short, we need your members.
I am thrilled with your words on August 8, 2019, “The NRA will work in good faith to pursue real solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in America. But many proposals are nothing more than sound bite solutions which fail to address the root of the problem, confront criminal behavior, or make our communities safer.”
You see, I’m a Chaplain at a residential treatment facility for troubled adolescents. Our work is designed to stem the tide of violence to self and others that arises from our cultural ills. Fatherless children, violent neighborhoods, parents caught up in alcohol and other drugs, poverty, hunger, incarcerated parents, and educational deficits all contribute to angry and disturbed young people. We have the privilege of pouring our hearts into these children for a season in the earnest hope that it will make a long-term difference in their lives. They are children with beautiful souls and difficult pasts.
Yet, we send them back to the same community ills.
What if you were the leader who changed the public perception of those who do not support your organization to one of true power instead of greed?
What if the NRA got behind a campaign to mentor at-risk youth?
Invite your members into service to develop solid relationships with kids in hard places. Children in the crime-ridden neighborhoods. The ones with no father in the household to steer them in the right direction. I can see several benefits to your constituents. If the goal is family safety, then keeping our neighbors healthy is truly important. (Our risk of gun violence from someone in the neighboring community is much greater than the risk from a mass shooter. )
The positive growth that we humans experience when we offer our time to someone who needs us is immeasurable.
Relationship with the children who are growing up this way will stem the tide of criminals in the making. Their current mentors are often drug dealers who teach them how to defend themselves with guns. Perhaps a mentor from your club could have an impact on how to use guns safely, how to work hard, how to be a man or woman of integrity rather than power.
If you are true to your word that you would get behind something that could work, please contact me. I would be honored to help get something like this started. We must start small. But I know of people and programs that can teach us. We can do this if we work together.