The Million Mom Marchs latest foray into public demonstrations revealed once again that the groups organizational skills are vastly behind its ability to gain press attention.
First Monday events around the country on Oct. 2, subtitled Unite to End Gun Violence, drew small numbers of anti-gun advocates despite a concerted campaign by the anti-gunners that included tying the event to schools and colleges around the nation.
First Monday is an annual event coordinated by the Alliance for Justice and Physicians for Social Responsibility that coincides with the opening day of the Supreme Court session. According to literature for the groups, each years First Monday seeks to highlight a different justice issue and mobilize a new generation of advocates to further the call of justice. First Monday events have been held for the past six years, generally with scant news coverage.
This years event, centered on gun violence, saw a ratcheting up of media interest when the Million Mom March (MMM) group got involved. Even so, coverage in most cases remained local and included reports of pro-gun counter-demonstrators. The MMM website listed only four news stories on the event, despite their own hype machine.
This, coupled with the groups first ever convention in Denver last month, which also drew little attention, might indicate that the extremely well-funded anti-gun moms are having trouble delivering on their Mothers Day promise in Washington, DC, to continue to make a difference on the gun issue.
One of the closely watched First Monday match-ups was in Bethlehem, PA. The Allentown Morning Call reported that the 75 First Monday demonstrators who marched from Lehigh University to Moravian College, were met by 1,000 gunowners, who lined the sidewalk of Bethlehems Fahy Bridge.
Organizing with other pro-rights groups against the event, the Second Amendment Sisters devised the First Freedom Rally.
Demonstrators on both sides of the issue were peaceful, The Call reported. But the paper gave much more space to the views of the larger pro-gun forces.
Were not here to bash the moms, said Damian Siekonic of Easton, an organizer of the First Freedom rally. Our message is that gun control creates violence.
First Monday organizer Helen Ruch told participants later that 1,500 people registered for her march.
In light of the counter rally, people changed their minds, an emotional Ruch said.
Ruch said her march was an outgrowth of the Million Mom March in Washington, but is officially associated with national First Monday 2000 events coordinated by the Alliance For Justice.
Were here to educate people that they have a right to defend themselves by any means they choose, said Maria Heil, spokeswoman for the Second Amendment Sisters.
Heil called guns a great equalizer that help women defend themselves against violent men, and called gun control discrimination of the worst kind.
They never had a million people and they were not all moms, so right away we know they were lying, said Eillen Maguire of Concord 2000. I resent them trying to represent motherhood. I represent motherhood myself and I dont believe what they believe.
First Monday in Dallas was disappointing, with the anti-gunners mustering only about 75 people, about half of whom were children brought by their parents, according to pro-gunners who attended. One pro-gun sign read, Guns cause crime like spoons made Rosie ODonnell fat!
The Chicago Tribune reported on events in Illinois, which included a rally in the Loop, the kickoff of a program to give away gun locks. About 1,000 people on both sides gathered at that afternoon event as part of the 18th-annual Rally Against Handgun Violence.
And about 100 people attended a First Monday 2000 workshop at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
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