sure what I was expecting when I took the Metro into DC today
to cover the “Million
Mom March.” I had heard horror stories about the
“moms” verbally and viciously accosting Second Amendment
rights advocates. I read reports of other “mommies” vandalizing
gun rights supporters’ property. I didn’t think I would
be very welcome.
I was wearing my Armed
Females of America badge, a small digital camera, and I had my tape
recorder with me to capture the moment.
I expected to be treated
But I was pleasantly
surprised. As I began talking to the gun control supporters in the
crowd, none were hostile, none screamed epithets, yelled at me or
treated me like a pariah.
Quite the contrary. They
were polite. Some were surprised that I worked for a pro-Second Amendment
group, some didn’t care for whom I worked. They just wanted
to tell their story. They weren’t vicious. Many of them were
sad. Many had lost loved ones to violence. And I was sad for them.
I wanted to tell them
that I was so sorry they had lost their children, family members and
friends. But I also wanted to tell them that rendering other people
defenseless because of the tragedy they suffered was wrong too.
I wanted to explain to
them that freedom is not easy. Freedom is difficult, and it’s
worth working for. I wanted to tell them that disarming the peaceable
citizens and leaving them vulnerable to those who could care less
what kind of laws Congress passed was immoral – something akin
to leading them to the same exact fate that befell their loved ones.
But I didn’t say
anything. I listened. I wanted to know if these people fully understood
what they were marching for and what they were advocating. So I asked
them why they were there. I asked them how they felt about the Second
Amendment. I asked them for their definition of “sensible,”
because so many of them advocated “sensible gun control laws.”
Some of the marchers
had only a vague idea what an “assault” weapon was. Others
admitted that laws don’t do much to prevent crime, but they
felt like they had to do something. Several of the marchers with whom
I spoke quoted old, faulty statistics that a gun in the home is more
likely to kill a family member than stop an assailant or intruder.
They asserted that we should rely on police to protect us. Others
advocated a more extreme view. One gentleman actually told me that
he wanted to see all “assault” weapons banned, including
barring police from using these weapons. His logic was that if no
one was allowed to have them, they would eventually disappear. He
held a sign that said “ASSAULT WEAPONS ARE WMD.”
I didn’t have the
heart to remind him of the reality of the situation – that newer,
better and more efficient weapons would not go away, and that criminals
would still get their hands on them, regardless of laws.
Overall, saddened as
I was by the emotionalist rhetoric that appeared to rule the day…
I was by Eleanor Holmes Norton using the recent death of a little
girl – an eight-year-old child who was struck by a stray bullet
in a city that has completely banned firearms ownership –
to push an “assault” weapons ban that had nothing to
do with Chelsea Cromartie’s death…
I was by some in the crowd badmouthing freedom, treating freedom
like something to be discarded “for the common good…”
…I had a fairly
positive experience. It was friendly and outgoing until the very
end of the march.
I had stopped to chat
with a pair of people wearing MMM T-shirts as the march was passing
us on (ironically) Constitution Avenue. I approached the woman and
asked her if she’d mind giving me a few comments for my story
about the march. She agreed. I told her I was writing a story on the
march, but I did not specify that I was with Armed Females of America.
We chatted about “assault” weapons. I challenged her perception
about said firearms, and I stated several facts about machine guns
– details such as the fact that
civilians can own machine guns (fully automatic weapons
that fire a succession of bullets as long as the trigger is depressed
or until the ammunition supply is exhausted) as long as they
get special permission from the Treasury Department and pay a $200
tax. Machine guns which were manufactured prior to the passage of
the Firearms Owners' Protection Act of May 19, 1986 are regulated
under the National Firearms Act of 1934, but those manufactured after
the ban cannot ordinarily be sold to or owned by civilians.
It was then that this
“lady” demanded to know the name of my organization. I
explained that I was an independent writer, but that I was doing this
particular article for Armed Females of America.
She was appalled! She
was shocked that Armed Females of America does not support registration
or gun control of any kind. She then accused me of approaching her
under false pretenses and demanded my tape.
False pretenses? What
false pretenses? Was I not writing a story about the march? Was I
claiming to be something I was not? No. But that did not stop her
I refused – politely
– to give her my tape recorder, explaining I had other notes
on the tape – notes that I had made throughout the entire day
and interviews I had conducted earlier.
She then grabbed my wrist
and attempted to wrestle the tape recorder away from me, claiming
she knew the law, that she was a lawyer and that she had a right to
demand my tape and to confiscate it.
Well, my friends tell
me they were proud that I didn’t slug her.
As a matter of fact,
while I raised my voice, and told her in no uncertain terms to unhand
me and that my tape recorder was private property that she had no
right to touch, I did not lose my temper and I used only as much force
as was necessary to twist my arm away from her. But instead of backing
off, she then tried AGAIN to grab my tape recorder
and wrestle it out of my hand! Meanwhile the gentleman who was with
her was writing down my name and organization from my press badge.
At one point he actually demanded my address – a demand I pointedly
The woman then changed
her tactics and decided to attack my motives and credentials.
She claimed I misrepresented
myself as a newspaper reporter. I had done no such thing. What I told
her was that I was a writer working on a story about the march. I
further told her the truth when she demanded the name of my organization.
“Do you have
a journalism degree?” She demanded.
I do,” I replied.
United States Army.”
Oh my gosh.”
Upon learning that I
write for several publications and organizations, she asserted, “So
then actually anything that we say will be used to incriminate the
Million Mom March and make them look like they’re idiots, because
you would be completely uninterested in anything I had to say.”
that be?” I demanded. After all, I had just spent some
time talking to her about her views. But apparently, because I challenged
her definition of “assault” weapon, I was, according to
her, uninterested in what she had to say -- as if correcting someone’s
factual error was somehow a sign of indifference!
“I wanted to
know your definition of an assault rifle,” I told her.
you want to know that?” She demanded.
I’M WRITING ABOUT THE MILLION MOM MARCH, MA’AM!”
I exploded. It’s part of the story!
She had no reply to that, except to assert that I had no interest
in portraying them in any way other than “sarcastically
“Have you ever
read any of my writing, ma’am?” I asked politely.
She replied that she hadn’t but that she would like to. In other
words, she was judging me, my writing and my article all before any
of it was even written – all based on the fact that I work for
groups that disagree with her agenda. If that isn’t bigotry,
It’s ironic, isn’t
it? I had almost walked away from the march with a better attitude
than the one with which I came in. I still disagree heartily with
their agenda. I still denounce their attempts to disarm the law-abiding
and render them helpless against armed thugs. I’m still repulsed
by the use of deaths to push a political agenda and the use of doctored
and manipulated statistics to shred the right to self defense. But
I felt sad for many of the marchers. I felt sad for the losses they
experienced, although I still feel their emotionalism outweighs reality,
logic and rational thought.
Personal tragedy is never
an excuse to deprive others of their basic human rights. Carma Jackson,
the Executive Director of Armed Females of America, lost her young
son to gun fire. Was she emotional? Certainly. Did she grieve? Surely.
She still does. Did she blame guns, gun manufacturers, the NRA and
the President for her son’s death? Absolutely not. Because Carma
undoubtedly realized that the only person to blame for her tragedy
and loss was the person who pulled the trigger. She furthermore realized
that disarming innocent, peaceable citizens and rendering them vulnerable
to armed criminals would be leading them to certain death –
the same fate that befell her son.
But I’m not going
to pass judgment on others’ suffering. People deal with loss
and tragedy in their own way. I grieve for every last person at that
march who lost a loved one to violence. But I cannot condone their
attempts to trample my rights as a way to deal with their loss.
Unfortunately, this one
shrill, vindictive and bigoted woman single-handedly managed to sully
the experience I had at the march. By assaulting me and trying to
deprive me of my property, she destroyed any good feelings I had developed
toward the marchers. All she had to do was politely ask me not to
use her quotes, and I would have respectfully consented. After all,
I’m not in the business of giving publicity where it’s
not wanted. But instead, she decided to lay her hands on me, attempt
to violate my rights as a writer and a member of the press and deprive
me of my property rights.
She didn’t succeed.
What she did succeed
in doing was to confirm that her contempt for the First Amendment
is almost as great as her contempt for the Second. Apparently, in
this woman’s view, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
only applies to those who write favorable reports about the Million
What a shame.
Females of America
is a US Army veteran, who spent nearly four years in Frankfurt, Germany
on active duty at the American Forces Network. She is a former radio
DJ and news anchor and a Featured Writer and Newslinks Director for
She is also a former contributing editor to the National Rifle Association's
newest monthly magazine, Women's Outlook and she is currently the
contributing editor to Concealed
Carry Magazine and writes occasionally for the Libertarian
Party. She resides in Virginia with her family. We are also proud
to have Nicki as regular contributor to Armed Females of America.
Copyright © 2004
by Armed Females of America. All rights reserved. Permission to redistribute
this article for noncommercial purposes is hereby granted, provided
that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety and appropriate credit