Thursday, May 17, 2012

March Against Gun Violence 2012

At the head of the march along the river. (photo by Jasmine Rose Penter)

Mayor Piercy speaks.
(photo by Jasmine Rose Penter)
For the 13th year in a row, ever since the first march, Million Mom March sponsored an annual Mother's Day march and rally against gun violence in Eugene, Oregon, on May 13.  Ceasefire Oregon was once again a sponsor, along with various peace groups, including WAND, CALC, and Veterans for Peace.

We couldn't have asked for a nicer day.  It was sunny and warm.  Perfect for meeting in an outdoor rally and marching in solidarity for a nonviolent community.

This year, as with all other years, we were once again graced by the presence of Eugene's mayor, Kitty Piercy, who just yesterday won another term as mayor.  She is also a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  Mayor Piercy gave a great speech to the 80 or so participants in the event, speaking about how the values of Mother's Day -- security and nurturing -- are represented in the values of peace and non-violence.  Having a gun in the home is contrary to the safety of your family, despite the false sense of power a gun gives you.  A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to harm you than to protect you.*

Participating in the rally, next to the Willamette River
(photo by Jasmine Rose Penter)
I spoke next, mentioning how all gun sales should have mandatory background checks (private sales in Oregon require no background check, ID, or paperwork, so anyone can buy a gun regardless of their violent past, no questions asked), the importance of having a Child Access Protection law (which decrease deaths of children by 23% in states that have such a law**), and how guns should be kept out of schools.

The main organizer, Betsy Steffensen, is an incredible lady who is involved with every peace group in the area and has been an organizer with MMM since the beginning.

Wiley, from Veterans for Peace, plays bagpipes at
the head of the march (photo by Russell Elsevier)
All three local news stations were there and featured the event in the night's newscasts.  Here are links to two of them, with videos:

Once the speeches were over, we marched along the Willamette River trail to the Owen Rose Garden, a couple miles away, passing crowds of families enjoying the parks and bike trail along the way.

We'll do it again next year.  Please join us.

(photo by Russell Elsevier)
* Kellermann, Arthur L.MD, MPH, et al. “Injuries and Deaths Due to Firearms in the Home.” Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care 45 (1998): 263-67

** Cummings, Peter, David C. Grossman, Frederick P. Rivara, Thomas D. Koepsell (1997). "State Gun Safe Storage Laws and Child Mortality Due to Firearms". Journal of the American Medical Association 278 (13): 1084–1086.