Sheriff Gregory was one of the first speakers on this panel, telling a very personal story about her brother, who is a survivor of gun violence. His story, as well as violence in general, is one of the reasons why she went into law enforcement in the first place. After the Sheriff shared her experience (which came across un-biased), Lori Haas shared hers, recounting what happened to her daughter back in 2007. It was then, that the “activism” started, as Lori explained her many positions for gun control.
Haas’ intro opened the flood gates, and it was a domino effect of Moms Demand Action members explaining their reasons for joining their local chapters. However, not a single Moms Demand Action member who spoke on the National Gun Violence Survivors Week Roundtable, hosted by Delegate Hala Ayala, was a gun violence survivor.
Actually, not a single Moms Demand Action member who spoke was even a survivor of ANY kind of violence.
Each Moms Demand Action member who spoke even admitted that they had no story of survival to tell. I found this puzzling, because, I am very open about the fact that I am a gun rights activist, and like them, I too have no real survival story to tell. It’s the stories of actual survivors where I find my motivation to fight for the 2nd Amendment, as well as being on that Zoom call in the first place. I stepped out more publicly as a gun rights activist because I wanted to help tell those stories of survival. Yet, in today’s society, I am considered an “extremist”, or as they condescendingly described us gun rights activists during this call, “part of the OTHER side.”
During something like a National Gun Violence Survivors Roundtable… I expected more SURVIVORS to actually speak. This is when I, and my fellow gun rights activists… those of us on “the other side…” became vocal. We recognized this Zoom event as nothing more than an advertisement for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and gun control in general.
I was unable to unmute myself, and my attempt at the “hand raise” option to speak, was ignored. That’s when I took it to the chat room, with my other two gun rights pals. In this little arena, it was mostly those on the call sending applause and praise to those who were speaking. One of my pals was also chatting and explaining her position as a gun rights activist… because she is an ACTUAL SURVIVOR OF VIOLENCE. As the feed kept jumping due to each chatter texting, I asked one simple question in the forum,
“I am “the other side” and married to a safety professional, as well as the daughter of a former VA LEO, so where is the actual Gun Safety education within these GUN CONTROL laws? I am just a mom.”
“Hi Jill- welcome. All of us who want better gun safety laws and believe we need to end gun violence are on the same side. Isn’t it crazy to think there’s opposition. Come join your local MOMS group. Lots of us are gun owners, lots of us aren’t- we all want the same things- for our families and loved ones to be safe. Not one more.”
That is when I responded back to she/ her, in kind,
“I am the VA State Director for The DC Project: Women for Gun Rights as well as the East Coast Lead for 1Million Moms AGAINST Gun Control… I too, believe, Not One More, but would I even be welcome to your meetings to discuss actual Gun Safety Education? Sincerely.”
I never received an answer back.
Considering that Shana has so many questions as to “WHY” her son became the victim of gun violence in the first place, it is concerning that she depends on groups like Moms Demand Action to get her message across, rather than reaching out to a gun rights Organization- where “we” actually work to educate others on the very thing she wants to eliminate in society; gun violence. And because she wants to bring awareness to PTSD issues that tragedy tends to instill in survivors, partnering with groups like gun safety professionals (instructors, defense leagues, etc…) would actually open more doors to her cause, because those of us who deal with PTSD issues are in turn working with others in our own communities to successfully overcome.
Within seconds of me hitting send into the chat, a Virginia Moms Demand Action member, Meagan Hang (@meaghang) responded to me directly with, “you’re so pathetic.”
Granted, I get this type of thing often from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America members. Instead of having a civil and open conversation, either my questions are ignored, I’m blocked, or I’m belittled. You’d think that someone who advocates for things like “gun safety,” all for the sake of keeping people safe from gun violence, would know better than to insult a supposed gun “extremist.” I mean, that doesn’t even make sense. I’m supposed to be the one lashing out calling people pathetic at random, right? (Cause I’m so-called “extreme” and stuff.)
Anyway. Other than a few technical difficulties, lack of subject matter, and the bias displayed in the chat room, the meeting was very informative, especially for us on “the other side.”
As I said to the chat room as Delegate Hala Ayala closed the Zoom, “Thanks for the open forum.”
It came in handy.