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Stood Up

Stood Up

Photo credit: Gary Locke

This feature appears in the August ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.  

Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action went to Louisville to protest the NRA Annual Meetings, where she expected thousands of anti-gun supporters at her events. Sadly for her, almost no one showed up.

Calls for anti-gun activists to descend upon the 145th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Louisville, Ky., were inescapable in the days preceding the event.

Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action (MDA) scheduled a screening of Katie Couric’s anti-gun documentary, “Under the Gun.” MDA cautioned, “Due to limited space, organizers are asking people to register in advance for free tickets. 

MDA-Kentucky’s Pam Mangas exhorted followers to flood Louisville, saying, “We need a big showing. We need to make sure the NRA knows we are here to stay to fight bad gun policy.”

Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth called for “an enormous outpouring of opposition, both to the NRA and to [presidential candidate Donald Trump’s] brand of politics.”

As the Annual Meetings dawned Friday, the expansive green space reserved for demonstrations at the Kentucky Expo Center was filled with ... one anti-Trump protestor.Something called the Sowers of Justice Network planned to partner with other local groups to stage “art shows, demonstrations, film showings and marches.” One of their events was billed as “Hands Across Louisville,” a seven-hour event scheduled for Saturday that included “holding hands from 2 p.m.-3 p.m.” on Broadway Avenue. “Come and be one in a million holding hands together to stamp out gun violence in Louisville, Ky.,” the website pleaded.

The protest efforts had plenty of help. The Courier-Journal provided MDA’s Shannon Watts space for a guest column and promoted MDA’s Saturday Spectacular with editorial coverage on Friday, and stoked fervor with a steady stream of anti-NRA coverage.

Yarmuth wrote an expanded anti-NRA rant on his leoweekly.com and featured other unhinged content.

The New York Times, USA Today and the Washington Post were joined by websites such as The Guardian, Huffington Post, Media Matters, Mediaite and Slate in keeping “gun violence” on the front page.

MDA kept up a torrent on Twitter and on local news: “As the NRA prepares to come to Louisville, moms are demanding action.” And they had a billionaire on their side. 

The whole world held its breath—and yawned. 

As the Annual Meetings dawned Friday, the expansive green space reserved for demonstrations at the Kentucky Expo Center was filled with ... one anti-Trump protestor. Wave3News interviewed the damp, forlorn sign-holder:
“I honestly ... I expected more people.” 

Saturday morning’s march consisted of about 40 people. Couric’s documentary drew only 40 activists ... the same 40 activists. For a free screening. 

There were not a million hands holding. In fact, there were exactly zero media reports of anyone holding hands. 

In contrast, NRA announced that attendance for the weekend was 80,452, the second-highest total of all time—all paid NRA members. 

Let’s see who shows up in numbers at the voting booth in November.