Friday, April 28, 2017

An Open Letter to the NRA

To: Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, National Rifle Association

Today, April 28, 2017, you made a statement at the National NRA meeting to the effect that “academic elites” were one of the three most dangerous threats to the safety of the United States of America. The others were political and media elites. I am an academic, and you must therefore consider me to be a direct threat to the United States. In particular, I am a scientist.

I realize that you did not actually say that your followers, unrestricted by firearms legislation, should actually start shooting us academics. But clearly some of your followers must have assumed that, at some unspecified time in the future, it might be necessary for them to take up their precious firearms against people like me. Since you verbalized no restrictions on your condemnation of academics, and offered no qualifying statements, I can only assume that you have given your followers permission to be ready to start shooting scientists and other academics at a time of their choosing and with their own judgment. If this is not what you meant, you should have clarified it! I realize that you and other NRA enthusiasts do not plan to violate laws by shooting us, but at some future time of social disruption, there appears to be nothing to stop you from doing this. Some of your followers may think that, if the government cannot protect us from those academics, then we might have to ourselves.

I realize that you envision a future in which those whom you consider to be the enemies of the United States will be swept away by those whom you consider to be patriots. And I assure you that I am planning, at some point in the future, to leave the United States so that you and your wild followers can exercise control over it as you see fit. With many of us academics leaving the country, there will be a massive brain drain, of which Europe, China, Japan, and many rapidly developing countries will be the beneficiaries. Right now China is buying expensive advertisements to invite us to move to China. You don’t want us; you have guns; we get it. I only ask that you give us a little time so that we can exit in an orderly fashion and in a manner that does not disrupt our lives too much. With viewpoints such as yours being so prominent, and having the complete support of the President, it is inevitable that there will be an exodus of academics; we just do not want to be refugees.

For reasons that are obvious, I am not signing my name to this letter.

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