The real tragedy: Wayne LaPierre fears for his own safety
But it's good to know he apparently feels some of what most Americans feel: that gun violence is out of control.
There have been 254 mass shootings in the United States this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, but the back-to-back mass killings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, have people on edge. Active-shooter false alarms have caused pandemonium and injuries across the country last week.
In New York's Times Square, motorcycle backfire caused panic and a stampede, as people screamed, cried and climbed on each other and called 911. An altercation at a Louisiana Walmart, where one man brandished a gun but didn't fire it, caused shoppers to flee. A sign falling at a mall in Utah where a performance was underway caused somebody to yell "shots!" and police evacuated the mall amid the mayhem. Unfounded reports of an armed man at USA Today offices in McLean, Va., resulted in a swarm of heavily armed police evacuating the building while a helicopter hovered.
My 15-year-old daughter was caught up in one such panic in June. At the Capital Pride Parade in D.C., a man with a BB gun set off a stampede of hundreds of people, and falling metal barriers may have convinced others that shots had been fired. Several were injured. My daughter, separated from her group, sheltered in a hotel basement until police gave the all-clear.
She has been skittish about being in crowds since then, and understandably so. Since El Paso and Dayton, and Gilroy, and Virginia Beach and Pittsburgh, millions don't feel safe shopping, attending festivals, going to school or houses of worship, walking the streets or going out at night. This is directly because of the madness LaPierre's NRA has inflicted on America.
Now he knows what it feels like.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.
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