This was the answer Annie Craig of Aurora gave when I asked her why she had gone to Indianapolis recently to attend a gathering of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Why Indianapolis? Because that’s where the National Rifle Association was holding its annual meeting.
And why over a mile away, out of sight of the convention? Because being threatened or spit on is such valuable street cred for this bunch that they're willing to accept stories without evidence, but being photographed amid a sea of friendly, happy people who all think their tiny band are dead wrong would be bad "optics."
“We wanted to go calmly, quietly, and unarmed to protest their leadership and the extremism they are promoting,” said Craig.Uh huh. It was very important for them to go unarmed, which was why they hired armed security to bear the arms (and the karmic wounds inflicted by carrying guns in Indianapolis.) I actually did see two "Moms Demand Action" folks downtown, I should admit. They were riding yellow bicycles with little "Moms Demand Action" signs. I should have gotten photos, but I didn't. There were actually as many Moms Demand Action ladies downtown as there were NRA-specialist panhandlers, so they've got that going for them.*
“I don’t come from a gun family,” she said, “so I don’t understand gun mentality. Which is not to say that those who want guns and qualify, shouldn’t have them. We just want what we call ‘gun sense’ in our laws.” This gun sense includes universal background checks. This helps keep guns out of the hands of people who are convicted felons or mentally ill. They also want a ban on assault weapons and online guns sales.
But of course they do. Except . . . didn't you just quote Mrs. Craig as saying that her position doesn't mean that "those who want guns and qualify, shouldn't have them."? So, should I have my Colt AR15--the one made in 1971--or shouldn't I?
No one is asking law-abiding gun owners to give up their guns or hunters to stop hunting. In the words of Moms Demand founder Shannon Watts: “Our issue is not really with the members of the NRA, 74 percent of whom believe there should be background checks on every gun purchase. We’re not anti-gun. We support the Second Amendment. Many of our moms are gun owners.” They simply want a return to common sense.
Well, no one except the people who want to ban various types of hunting, from feral hogs to wolves to bear, of course. And no one wants law-abiding gun owners to give up their guns except Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin, both of whom Craig specifically cites as politicians with "gun sense," both of whom have called for and voted for bans on specific firearms that I own. Or Watts' Axis of Bloomberg allies at CSGV, which have spent the last couple of weeks defending New Jersey's policy of banning every firearm except "smart guns," enacted before anyone even knew what form the technology would take or what it would be capable of doing. And, of course, Mrs. Craig herself, who was quoted elsewhere in the same article calling for a ban on "assault weapons." Remember that Colt AR-15 SP1 from 1971 that mentioned above? Do you want to take it away or not? And why should I believe your next answer when your last dozen were self-contradictory?
Craig told me how the NRA ignored them at first, but is now responding with anger, including snarky comments on social media, ridicule at how “small” Moms Demand Action is and outright lies about them. Watts recently had to take down her Facebook page due to all the hate and harrassment directed both at her and her family. But Moms Demand Action is not going away.
Uh huh. Moms Demand Action is one of the latest in a long, proud line of anti-gun activists who defame millions of people daily, refuse to engage with anyone who responds appropriately with facts and reason, and then complains about "harassment" and "bullying." Moms Demand Action has learned from other members of the Axis of Bloomberg on this front; like the CSGV. Their social media strategy for the past few months has been to ban anyone who politely disagreed on their Facebook page (ask me how I know) and carefully cultivate the few idiots who can't resist making threatening, profane or inappropriate comments. These they share widely, and they get twice the bang for their buck because reasonable gun owners who would condemn those comments never get the chance, at least not on the CSGV Facebook wall. In effect, they're curating a collection of gun owners or supporters who will act like the "insurrectionists" they want to believe are running things, and they're willing to prune the majority to get that collection.
Welcome to the internet, ma'am. It's an information superhighway.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Craig, “and our message is taking hold. I’m proud of our national legislators. Both Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk have gun sense. I wish that were the case for all our local representatives.”
Oh, it's a marathon, not a sprint? Just gonna outlast all those fickle gun owners who are only in it for a couple of weeks of activist cred? Good luck with that. I've been active on this issue for 25 years--I was literally a child--while you just got paid to fly to Indianapolis and stand in a park a mile away from the people you claimed to be protesting. Good luck with your marathon.
Personally, I would like to see the NRA return to what they once were and promote responsible gun ownership and hunting rather than fighting common sense things like background checks. But the NRA leadership seems unlikely to return to that legacy. So I expect to see the Moms Demand Action group fight on. Check them out at www.momsdemandaction.org.
You'd like to see the biggest, best-known opponent of your favored policy go away and focus on something else? Well, gee, that does sound like a swell deal. Where do I sign up to have you and yours just fold the tents and go away? Is this that Reasonable Discourse ™ thing I keep hearing about? BTW, congrats to MDA for beating out the Muscular Dystrophy Association and countless MILF-themed adult entertainment operators to grab that choice URL.
Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” If this is true, then Moms Demand Action is well on its way to victory.Right, sure, gotcha, but there's a catch: if this were true, then being the plucky underdog with no members would assure victory. If being ignored or laughed at were some kind of guarantee of success, the Ku Klux Klan and the Raelians should both be on their way to cultural dominance. Not everybody who's losing is just about to pull off an amazing upset; often you're losing because you're wrong, or because you're not as good at the game you're playing as the other guy is. Muhammad Ali suckered everybody in with the rope-a-dope, sure, but he could do that because he was that much better than almost anybody else. If your strategy is to let George Foreman hammer on you until he gets tired because it worked for Ali, there's bad news: it barely worked for Ali, and you probably aren't on his level. This is really just a restatement of the refrain we've been hearing for 15 years now, that "the gun nuts can't keep winning forever, they just have to start losing . . . we're due for a win!" Mathematicians can tell you there's no such thing as being due for a win. Now, if you want a heartwarming story of a small group of plucky outsiders who made a difference in the end after being ignored and then mocked, consider the scrappy underdogs at Illinois Carry or the Buckeye Firearms Association. Illinois Carry is celebrating its tenth year this summer, and I'll be carrying a pistol to the celebration. Even I didn't see that coming when we started.
*If you were there, maybe you saw these guys? Sitting, reading Bibles, with signs that said things like, "First they took my guns, then they took my home. Any help appreciated." I briefly wondered whether some grad student was writing a paper on generosity and social empathy at the NRAAM, but I'm pretty sure this was just artisanal panhandling, carefully crafted just for you and me.