As Jennifer Longdon wheeled her wheelchair through the Indianapolis airport on April 25, she thought the roughest part of her trip was over. Earlier that day she'd participated in an emotional press conference with the new group Everytown for Gun Safety, against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. A mom, gun owner, and Second Amendment supporter, Longdon was paralyzed in 2004 after being shot in her car by unknown assailants, and has since been a vocal advocate for comprehensive background checks and other gun reforms.
As Longdon sat waiting for her flight, a screen in the concourse showed footage of the press conference. A tall, thin man standing nearby stared at Longdon, then back at the screen. Then he walked up to Longdon and spat in her face. No one else blinked.
Last May, Ms. Longdon helped organize a gun buyback program in Phoenix. This is how she was treated....
They (gun enthusiasts) shouted about constitutional rights and tyranny, and called people arriving to trade in their guns "sellouts."
Some of them approached Longdon. "You know what was wrong with your shooting?" one said. "They didn't aim better." Another man came up, looked Longdon up and down and said, "I know who you are." Then he recited her home address.
The gun buyback program in Phoenix was a three day affair....
After a fundraiser one night during the program, Longdon returned home around 10 p.m., parked her ramp-equipped van and began unloading herself. As she wheeled up to her house, a man stepped out of the shadows. He was dressed in black and had a rifle, "like something out of a commando movie," Longdon told me. He took aim at her and pulled the trigger. Longdon was hit with a stream of water. "Don't you wish you had a gun now, bitch?" he scoffed before taking off.
"It was like a mock execution," Longdon says,
Thousands of law-abiding gun owners would argue that the thuggish behavior of a few misguided gun enthusiasts towards Ms. Longdon are rare exceptions among proud gun owners. Could be, I suppose.....but I have the same observation that Ms. Longon had....
The majority of gun owners in America are good people, she adds. "I wish that more responsible gun owners would step into this conversation and say 'Look, those guys don't speak for us.'"
We here a lot from conservatives about "responsible gun owners." But just as conservatives refuse to call out political extremism in their movement over climate change denial, so too conservative, "responsible", gun owners rarely, if ever, denounce thuggish acts of intimidation carried out by their more zealous, some might say, unhinged, brethren. The fact that the unhinged in the above accounts directed their threats and intimidation towards WOMEN who were exercising their freedoms lawfully....makes "responsible" gun owner silence that much more reprehensible.
As I've mentioned in past blogs....if these examples of pro-gun thuggishness continue to be passively accepted by pro-gun Americans....then the thuggishness will continue....and civil society in our country will be changed for ever.
And not for the better.
Let me ask you......if one third of people in your local coffee shop are open carrying, would you feel more safe than if no one was open carrying...or less safe?
If one fourth of the customers in your local grocery store, or bar(!) are open carrying, would you be more likely or less likely to say anything that might, even in the slightest, upset those gun enthusiasts?
That, of course, is the point of all the gun thuggishness. To intimidate gun-safety advocates into silence. To suppress all disagreement with their radical agenda.
Silence is not golden in the face of such bullying. It is time for all those "responsible gun owners" out there to denounce the type of gun-zealot behavior Ms. Longdon and other Moms Demanding Action For Gun Sense experience now on a regular basis.
When will those "responsible gun owners" stand up and act....responsibly?
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