1. I would say there were 500-800 people there. Someone said grid counts showed around 500. I wouldn't argue with that. Not huge, but in Chicago, at a rally FOR gun rights, I think we did well. More importantly, our people were perfectly peaceful and treated the city with total respect. People walked through our crowd to get into the building rather than go around!
Moreover, I personally cleaned up the litter in our seating area. It took me one trip through, and I didn't need a garbage bag. The litter left on seats and the ground by hundreds of gun-rights activists could be picked up in my two hands. Try that at a Rainbow Push March for Justice*.
2. My wife and children are all over the internet this morning. You can even see the baby in his little lawn chair. We got him his own little chair because he loves chairs and we hoped he might sit still for awhile. He did, actually, sit in that chair for about 45 minutes, which is pretty impressive. Score one for My Bride.
3. Unovision TV news wanted to interview me on camera. All I could think was "Oh, sure, you'd like that wouldn't you? 'Let's put the 500-pound** redneck with sweat dripping from his beard on TV to talk about his rights.'" I handed 'em off to Phil, the event organizer, who's a harmless-looking little guy with every hair in place, while I left to wring out my shirt.
4. My Bride has never really understood the whole "guns thing," but she tries to be supportive. However, on Friday she told me that both Valinda Rowe (IllinoisCarry/ISRA spokeswoman) and Dr. Suzanna Hupp "gave me goosebumps." Always a good sign.
5. I heard some wacky anti-gun opinions as I filtered along the edges of the crowd, including one woman who had apparently phoned an acquaintance to tell them about the rally and gotten into an argument with them about gun rights. "Well, what good they think it gonna do? It ain't gonna happen. They think it gonna happen?!?"
6. I could have sold all the "Second Amendment Freedom Rally Host" hats and paid for part of the rally, if they'd been for sale. One poor guy, young guy with a spanish accent, kept after me all day. If you're reading this, buddy, I'm sorry I couldn't help you. You can always get an NRA hat instead.
7. Next year, maybe we can sell "Second Amendment Freedom Rally--I WAS THERE!" shirts and hats.
8. If any marshals are reading this, I apologize for numbering you off as if you were middle-school children on a field trip. But, hey, it worked, right?
9. They can try to call us racists and bigots and old white guys, but I was there. I saw the women, I saw the children (and I recruited them to be marshals, because I have no shame.)
I saw the yarmulke and the turban in the crowd--MY crowd. My people.
10. We got some good news coverage, but apparently there's still a blackout on pro-gun events in the Old Media. Not surprising, I guess. I KNOW there was a Chicago Tribune reporter interviewing people at SAFR, for instance, but Chicago-area IllinoisCarry members report no coverage anywhere in that paper.
I watched WGN news at a friend's house Friday night, and there was zero mention there, either, although they had tied up a news truck at the rally from 9:30 a.m. until after it was over. Were they hoping for something that didn't happen, like a violent confrontation or maybe Father Pfleger showing up to try to snuff somebody? I couldn't say.
I did note that they devoted several minutes to some preacher who had five people at a gas station singing "He's got the high gas prices/In His hands/He's got the high gas prices/In His hands/He's got the gas prices/In His hands/He's got all the gas in His hands."
So, you know, hard-hitting journalism there.
*Common usage of "justice" may not apply. Justice to be defined later.
**Hyperbole. May not reflect actual weight.