The phrase is said to have originated in 1911 and was made in reference to a newspaper article about journalism. Much has changed in the journalism world since 1911, but the adage still rings true.
This photo was taken in Akron, OH on a recent Saturday. Though I was not the photographer, I was standing just feet away from him when this was taken. The occasion was a Rally for Ending Gun Violence. It was open to any and all who are concerned about the rising tide of gun violence on urban streets. It was intended to be peaceful. The rally was promoted on social media and so the open carry guys in our state decided they needed to pay us a visit. In their words, they needed to “educate us” about guns. They were armed, and these are not the only two. The woman in the photo became an activist after losing someone close to her in a domestic violence shooting. She’s holding what most would consider a pretty benign sign. What reasonable person can possibly object to background checks? (Yes, that is said through clenched teeth!)
24 hours later, this photo had been posted on Facebook and on Twitter. Twitter limits you to 140 characters per Tweet, so there were not thousands of words, but there were thousands of re-tweets of the photo. It was picked up by several on-line news sites, like RawStory and on the other side of the argument, Guns.com. I’m fairly new to Twitter and it was the closest I’ve come to going viral. A few examples of the tweets:
that is one brave lady talking to those armed white man
open carry strangers. she lost someone to guns. Two cowards and one strong woman.
they should remove their guns out of respect
open carry is all about intimidation. racist in practice. unequal in toleration
they are not looking to have dialogue. they are trying to intimidate her.
Go away. Leave your guns at home. Then come back like civilized human beings.
She’s armed with courage. They’re armed with — well you can see their approach to persuasion.
Woman in her neighborhood with common sense sign. These guys crash her rally. Very definition of #gunbullies.
There were plenty of tweets from the open carry guys, but I won’t give them the attention by posting any of them here, and besides the language is offensive in most. Ending gun violence activists seem to bring that out in them. I get so angry sometimes that I’m tempted to snap back in the same vein. I remind myself often that I”m a pastor. I’ve said before in other blog entries that I refuse to be intimidated or scared away from events where people are carrying guns. It’s part of my pact with God (I pray!) that I will be kept safe. But loaded weapons carried casually in public settings like this ARE dangerous, and I will do all I can to work to change minds, hearts, and laws for a safer time in our country.
This photo was taken during a conversation this open carry demonstrator initiated with me about the 9 year old girl who was allowed to fire an Uzi at Burgers and Bullets near Las Vegas just a few days earlier. When she could not control the weapon (understandable), the gun instructor was killed. Mr. “Keep Calm and Carry Guns” was explaining to me all the ways the instructor was at fault. You can see all the things he did wrong in the video, he said. I was incredulous. So, you think it’s OK for 9 year olds to shoot Uzis? I didn’t have to hear his answer to know what it was.
How sad. How sad on so many levels. This man. The owner of Burgers and Bullets. Countless others. They cannot even grieve the death of one of their own. First and foremost, they must bolster their argument that the answer is always more guns. Freer accessibility to guns. Introducing guns to the youngest of children. They will not be told how to safely store their guns. They will not be denied their interpretation of 2nd Amendment rights to carry openly whenever and wherever they feel like it. They will try to intimidate our use of the 1st Amendment by showing up armed.
Is human life of less value than a gun?
That’s just common sense, yes?
Pastor. Parent. Activist.