CW: Kate Madison wrote this comment today. I'm repurposing it as a post for reasons that will be obvious when you read it.
By Kate Madison
Picking up on the gun control comment section of yesterday: I am a member of Central Coast Oregon Ceasefire--a local group of gun control activists (mostly women, ahem!), which is affiliated with the Oregon chapter, and more loosely with the national chapter. We are said to be the most active and involved local chapter in the nation, and I believe it.
First of all, Central Coast Oregon is "purple," thanks to the old hippies who live in Newport--but we are in the middle of Bright Red 2nd Amendment crazies. We sponsored a gun "buy-back" in Newport in April, but changed the title to gun "turn-in" when the local police got nervous. We held our "turn-in" at the Newport Police Station, under the direction of the Police Chief. CCCO members were not allowed to touch the guns being turned in (for vouchers at local businesses), which would be melted down to sell. So we kept track of the number of guns--an amazing 345, in a small city of 12,000--and issued the vouchers. I was one of the volunteers and I learned a lot about tragedy and crazy.
First of all, when I arrived at the Police Station on a chilly, rainy Saturday AM, there were already over 100 people waiting on the steps for the Police Dept. to open. These were the "protesters," who had come from not just Oregon--but Nevada, Idaho, Montana and even Wyoming--to meet people who had come to turn in their guns-- before they got in the doors--and to offer them a higher price. They carried posters which touted the 2nd amendment, and portrayed us as "Pussies on Crime, etc." (As I walked in, they chanted, whistled and gave obscene gestures.) I felt like an employee at an abortion clinic in Kansas.
That we actually got 345 guns is nothing short of amazing, because these protesters were quite verbal and pushy with people trying to get in the doors. I talked with all of them, and every person turning in a gun referred to personal experience with gun violence. One person had accidentally shot and killed a friend while cleaning his gun. All had become believers in the necessity of strict gun control and felt hopeless about our government ever doing the right thing.
I tell you this, because I am a believer, obviously, in the necessity of gun control and will continue my work against most odds--except in Oregon. We are lucky right now to have a Democratic governor and a totally Democratic legislature--albeit with a lot of Blue Dogs. Two weeks ago they passed a Universal Background Checks bill and this week a Domestic Violence bill (which includes banning gun possession by abusers). Our Democratic representative joined our Ceasefire celebration last Sunday and regaled us with stories about the hate mail he has received--from all over the U.S.
However.....this is a start. I am not hopeful that this legislation will be the answer to gun violence in Oregon, but it is a beginning. The sad part to me is that it has taken a completely Democratic controlled state to get ANYTHING passed.
America is to me the land of deliberately missing the point. Sad.