by John Boch
People have been hounding me to know what happened behind the glass doors at the Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) organizational meeting at the Champaign Public Library on Sunday, November 18th.
The purpose of the meeting was to begin organizing a grassroots group in Champaign County, IL to advocate for further restrictions to our self-defense rights.
Guns Save Life publicized the event, promising to help ICHV have a good turnout at their inaugural meeting. Unfortunately, they posted a sign on the door that said not to enter, and that the room was at capacity (about 20 people), and many of the GSL folks were thus turned away by the library security guard Tove Ghent.
Wonderful Wendy, GSL’s first lady, observed brilliantly that it was telling that ICHV would select a venue that would hold but a mere twenty people for their first meeting. It spoke volumes to their (low) expectations. Those low expectations were spot on with the meager turnout (initial report here).
I’ve had the report for over a week now, but haven’t had time to sanitize it until now.
So, here is what happened behind the glass doors.
ICHV Meeting Notes
Who was there?
There were a couple of black pastors, the hired-gun ICHV has signed on to organize a Champaign County Chapter of the ICHV (Nicole), a UI professor taking video, a “victims advocate” named Mary Kay Mace whose main claim to fame is that her daughter was killed in the NIU massacre, ICHV’s lobbyist Mark Walsh, and a local community agitator from the Champaign Community Coalition.
One of our GSL family sat right up front next to the speaker in a GSL t-shirt. His choice in shirts was priceless, by the way.
There were roughly ten more unidentified people who didn’t really stick out in my mind aside from a couple being obvious UI faculty-types and a couple of serious do-gooders (aka ‘useful idiots’).
The meeting began not with the Pledge of Allegiance, but a prayer from one of the pastors, basically praying for us to have courage to fight the gun lobby. He showed a picture of a lioness with her cubs. Was that meant to symbolize the single mom and her kids? I wasn’t sure.
ICHV’s hired gun Nicole provided an overview of the organization’s charge: to educate people about the negative effects of gun violence on people and on communities and to outreach to young people. She also spoke of an art contest for kids to learn to speak out against guns and gun violence. Then she described an 8-week student activist program.
After Nicole’s intro, we were asked to arrange ourselves in the room by the first letter of our middle name, without communicating verbally. It was, as BHO might say, less than optimal. Some might say it was more like a goat fornication event.
You were there outside about this time and probably thought we were doing some silly mime-troupe lunacy, with people walking in circles and waving their hands in weird dance-like movements.
Oh yeah, we saw you talking with the security guard and then when you got double-teamed by the library representative and the guard. It was all I could do to keep from smirking.
Fortunately, not all of us were forced to participate in such silliness! After they called an end to that “exercise”, people were supposed to describe what the exercise did for them. Some of the participants were pretty generous in their assessments, claiming it allowed people to demonstrate leadership and courage. I groaned to myself. Another said, “necessity to take a risk”. Oh please. If these people considered that exercise as an opportunity to demonstrate leadership, courage or willingness to take a risk, it’s no wonder they are so afraid of guns. They’ve got less courage in their entire being than a hair shed from Marcus Luttrell‘s rear end. Some of these people surely would piddle themselves at the sight of a real gun in a room.
Mark Wash spoke next about his “advocacy” work in Springfield. He said his work focuses on three issues [LIAR!]: 1) fixing the background check system; 2) reducing the number of legal guns that make it to the illegal market (they want to pass a law where gun owners would be required to report their guns lost/stolen within 72 hours); and last but not least 3) a handgun registration system.
Mary Kay Mace spoke, reading a story about losing her daughter. It was passionately delivered and people were moved. Her personal mission was to prevent people with mental issues from getting FOID cards and guns. One of the UI types asked her what the main obstacles were to doing that. She replied “manpower (to enter cases into the database) and money.”
That started a discussion about the power of the NRA. These people are in awe of the power of the NRA. Don’t let them fool you with their public pronouncements that the NRA is all washed up. That’s hogwash. They tremble at the utterance of N.R.A. about as much as illegals get jumpy when someone shouts I.C.E.
They believe is that pro-gun people in Illinois are against all regulations that would slow down gun purchases and require additional background checks. Yeah, that’s about right.
Surprisingly, after a LONG discussion, the consensus seemed to be to build bridges to work together on this matter (for “sensible” gun regulation, but the focus in this instance was mentally ill getting guns).
Nicole? We should give ICHV in Chicago a pat on the back for hiring her. Her main interest seems to be violence among African American men on college campuses and “Black masculinities.”
The younger pastor spoke towards the end of the meeting about the local gun buyback. He argued it was very successful, claiming black kids left guns in a box for him to turn them in to police. He said they planned to do it again next year. [They should have plenty of money as they only took in only 104 (complete list) of the 400 guns they expected (and claimed they had money to buy).]
A GSL member spoke up, asking questions about personal responsibility, teaching kids about gun safety and ended up inviting everybody to Darnall’s for an NRA personal protection class.
The pastor’s response was that he doesn’t disagree with his points, but that gun owners need to understand that there are two different communities we are dealing with.
The first community is the “responsible” gun owners mainly from down state where hunting is a part of their family tradition and they teach their kids gun safety.
The second community was the inner-city population where guns are used in crimes, where they are “found” in homes, traded for drugs etc. Among this population, teaching kids about “gun safety” in the traditional sense is unlikely to be successful.
Who knows what will come of this.
My personal take on the second pastor is that he doesn’t believe inner-city black folks are responsible enough to use guns, well, responsibly.
I don’t believe that’s true, but even if he’s right and it is, then why is that?