Here's a letter I just fired off to NSSF president Steve Sanetti regarding the Erik Scott murder by LVPD. I'll post developments as they happen.
I am writing out of anger over the murder of Erik Scott by LVPD, and in concern that the next SHOT show is to be held in a city where such a thing could take place. If you are not familiar with this case, here are the basics:
Erik Scott was a West Point grad, an honorably discharged veteran, a Duke MBA grad and a medical service rep who made house calls to service defibrillators and pacemakers. He was shot outside a Las Vegas Costco store where he was shopping with his girlfriend. Scott was carrying concealed, with a valid permit. A Costco employee saw the gun when Scott knelt down and his jacket rode up, and set this mess in motion. LVPD cops were happy to join in, shooting Scott seven times just outside the store. Two rounds in front, one in the armpit and four in the back. No exit wounds. By the credible accounts (which do not include LVPD) Scott's gun never left the holster, nor was there ANY indication it would. He wasn't shot for anything more than the joy of shooting someone, by cops who have shot several others.
The department that killed him is the same department that issued his permit.
The shooting took place on July 10, but the inquest is just getting underway this morning. There is a massive cover-up underway, and LVPD has decided on the course of character assassination of the victim rather than accountability. This is part of a much larger problem in America - the militarization and corruption of the police - and all the bad actors in this drama know they have the full support of the Obama/Holder justice department, thanks to the undeclared but obvious federal war on gun owners.
FYI, I am 51 years old. I've been shooting since I was 11. At two times in my life I have been an NRA certified instructor, and have taught handgun classes for concealed weapon permit applicants. I am also an entrepreneur. In this economy and in our present national circumstances, I have been seriously considering starting a preparedness store and had planned to attend SHOT in 2011.
But now, I will not be coming to Las Vegas. Not for SHOT, nor for anything else. Never again. Clark county Nevada is not a safe place for gun owners.
This decision is reversible, but not without cleaning out the sewer that is the Clark County government.
The cops are shooting your industry's customers, on the sidewalks of the city where you're holding your next trade show. So, you have a role in this, whether you like it or not. If you think the "SHOT" industry is sustainable on government contracts, well, feel free to hold the show anywhere you please. But if you want to maintain the level of consumer support you presently enjoy, you will need to get the NSSF on the right side of this mess, pronto.
I've no doubt that venues for shows the size of SHOT are booked half a decade to a decade in advance. I don't expect you to move the show. But, I do expect you to let the hotels know that the cops they control (and they do control them) have gone too far, and that attendance may suffer to the point where their relationship with NSSF is in jeopardy. This situation needs to be dialed back, a lot, and the cops and the current bosses need to go. As in, to prison. Economic pressure will be more effective than moral pressure. (This is true everywhere these days, but it's particularly powerful in Las Vegas.) You can exert the same pressure on the Clark County commissioners, and I expect you to. Every correspondence should remind these clowns how much money SHOT brings to Vegas.
NSSF should address this on its website, and soon. There is a groundswell starting, and you would look good to be ahead of it rather than lagging behind. I think it would be a grand idea to set up a virtual SHOT show for people who are boycotting Las Vegas. People could browse a virtual show, presentations could be streamed live and archived, and company reps could devote a day or two to web conferences after the live show closed, with the same incentives and promotions they offered at the show. I would happily pay for access to such a thing, and just might proceed with my business idea under those circumstances. Your press release could start "Obviously, NSSF wants everyone to attend SHOT. That's what makes the show a success, and success of the show means success for the industry. But we understand that a lot of gun owners are boycotting Las Vegas in the wake of the repugnant killing of Erik Scott. We appreciate that position, and have set up a virtual SHOT show so those people can attend SHOT without patronizing Clark County, Nevada."
Under the circumstances, it's a shame that SHOT will be held in Vegas next year. By then, this is going to be a gigantic scandal. Erik Scott's dad Bill is an honest to God test pilot and an acclaimed aviation journalist, with years at Aviation Week and several published books. The LVPD thugs don't begin to grasp the connections this guy has, and is digging it's grave as you read this.
I'm sure you're aware of the rising disgust with the NRA. I hope the NSSF doesn't operate by a similar philosophy. I intend to find out, starting with this letter. It will be easy to organize a boycott of Las Vegas over this incident, and such is already underway. I'm helping with that, and, pending your response, I plan to contact every SHOT exhibitor as well. I will do everything I can to make this mess as big as possible, because this crap has to stop before America is completely lost to corruption and thuggery. I am not alone. That subset of gun owners that is highly attuned to liberty issues will be all over this long before your show opens. It is my hope that this subset of your market matters to you, but I understand the economic reality that the cops who shoot at us may represent more revenue to your manufacturers than we do, and that NSSF may be just that pragmatic. Time will tell.
My contact info:
My blog entry: http://invertebratenation.blogspot.com/2010/09/warm-blooded-murder-of-erik-scott.html
Bill Scott's blog: erikbscottmemorialblog.blogspot.com/
Thank you for your attention to this, and my apologies if the pungent nature of my words offends. Fact is, Americans have neglected the source of their liberty for a long time, and that neglect is now coming home to roost, with interest. I'm pretty angry, and expect to remain so for some time. I look forward to hearing back from you.
UPDATE: Had a nice reply from Steve Sanetti in my e-mail tonight. Prompt. Thoughtful. Not a form letter. As of now, NSSF is verifying the info...