The real tragedy: Wayne LaPierre fears for his own safety
EDITORS: Dana Milbank is taking a one-week vacation. His next column will move Tuesday, Aug. 20, for immediate release.
WASHINGTON -- After two horrific mass shootings, we come together as a nation to confront an urgent question: How are we going to keep Wayne LaPierre safe?
The longtime head of the National Rifle Association, it turns out, is worried sick about his personal safety in this gun culture.
After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, he and his wife bravely waited out the uproar on the pink-sand beaches of the Bahamas, part of $542,000 in private jet trips and personal items the NRA bought for him. And now, thanks to some delightful reporting by my Washington Post colleagues Carol D. Leonnig and Beth Reinhard, we know that last year's Parkland massacre left LaPierre so fearful for his personal safety that he tried to have the NRA buy him a $6 million French-chateau-style mansion with nine bathrooms in a gated Dallas-area golf course community.
He told associates that he was worried about his safety and thought his Virginia home was too easy for potential attackers to find.
Ultimately, the financially stressed NRA didn't buy LaPierre the mansion. That's too bad, because, as the saying goes: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a French chateau."
LaPierre and his wife wanted the 10,000-square-foot estate, set on a lake and built with white oak floors, "French Beaumanier limestone" (whatever that is) and "exquisite custom handcrafted wood trim" -- rather than an upscale high-rise in Dallas. I am sympathetic to his thinking, because although guns don't kill people, insufficiently fortified upscale high-rises most certainly do.
Further, the LaPierres sought to acquire a social membership at the community's exclusive golf club; they wanted the seller's cars and golf cart to convey; and Susan LaPierre was concerned that there was not enough space in her husband's would-be closet. This sounds a bit precious, but consider: The golf cart almost certainly would have been up-armored after closing. And though LaPierre typically wears Italian suits purchased for him by the NRA, he needs someplace to store all that bulky body armor.
"They were just trying to find a safe house to put him in," LeRoy Sisco, an NRA board member, told the Post. "They were just saying that they needed to get him to a safe place."
Some will see hypocrisy in LaPierre trying to get the NRA to buy him a mansion in a gated community when the NRA, at the time of the attempted acquisition, issued a statement decrying the anti-gun "elites" who "live in gated communities." Many will see it as ironic that LaPierre feels unsafe because of the very gun culture his policies have created.