The killing of 20 5 year olds was it for me. I felt that I had to take some responsibility to get the gun laws changed. Everyone says that the N.R.A. is so powerful and that Congress cowers when they approach.
I believe that is not true anymore. People have woken up and decided that enough is enough. Gun violence must be addressed. Even if all of the answers are not available, that is no cause for inaction.
If ONE life is saved by the steps that we take it will be worth it. I heard President Obama ask for our help to force Congress to step up and face the problem of gun violence in America. I knew that he was right that it would not happen unless ALL of us bombard our legislators with calls demanding that they get a spine and vote for:
1. Universal background checks and better updating of the mental and criminal names
2. Ban of gun clips that hold more than 10 bullets
3. An Assault weapons Ban
4. Strict penalties for gun trafficking
Some in the media have said that it will be difficult to do much of anything about gun violence. Forget the fact that the Gallup poll taken last December shows that 92% of Americans want the gun-show loophole closed. Forget that Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly gave powerful testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee where Senator Leahy is having hearings. Forget the images of Wayne LaPierre that uncompromising N.R.A. leader who promised to offer some solutions to our children's safety and then only offered more guns and a crazed, maniacal rant.
Video interview MinneapolisI knew that the media would be there and that I would be able to help the cause of stopping gun violence. I managed to get 2 days off using some vacation time. I found a friend from Detroit who would join me to stand out in the cold for 5 hours in Minneapolis on a February day. And I made another banner that would get the message out.
We scouted the Police facility the day before to be sure to know the lay of the land. We knew that on Monday morning it would be locked up tight. Ed and I got there at 9 a.m. yesterday with our 2 large banners well dressed and well supplied with hand warmers.
We staked out a location that was perfect. The press had to park behind the church at our corner and walk past us to get through security.
As they passed by 3 hours before the President arrived we held our banners up and offered up a hearty "Good morning, we came here from Michigan to help President Obama stop gun violence."
We had been there a few minutes when a car stopped and rolled down their window. It was the mayor of Minneapolis and he said "Thank you for being here." Mayor Rybak has been great during this debate. He has told the politicians to get a spine and act now. During our 5 hour stint we had between 12-16 interviews by various media. Some locals brought us some mittens and hot chocolate. They helped hold our banners too giving us a break.
It was successful beyond belief. It was surprising that we were the only significant group there with signs on either side. It was important that we were there.
President Obama will be making more trips to push his plan to stop gun violence. We need people to show up with their banners at his next stop.
Obama cannot do this on his own. He needs OUR help.