A Telling Conversation With “Moms Demand Action”
There’s nothing like a blank stare to get the juices flowing when embroiled in a hot (or not) conversation with Bloomberg’s group, Moms Demand Action.
To be frank, I had expected more. As I walked towards their booth at a street fair this past weekend, it’s not that I was looking for an argument – I wasn’t, but I was hoping for an intelligent dialogue on an issue that generates an awful lot of hand-wringing and angst. Really and truly – as a mom myself, I wanted to ask thoughtful questions and I was honestly interested in their answers.
They had a few postcards calling for “reasonable” gun control measures but that’s about it – certainly no details. I knew that if I approached them with any hostility – or antagonism, I wasn’t going to get anywhere or learn anything, and I was eager to hear how they would respond to some sensible questions. Here’s a run-down of my conversation with the anti-gun mom crowd:
“I’m wondering if more laws against guns will work.”
“Well, we are just looking for reasonable controls.”
“How will that work?
“If a man is stalking his wife, she can then get protection.”
“What kind protection? How?”
“She can get a restraining order.”
“But, why will someone who already disrespects the law abruptly begin to follow the law?”
“But we have to start a dialogue, somewhere…..”
“But I really want to know – how is a dialogue going to stop a bad guy from committing a bad act?”
“It’s like car insurance.”
“Yes, it’s just like insuring a car. Gun registration will stop bad people from getting guns.”
At this point I admit I must have looked a little like a confused Scooby Doo. A gal watching the dialogue from the other end of the table became a bit pinch faced because my conservative pro-gunner cat was now fully out of the bag.
“But why are the laws you want aimed at only one subsection of people?”
“Who do you mean by that?”
“The people that already obey the laws.”
Blank stare, and then “But we have to do something! We have to look at the big picture!”
“But what is the big picture? Don’t you want to do something that actually works?”
I continued. “I’m confused by your list of victims of gun violence…aren’t over 60% from suicides?”
“Well, yes…but we have to start somewhere!”
“Maybe we should have a dialogue on mental health issues – and what’s going on in America’s families before we start penalizing the good guys.”
“Yes – (hesitatingly) you have a point there. But we have to have a “holistic” approach to the whole thing.”
“But again,” I said, “Don’t you want to be part of something that actually works?”
“We think this will work.”
“It just will. And did you know the gun lobby doesn’t have nearly many members as people think they do?” she exhorted.
“Did you know that your group once memorialized the guy that blew people up at the Boston Marathon as a victim of gun violence?”
OK, so this about made them jump out of their chairs. Their faces belied their words, “Tell me it isn’t so!”
I then asked if they thought victims of gun violence should be limited to the innocents – rather than people who were killed in the commission of a crime – by either someone defending themselves or the cops.
Blank stare, and then some actual acquiescence.
Their entire dialogue reminded me of my years in the Legislature – and how using an awful lot of words to fill a lot of space can ultimately mean a whole lot of nothing. I at least expected some tweaked statistics or something a bit snarly, but what I got was some nice looking gals who knew next to nothing about their own issue, other than the words “reasonable”, “common sense” and “dialogue.” If what they were pushing weren’t so flipping dangerous, I would almost feel sorry for them, but in reality, they are being manipulated by propaganda that’s driving a stake through the heart of our Constitution. And they don’t even care.
That said, I can understand the impenetrable fear that can overwhelm anyone (male – female, it doesn’t much matter) when faced with the thought of losing a loved one – especially a child, to anything. Gunfire. Car accident. Cancer. And, as crippling as fear can sometimes be, we owe it to ourselves to look every scary issue out there straight in its face. As a woman, if we want to be taken seriously (100% of the time as opposed to a mere 80%), we can’t afford to be a scaredy-cat when it comes to guns. Don’t want to own one? That’s fine by me. Don’t like to hunt? Good for you. But dangit, don’t let your overly emotional, positively irrational fear get in my way of owning a gun – no matter the caliber, magazine size or sheer volume.
I have the absolute ability to look at firearms with a logical head on my shoulders and understand it has zero capacity to jump up and hurt me or anyone else. It is an inanimate object that has no power other than that which I give it. In the wrong hands, a gun can be deadly. In the right hands, a gun can be life-saving.
This was my closing challenge to those polite women behind the table at the street fair: set aside your fears that have been stoked by people with an unreasonable and illogical agenda. Replace it with a clear-eyed vision of resilience and fortitude, because we can change things…but putting a Band-Aid on a disease won’t ever work. As moms, they should darn well know that surface “fixes” never get to the heart of the problem.