The Five Most Bizarre Moments of the 2013 NRA Convention
You expect to see fear-based rhetoric with the best of them -- you count on hearing the murmurs of confiscation and tyranny, of the misguided concept that the only way to keep a government at bay is the 9mm wedged into your wife's bra. (As Glenn Beck alluded to over the weekend, the only thing -- the only thing! -- keeping your wife or sister from rape is a gun. The only thing.) You expect to be filled with the sort of nationalism that would make Hirohito proud. You expect to question the future of this nation and your place in it.
But there are, fortunately, some things that escape expectation. There are aspects and people and moments that make you realize there's still a bit of variation among those who attend and in the ends they all carry with them. A list can't capture anywhere near the bizarreness of it all, but, well, we'll give it a shot:
5. In order to warm up the crowd before Glenn Beck's "Stand and Fight Rally" -- the one in which he insisted the only thing preventing mass rape was a Glock -- the NRA elected to have a seven-piece band from Dallas perform. Six guitars and a drummer. The setup, following the hour of Springsteen and Petty and Mellencamp we'd heard over the radio system, was as Americana as you could find.
And then the band began playing. "Now, I hate to use the word 'opera' at an event like this, but I want you guys to know that this is actually from a pretty badass opera -- bad guys, love triangles, all the stuff you guys love on the TV," says one of the many guitarists. A member of the 15,000-strong audience hollers in response. The vocalist laughed: "All right, an opera fan! And now, Carmen!"
And so began a classic rock version of the iconic opera's score. The crowd shuffled in their seats, trying to figure out where the American music had gone. And they kept shuffling, as the band proceeded to find time to play some Bach, some Mozart, some Beethoven. The closest we got was Dvorak, with a rendition of certain music he'd composed in America. Other than that, though: nothin'. Nothing but classic(al) rock the entire time through. Not sure whose idea it was, but here's assuming the musical set will be a bit different in Indianapolis next year.