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Rights watch: a huge success!

"On August 28, activists in cities across America will hold a national day of protest to focus attention on the scourge of illegal gun trafficking," declared the Brady Campaign press release.

"The Brady Campaign and its network of Million Morn March Chapters is [sic] supporting the efforts of Reverend Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition to draw attention to gun violence by organizing local events to be held in cities across America."

Sounds huge. After all, the Brady's are the 800-pound gorilla of the gun control movement. They've pushed through major gun control legislation on several occasions, and the Million Morns are ... at least a million, right? And Jesse Jackson? We're talking A-list gungrabbers here. When they speak, newsmakers both in and out of the mainstream media listen--and then parrot, amplify and act.

The Main Event would take place in Chicago, or more precisely, Lake Barrington, Illinois, where DS Arms, a manufacturer that doesn't even sell to retail customers, was selected as the target of Rainbow wrath. To ensure success, Jackson partnered again with an old comrade in citizen disarmament, Rev. Michael Pfleger, a priest who whipped a mob he led to a different gun store three months earlier into a frenzy by screaming at the owner over loudspeakers "We're going to find you and snuff you out ... you know you're going to hide like a rat. You're going to hide but like a rat we're going to catch you and pull you out."

Despite decades of working with street- slang-savvy urban youth, Pfleger claimed to not realize that "snuff out" meant something bad. but his Archdiocese wasn't buying it. Cardinal Francis George issued a rebuke, writing "Publicly delivering a threat against anyone's life betrays the civil order and is morally outrageous, especially if this threat came from a priest."

So who better for Jackson to recruit to ensure maximum turnout? Pfleger eagerly complied using his St. Sabina Web site to coordinate information, putting up 40 billboards around town, and rallying and bussing protestors to his gun store target du jour, although how he reconciles advocating legislation with his church's tax exempt status remains a mystery.

So how did it go? And remember--news of the rallies had garnered plenty of free advance notice publicity from media outlets across the land.

ABC News put the throng at "about 150 marchers."

The Maryland rally for the District of Columbia attracted "about 100 protestors," according to the AE Dallas drew "about 60" per The Dallas Morning News. And many of the cities had no after-the protest reports at all, leaving us to draw our own conclusions about their Success.

My favorite was from Seattle, where wrote, "Two activists showed up. They stretched out on the ground for 32 seconds. Then they rolled up their banner ... and headed for the parking lot."

The Brady reaction after these dismal showings of true public commitment to their cause?

"In Communities Across America, Huge Crowds Protest Gun Violence," read their follow-up press release headline.

I guess it all depends on the meaning of the word "huge."

Visit David Codrea's online journal The War on Guns at
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Author:Codrea, David
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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