by Karen Mehall Phillips - Monday, January 21, 2019
Yet another standing ovation was in order for NRA President and American patriot Lt. Col. Oliver North, this time at the 2019 DSC (Dallas Safari Club) Convention at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center here in Dallas, Jan. 17-20. The combat veteran and recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts took to the podium in the name of saving American freedom, delivering a hunter’s call to action at the DSC show's closing banquet on Jan. 19. The call: to join the NRA—to stand and fight to save hunting’s future so our children and grandchildren can enjoy our same freedom to hunt and own firearms.
“We must never let anyone take away the individual rights that make America the freest nation on earth,” said North, who weaved countless personal stories into his speech from years spent on the front lines and as the patriarch of his now 27-member “North clan.” “As hunters, we must stand together, fight together—and win together.” Identifying the threat—the leaders of the disarm-America movement—he referenced legislators like Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Chuck Shumer and Alexandra Ocasis Cortez. “Do you think they care about our hunting heritage or value our freedom?” he asked, as they prepare to launch more gun control measures. “They won’t rest until every civilian-owned firearm in America is confiscated—that means our shotguns and hunting rifles.”
It speaks volumes about North’s character that he made the decision to retire after 17 years with Fox News in May 2018 to assume the NRA presidency, joking that it was not an easy decision because the news organization had paid him a lot more money to get shot at than the Marine Corps ever did. “Freedom is difficult to achieve and a challenge to keep,” he said, noting his pride over the American flag that has draped the caskets of so many friends. Like the situational awareness that the men and women with whom North has served possess, he said we hunters had better act on ours. That means knowing what is going on around us with the disarm America movement and addressing the threat to our freedom head-on.
North talked of how our founders forged a new nation with an expectation that we are, indeed, hunters endowed by our Creator with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As he shared a video clip from the NRA’s campaign to save hunting, “A Right to Be Human,” the narrator’s words hit home: “You have the right to be human … to renew your bond with the earth that sustains you, to listen, to chase, to take what you earn. Your humanity with the world is not a disease to be cured by the manufactured guilt of the unsensed, stricken, tortured souls among us, or a perversion to be purged from your DNA.”
North is proud that the NRA has taught more than 50 million young Americans the fundamentals of gun safety and hunter safety and ethics. “But we must do better,” he said. Noting that women represent America’s fastest growing hunting demographic, he explained, “Where young women go, so will young men. If women of this country lead us back to our hunting roots, back to the very nature of individual liberty, then I say God Bless and the NRA is here to help.”
North talked of how today’s young people are influenced by video games when it comes to learning how to relate to the world. “They don’t read books, they don’t go out and play…They haven’t even learned patience…They don’t have to hunt—seeking, pursuing, self-determining is not part of their passive, sedentary world.”
So he works to teach about freedom in his own family by giving each person a box on his or her 14th birthday. Inside is a Holy Bible, an NRA Life membership card, a compass and a 20-gauge shotgun. “Learn to use all off these and you will never go hungry,” he tells them, then he proceeds to teach each child how to use everything in the box.
North and the NRA are committed to promoting hunting and the Second Amendment. “But we need your help,” he said. “I’m here to tell you the only organization with the strength and proven resolve to defeat the disarm-America movement is the NRA—and we are going to stand and fight like hell. My wife, Betsy, and I have skin in this fight. We have 17 grandchildren. We want them to grow up in a country where the Bill of Rights—all of it—is intact.”
Again we see why North agreed to serve as NRA president. Asking why every single person in the room was not an NRA member, he said, “Though we live in the freest nation on earth, we cannot take it easy. It has always been our calling as Americans to hunt and chase and grasp our freedom with every bit of energy we can muster.”
In closing, is it any wonder why President Ronald Reagan called Lt. Col. North an American hero? From 1983 to 1986, North served as the U.S. government’s counter terrorism coordinator on the National Security Council staff. He holds three U.S. patents, is a New York Times best-selling author, spent 17 years wearing a helmet camera on the front lines as a war correspondent for Fox News and is now on the front lines serving as the 66th president of the NRA. North has spent his life telling his Marines, his four kids and now his 17 grandkids that we are defined by the company we keep. “This is why I have spent my entire life keeping company with American heroes and hunters”—all of whom have had “an appreciation for field and country and God’s natural beauty and resources.”
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