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Response to Article on the Santa Cruz MMM vigil

by Michael Pelletier
San Jose, CA

Originally published on this website December 6, 2000

Ms Jones,

I have a few points to note on your article that appeared in the December 4th Santa Cruz Sentinel:

1. The MMM organizers would not allow the self-defense advocates into the auditorium until people carrying guns arrived - namely, the Campus Police. The hypocrisy and irony runs thick.

2. There were about 60-70 self-defense advocates, and maybe 12 or so MMM affiliates, including the organizers. The word is "most," not "many."

3. A man leading his children past the self-defense advocates repeatedly said "These are right-wing extremists, they don't care if children get shot," obviously trying to bait us into a reaction. The third or fourth time he leveled this grave insult, he was called a liar in a clear and unmistakable voice. He promptly got extremely agitated, then hustled over and went nose-to-nose with the person who spoke the truth. Who needed the protection of the campus police here?

We ALL CARE. We ALL want the same thing, gun-owners and gun-haters alike! NOBODY wants to see people's lives cut short by any means, a firearm or otherwise, and it's a flat-out lying insult to accuse us of not caring.

This is why the NRA runs the Eddie Eagle program -- teaching youngsters not to touch real guns -- and their numerous firearms safety training programs, to teach everyone from law enforcement officers to wheelchair-bound grandmothers the rules for the safe and proper handling of firearms. The NRA has been a leader in firearms safety education for nearly 125 years.

But the MMM's focus on "gun violence" and "gun trauma" dismisses the trauma faced by those who have lost loved ones to knives, clubs, and fists.

The MMM talks about guns as the disease, rather than one of the thousands of symptoms of a moral sickness that has permeated our society. It's not about "guns," it's about VIOLENCE, and John Brown -- the Gunderson High School student who was stabbed to death on November 29 at a San Jose light rail station -- and his mother Debra, came to understand this fact intimately and personally: John, in the moments before his death, and Debra, painfully and for the rest of her life.

The MMM focuses on the sometimes-increased lethality of firearms as compared to knives, clubs, or fists, but without addressing, or seeming to WANT to address, the wound in the human soul that causes one person to desire to strike out against another or against themselves, regardless of the tool they choose. It seems that they're sending the message that spousal abuse is less terrible if the "angry man" doesn't have a gun.

The MMM focuses on "feeling" safe, but not on "being" safe. Did they "feel" safer when the two campus police officers showed up with their sidearms? Then why do they rail against each one of us having the right and ability to provide for our own and our families' safety by carrying that same effective tool for defense against violent attackers, if we so choose?

A battered wife might FEEL safer carrying a donated cellphone, but she won't BE safe if the 911 operator has to helplessly listen to an attempted murder over the phone while waiting for the police to show up with their guns. What about giving the wife a gun to defend herself? The MMM doesn't want to think about it, apparently. They're too busy making crayon scribbles over pictures of guns.

It's time for all of us to drop the language of division and hate, and work together to fight the REAL causes of violence and despair in our society. This would be more productive than demonizing and denouncing guns and gun owners, and more effective than working to strip the weak of their best tool against the strong who would do them harm.

The NRA challenged the MMM last year to match their donation of a million dollars towards gun safety education. The MMM spurned and ridiculed this offer last year, but I think it's time for them to step up to the plate and put their money where their mouth is. It's time for the MMM to make a real difference in gun safety instead of occupying themselves with attacking the NRA and millions of peaceful law-abiding gun owners.

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