Yesterday I received what I thought was going to be a Seasons Greetings card from our friend Shannon Watts and the Everytown/Moms Demand Action gang. But when I opened the envelope, what came out was a card from an organization called Students Demand Action, with a great pic of ten girls and one guy standing underneath what looks like the Santa Monica pier.
The group is nicely masked up, by the way, which pleases me no end. Everyone is also smiling and obviously enjoying standing in the surf. But most of all, what impresses me about the picture is that everyone is wearing the ‘uniform,’ the red t-shirt which has become the most recognizable and identifiable symbol in the gun-violence advocacy movement since Shannon founded MOMS back in 2013.
Shannon did more than start a group to raise awareness about violence connected to guns. She actually began what has become a national movement for gun reform that has become as strong as the leading group on the other side, a.k.a., the NRA.
She’s had some help along the way, some of it coming from Mike Bloomberg, who merged his own gun group, Everytown, with the MOMS in 2014. But for everyone who thinks that Shannon and her girls couldn’t fail because they had access to Bloomberg’s bucks, let me break it to you gently, okay?
Money lets you do lots of things, organizationally speaking, that are much harder, if not impossible to do without dough. But for every organization which figures out how to spend its money wisely, there’s another organization out there which just pisses money away.
I have been donating money to various liberal and left-wing groups and causes since, hmmm, maybe 1968, maybe before. And no group that I have supported over the years does as good or as effective a job as Shannon does with her girls. Or ladies, Or whomever they are.
To keep things even-steven, I should also tell you that I’m a member of the NRA. Not just a member, but a Lifetime Benefactor member, which means I hear from the boys in Fairfax all the time. I also get invited to lots of NRA events, and if weren’t for the goddamn Covid I would show up at a gun show or a pot-luck dinner from time to time.
Know what? I can also go to meetings and activities run by MOMS. They have a nice search function on their website which lets me register for various events, and to my great surprise, MOMS isn’t just active in the usual, blue-liberal states. They have an event coming up on January 10th in — ready? Idaho! How in God’s name does a gun-control group hold an event in the state which is where the whole militia movement got its start?
But that’s exactly why I support Shannon and, by the way, you can and should support them too, Because it’s no big deal to find some folks interested in working to reduce gun violence in Washington, D.C. But Idaho? Or Indiana, where the gals are holding three lunch meetings next month?
If it wasn’t for the goddamn Covid, I would probably be giving some kind of spiel about guns to some group at least once a month. But I’ve stopped appearing before gun-control groups because they know what I’m going to say.
People like me need to appear before the gun-owning groups because those are the folks who don’t hear what people like me have to say. And know what? Every time I talk to a bunch of gun owners, someone will come up at the end of my talk and tell me that he doesn’t agree with me, but I’ve given him something to think about. And that’s what it’s all about.
When Shannon first started MOMS, she told me that she wanted to get her messaging in front of people who needed to understand the risks of guns. And who better to aim such messaging at than the people who are usually most concerned about safety in the home?
But thanks to the card I got yesterday, it’s clear that Shannon has widened her net and now wants to get her messaging in front of not just parents, but in front of the kids as well. Take a look at the 16 high school students who represent the next generation of advocacy leadership and you’ll see what I mean.
And while you’re at it, go to the MOMS store and spend a few bucks. And don’t give me some nonsense about how you’re too broke to chip in.