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Million Mom March
May 13, 2001
The National Mall
Washington D.C.

On Mothers Day the Million Mom March started across the street from the marvelous National
Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.  I was the first arrival and wandered around looking for  others
who would be attending the march.  This would be different from the large gathering last year
at the inaugural march.  The marches would be local and take place all over the U.S.   I met up
with Krisse, Stacey, Shirley and Devy who had traveled from Alabama and Congresswoman
Eleanor Holmes Norton's aides Laura Vasquez and Cartwright Moore.  We were a little early
and spoke among ourselves about our reasons for being there.  Down the street, the very vocal,
Tyranny Response Team was also gathering.  Shortly after, many women and men started
gathering to begin the march.  The energetic head of the media team, Hazel Bradford, set up
a media area and we were able to talk with some of the speakers. 

Linda Lewis, a press favorite, had traveled from San Diego, CA to speak about her Sister and
Mother who were shot to death by Linda's stepfather in 1971.  He is a free man today after serving
a 7 year sentence for killing 2 human beings (that's for another article).  He wounded two other
people during the incident.  When asked what laws could  have been in effect that would have
prevented this tragedy, Linda candidly said "I don't know", but added that she believes that
licensing and registration would make people behave more responsibly.

Phyllis L from Bethesda, MD was there with her daughter and said that she came because she
is "appalled at the level of violence that are kids are growing up in."   During our wait for the march
to begin, Phyllis had to explain to her young daughter why the Tyranny Response Team was
carrying signs accusing the marchers of being Nazis.   Both Phyllis and I explained that
they believed that gun laws infringed on freedoms that could lead to totalitarianism.   Phyllis,
being Jewish found this particularly offensive.

Laura Vasquez, Congresswoman Norton's aide, said she would be at the march even if it was
not her job, she had attended last year, and is not a Mom-yet.

Mike Gipstein with the Campus Alliance works with students creating programs and activities.
He encourages students to get involved and is starting a bear campaign.   He said that the
teddy bear he carried is subject to more regulation than a gun.  "Among all consumer products,
guns and tobacco are subject to basically no manufacturing regulations" he explained.
He was accompanied by Connie Rucker of 

Claudette Perry, the event manager welcomed me and introduced me to other members of the
press and said that this year was a celebration of last year's march.  She was very busy organizing
all the activities. 

Earl Young had traveled from Arlington, Va and was representing the
He believes that all handguns should be registered.  He feels this does not infringe on anyone's
freedom.  When I asked Earl if he thought guns should be banned, his answer was an emphatic
no.  He feels there are many legitimate uses, among them sports and police.  His companion,
Sylvia Smith objects to citizens owning automatic weapons.

Not one person I asked believed that guns should be banned.

The march started on time and was escorted by LOTS of D.C. motorcycle police.  It was
headed by young students from the Shaare Tefila School that had made fabric banners.  
While the marchers chanted, the Tyranny Response Team also chanted.  I spoke with Fran
Porter of the Montgomery County, Maryland NOW chapter and she said that NOW was an
enthusiastic supporter of the Million Mom March and that the low turnout of members may
be due to a competing protest over federal judicial appointments.

The march ended at Freedom Plaza and we were treated to a nice saxophone rendition of
the National Anthem by Jaarad Anthony. 

Of the numerous speakers at this event, Congresswoman Norton and Virginia Williams,
the Mother of D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams were forceful and spellbinding speakers.
Their words were strong and sincere and their speeches were inspiring to the crowd.
Virginia Williams said that Moms are a positive force "Don't let anyone discourage you
from taking care of your children."

Just outside freedom circle a counter demonstration was taking place.  The Tyranny
Response Team made lots of noise with bullhorns and shouting to disrupt the speeches.
Much to their consternation, DC Mayor Williams had them moved across the street.
(A politician wished to have his voice heard. Shocking!) They did decide this was not
such a horrible crime against freedom and we could go on with our interview.  I approached
the group and asked for a spokesperson and about 5 men started yelling at me all at the
same time.  One suggested that the Mom's did not serve in the military so they had no
voice and should not be allowed to vote (this from a group that purports to represent
freedom).  I stopped and asked him to clarify.  "Are you saying that only those that
served in the Military should be allowed to vote?"  Before he could answer, John Latham,
of the Tyranny Response Team answered for him.  "No"  I could see this would not have
been the answer that the other man would have given.   I was wondering how he could tell
whether these women had  served in the military or not.   One of the security detail had
been a soldier. 

John quit waving a finger in my face and calling me "you people" after I put on
the sternest Mom voice and explained that I was there to report his side of the story
and he would have to be courteous if he wanted me to continue.  The first little
skirmishes aside, we were able to have a productive conversation. 

John said that everyone has a right to protect themselves and that a very old court case,
Warren vs. DC ruled that the police have no duty to protect individuals.  They also hate
Rosie O'Donnell and misrepresent her views, no surprise there.  He opposes a waiting
period because a check can be done instantly and waiting is just harassment.  As for
banning assault weapons, he says that the definition of assault weapons is bad.
AK47 collectors are subjected to fingerprinting and extensive background checks, a
procedure he opposes. 

"Unbeliever" from Atlanta opposes any and all collecting of information about
citizens who own weapons.  He went on to relate gun control to the Holocaust.

Rose Conn, of Germantown, MD was the most interesting (and quite frankly, reasonable)
member of this group.  She held a great sign saying "Take my man, not my gun"
I told her that really, she could keep both.  She was wonderfully sweet and related that
she had been threatened by a stalker and the police had suggested she get a gun for
protection, they could not guarantee they could get to her quickly enough.  As soon
as the word got out that Rose was armed, the stalker left her alone.  Rose feels safe
with her gun, she is safety conscious, well trained to use her weapon and
she has no small children at home.  After prodding from her friend Bob Holden,
New Hampshire, she related that the last time she bought a gun from a show, she
had to wait 3 weeks to get it.  This however, was not due to laws in her state, but
some other problem that was not identified.  I pointed out that sometimes we don't
get our dry cleaning on Wednesday like they promise either.  Bob insisted that Rose
was really mad about this, but he seemed to be more upset.

Bob Holden said that when he was a child, in the late 1950's, you could buy guns anywhere.
He also claims that in Vermont, where there are virtually no gun laws, there is little crime.
"I resent someone else trying to take my freedom"  which seems like a reasonable stance.
He continued by explaining that he advocates children carrying guns to school to make the
schools safer.  For instance if all the students at Colombine were armed, they could have
defended themselves.  He was also in favor of a state law proposed  (I think it was Vermont)
that would fine a person $500 if they did not arm themselves.  So forcing people to own
guns would be OK with Bob, another blow for freedom.

A point of agreement, if you can believe it, was shared by these groups.  Every single
person I asked was in favor of safe gun technology, even Bob.  I did not speak to
all participants.  Recently, the Bush administration gave 1.8 million dollars to
Smith and Wesson to research smart gun technology that would allow only the
owner of the gun to fire the weapon.  A close friend of mine, a gun owning Democrat, says this
is just a drop in the bucket and a token amount. I say Smith and Wesson should have
to cough up some of their own research money, but it is a fine point.  The fact is that this
technology is in the future.  If only the owner of the gun could fire it, many of the problems
we are facing now would be solved without tons of legislation.  Police Officers could
not be killed with their own weapons, children could not have accidents, they could
not be taken away from their owner and used to kill others.  Careless gun owners
who leave weapons around would not be the menace they are now.  As I write this
a story is unfolding in California where a young child shot another in the face.   They
were playing in their front yard and although details are sketchy yet, it appears to
have been an accident. 

The whole day was enjoyable and enlightening and our Nation's Capitol is breathtaking.
I think that this issue is immensely complicated and that no extreme result will happen.
I don't believe that guns will ever be banned, nor do I think that many people advocate
this, I didn't meet any in Washington.  I do not believe that we will see a time where there
are no gun control laws and I did meet people who advocated that. As with many things,
a few bad apples make things hard on responsible citizens.

Want to learn more?  Here are links to all sides of this issue.  Thanks to everyone who
took the time to speak with me.

The Tyrrany Response Team Website is no longer in existence and I took the site link

The Million Mom March 


Silent March

Women Against Gun Control

Gun Free Kids


Violence Policy Center

The Law Enforcement Alliance
of America

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence






Our Mom-Mom mini poll is now closed.   The overwhelming majority of our visitors were against
further registration of guns being required at gun shows.  Thanks for your participation.

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