Today, the National Rifle Association begins six days of virtual hearings in its bankruptcy proceedings, the focus of which is expected to be whether cartoon villain Wayne LaPierre and other executives grossly mismanaged the organization’s finances for their own gain. Earlier this year, the non-profit filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to consolidate litigation and escape the fraud charges brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Essentially, a federal judge in Texas will determine whether the bankruptcy—which the NRA has said it sought in order to escape New York’s “corrupt political and regulatory environment”—will be allowed to shield the organization as planned.
The evidence so far has been pretty bleak for the NRA: In a deposition last week, a “travel consultant” said LaPierre had asked her to cover up NRA-funded flights to family members’ residences and to the Bahamas. And, as gun control activist Shannon Watts noted this morning, a deposition filed over the weekend includes some pretty bizarre stuff concerning LaPierre, his fear for his life, and a luxurious yacht an NRA business partner loaned out. In the interview, conducted last week, LaPierre says he used the 100-foot yacht—which included cooking staff and “several staterooms”—as a “security retreat,” directly tying his summers on the boat to the mass shootings in Parkland and Sandy Hook and somewhat unconvincingly making the case that his trips to the Bahamas were actually a necessary measure for a high-profile executive who feared for his life. As per the court transcript:
Because of the threat that I was under and because of the fact that I couldn’t feel safe anywhere, was being harassed and screamed at everywhere and death threats, I — I considered it a condition of the security environment that I was operating in as a result of the job that I had with the NRA, which put me in a totally unique situation that I don’t think hardly any other American has experienced, with the possible exception of someone like — I mean, I can’t describe the extent of the threat that I was under at that point.
“I was in a totally unique situation that I think hardly anybody else in the U.S. experienced that type of threat,” the executive said, “other than maybe the president. I mean, I had presidential threat without presidential security and was looking for a place to be safe.” Taken to the logical conclusion that people fearing for their life must escape to the Bahamas when facing a credible threat, LaPierre has at long last offered a solution to the United State’s problem with gun violence: A free vacation obtained under dubious circumstances on a luxury yacht for every man, woman, and child.