Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was originally called One Million Moms for Gun Control. In the immediate aftermath of the Newtown massacre, PR-meister Shannon Watts named the group as homage to the Million Man March; the 1995 gathering in Washington, D.C. where some 400k African-American men rallied to “convey to the world a vastly different picture of the Black male.” Shannon soon realized that . . .
A) she was in no danger of organizing a million moms for gun control B) the media might call her out on her relatively paltry support C) the abbreviation “1MM4GC” was only slightly more media friendly than N.W.A. and D) the name stopped her from claiming more than a million supporters for “gun sense.” So she rebooted as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The action her group demands is basically any law that disarms civilians. So far, her group’s only real, demonstrable “success” has been Starbucks’ polite request to its customers to leave their guns at home (which carries no force of law). Even that “victory” had many mothers (so to speak). Starbucks’ open letter to The People of the Gun was as much a reaction to in-your-face open carry activism as it was anti-gun agitation.
MDA’s attempts to replicate that victory—the grass-roots campaign to turn Staples into a “gun free zone”—blew up in their faces. I suspect their just-announced jihad against McDonald’s will face a similar fate. Never mind. Shannon will continue to consider her group’s PR successes the thin end of the gun control wedge. Whatever MDA can do to demonize civilian gun ownership, even if yields nothing in the way of legislative change, is a solid win.
Truth be told, making firearms ownership culturally unacceptable is MDA’s main mission. Shannon’s positioned as the firearms equivalent of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The central flaw with this strategy: firearms ownership is not drunk driving. Owning a gun is not, on its face, a bad thing. In fact, millions of law-abiding Americans cherish their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
That leaves MDA – indeed all gun control groups – in an uncomfortable position.
On one hand, their core, indeed only active supporters are rabid anti-gunners. Keeping them motivated requires an emotion-driven no-compromise message: civilian gun ownership is bad! Bad! Bad! Bad! Bloody shirts must be waved. Inconvenient truths about armed self-defense must be avoided, distorted or ignored! Disarmament is the dish of the day!
On the other hand, “ban guns” is not a mainstream message. So . . .
“We’re not anti-gun,” Shannon Watts told a reporter. “We’re not against the Second Amendment. We just believe in common sense to end the growing epidemic of gun violence in America.”
MDA must work on two levels: no-holds-barred anti-gun extremism for the groundlings (e.g. their Facebook rabble rousing) and vague “stop gun violence” populism for the paparazzi (e.g., the decidedly non-specific video above). As long as the mainstream media venerates apple pie, motherhood and disarmament; as long as MDA doesn’t have to rely on members’ money (thank you Mayor Bloomberg), Moms Demand Action can continue this endless stream of bi-polar anti-gun agitprop.
Countering Shannon Watts’ disarmingly milquetoast mainstream media message is no mean feat. How do you fight a MILF Mom and her emotion-driven drivel? Newtonian [sic] physics. You put up an equal and opposite force in the shape of a Suzanna Hupp [above]. Wikipedia:
Hupp and her parents were having lunch at the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen in 1991 when the Luby’s massacre commenced. The gunman shot 50 people and killed 23, including both of Hupp’s parents. Hupp later expressed regret about deciding to remove her gun from her purse and lock it in her car lest she risk possibly running afoul of the state’s concealed weapons laws; during the shootings, she reached for her weapon but then remembered that it was “a hundred feet away in my car.” Her father, Al Gratia, tried to rush the gunman and was shot in the chest. Hupp escaped through a broken window and believed that her mother, Ursula Gratia, was behind her. Actually however, her mother went to her mortally wounded husband’s aid and was then shot in the head.
As a survivor of the Luby’s massacre, Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws. She said that if there had been a second chance to prevent the slaughter, she would have violated the Texas law and carried the handgun inside her purse into the restaurant. She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The concealed-weapons bill was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush.
Unlike Watts—a self-anointed self-appointed anti-gun crusader lobbying in the name of her children—Hupp is the real deal. A woman whose crusade for gun rights was based on personal experience. A former State rep who had a demonstrable, positive effect on gun laws in Texas and, by that example, the rest of the United States.
Hupp has retired from the field of battle. The gun rights movement needs a woman like Hupp stat. It needs a been-there media-friendly pro-gun female who can counter Watts’ media-friendly anti-gun misegos. Given Shannon Watts’ youth, financial support and love of the media (and theirs with her), MDA isn’t going away any time soon. The sooner gun rights advocates find their champion, the better.