PHOTO ESSAY / Otis Ike : The NRA War Party in Houston

Undercover at the NRA: Otis Ike with new friend at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston, May 3-5, 2013. All photos by Otis Ike  / The Rag Blog.

A Klan rally without hoods:
The NRA War Party in Houston

There were children salivating over automatic weapons in an environment where showboating adults were calling for the overthrow of the President of the United States.

Text and photos by Otis Ike | The Rag Blog | May 9, 2013

See gallery of photos, Below.

HOUSTON — I took these pictures at the NRA convention in Houston last week in disguise: dressed as a gun-loving, deer-hunting, wild-hog-sausage-making American. An absurd undercover assignment.

I want to clarify up front that I have no problem with responsible gun ownership. There were many people at the NRA gun exposition whose interest lay in marksmanship and firearms for use on their farms.

Unfortunately, though, the group of mostly white people that gathered at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, May 3-5, 2013, exhibited a tangible disdain — and even hatred — for the President of the United States.

You could not walk more then 20 feet without seeing a shirt daring Obama to come and take their firearms. Shirts that called Obama a fascist and a racist… and signs in the front of the convention center with the President sporting a Hitler mustache.

This “Zombie” three-dimensional target, that closely resembles President Barack Obama and bleeds when you shoot it, was featured at the NRA’s Houston convention, May 3-5, 2013.

There were children desiring, holding, salivating over automatic weapons in an environment where showboating adults were calling for the overthrow of the President of the United States. And where it really became intolerable for me was when I saw a child holding a bullet-riddled President Obama torso intended for target practice.

Ironically, the George R. Brown Convention Center was prominently staffed by African-Americans and it was haunting to see them crossing paths with people who so deeply hate the President. One of the workers told me, “It’s like being at a Klan rally where they don’t have to wear hoods.”

I believe that the question needs to be asked: “Is the culture of weapons being promulgated by the constituents of the NRA creating an environment that fosters domestic terrorism?”

To be clear, the NRA Convention in Houston, Texas, was a war party. You could sense that gun owners feel like their backs are against a wall due to the growing number of mass shootings in the U.S. combined with pressure from the White House and “liberal” media.

And have no doubt that the NRA is 100% committed to this fight.

[Otis Ike, aka Patrick Bresnan, is a widely-exhibited photographer, a documentary filmmaker, an affordable housing activist, and a builder. From 2003-2007, Ike worked as a fabricator for notable Mission School artists Clare Rojas and Barry McGee (a.k.a. Twist). His architectural work includes disaster relief housing on the Gulf Coast and cottages for the homeless in Austin, Texas. In 2010, Ike was awarded the top grant from the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund. He holds a masters degree in Sustainable Design from the School of Architecture at the University of Texas .]

Otis Ike on assignment: Scenes from the NRA’s annual convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, May 3-5, 2013. All photos by Otis Ike / The Rag Blog.

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4 Responses to PHOTO ESSAY / Otis Ike : The NRA War Party in Houston

  1. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, though, the group of mostly white people that gathered at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, May 3-5, 2013, exhibited a tangible disdain — and even hatred — for the President of the United States.

    You could not walk more then 20 feet without seeing a shirt daring Obama to come and take their firearms. Shirts that called Obama a fascist and a racist… and signs in the front of the convention center with the President sporting a Hitler mustache.

    The elitists hated Bush. The right today for the most part disdains Obama. Sooo?

    Apparently it is once again left up to me to inject a little intellectual honesty into the Rag Blog.

    A quick search of just the rag blog archives will turn up years worth of rag bloggers “disdain” and “hatred” for the past administration in far worse language than was used at the NRA convention.

    Glad to see all you enlightened intellectuals still have your double standards close by and handy.

    – Extremist2TheDHS

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if its occurred to the dumb ass that wrote this article, that it was Obama’s black AG who allowed guns to be illegally sold and walked across the border, including automatic weapons that were later used in murders of people of color. The NRA has trained millions in the safe use of guns.

    Additionally this wing nut must have been confused when he made the “klan rally” and “war party” comments about the NRA. It is the Obama administration that hated conservative groups enough to ask the IRS to to go war and create as much havoc for them as possible.

    It is Obama’s HHS secretary that is shaking down the insurance companies she regulates for hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions. Its pure and simple graft done in plain sight by people who no longer care if they are caught.

    It is the Obama administration that decided to search for the source of a leak by wiretapping hundreds of people and phones, both business and personal, for two months.

    It is the Obama administration that has told lie after lie about Benghazi, smug in the knowledge that the media will help them sweep it under the rug.

    This administration has gone to war with average,everyday Americans.

    Now that the stench of this corrupt administration cannot be covered up by the media, and its ‘suddenly’ becoming clear to news organizations that something is amiss, the right will take no prisoners in its effort to unmask the gangster in the white house.

    – Extremist2TheDHS

  3. Grad96 says:

    The disdain shown to the President by NRA types, as well as the disdain shown by the author, ought to serve as another warning. Our country is becoming more and more polarized, not just politically but culturally as well. Civil war is becoming a more realistic possibility day by day. But don’t forget – those racist, right wing nut jobs own guns, and you don’t. The army won’t fight them for you either. So what do you think will happen?

  4. Avid Centrist says:

    I am trying to look objectively at Mr. Bresnan’s photos, and at the bloggers’ comparisons of anti-Bush and anti-Obama rhetoric and imagery. A person’s reaction to Bresnan’s visual depictions of the NRA show in many cases will simply reflect the viewer’s opinion on gun control and guns.

    I grew up around guns and hunting, and I own an antique rifle and a handgun. I don’t ever expect to use them and think the necessity is highly unlikely. The photos to me are rather disturbing in that I don’t think it is safe or healthy to be obsessed with guns and with increasingly powerful and dangerous ones.

    As for mockery of Bush and Obama, they are public figures after all and subject to satire and criticism. That is on of the greatest things about our democratic system. But there has to be a line between making fun, say, of a president’s intelligence on the one hand and using violent imagery and rhetoric on the other. Ted Nugent would be a case in point as being way over the line. I don’t know that he has a counterpart among Bush haters. Likewise for the photo of the bust of what is clearly Obama with a mouth full of blood and large drippings all over his body. I am analyzing this as a middle-of-the-roader, and I have to say I never saw anything like that about Bush. (It might even be a crime.)

    It just can’t be denied that the election of a black president and the occupancy of the White House by a black first family has elicited some rather extreme reactions among some people simply because of their race. There’s an ugliness to hatred on the basis of a president’s race as opposed to his policies — as was mostly the case with Bush. Yes,it was perhaps disrespectful and overly personal to focus on, say Bush’s alleged level of intelligence. But that’s not the same as having a sculpture of him at a gun show, covered in blood.

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