Guns, protests and elections
I am so proud to be a Virginian today, just days after the huge pro-gun rally in Richmond on Jan. 20. Why? Because across the state, Virginians engaged in their right to express their beliefs openly and peacefully — both by and by not attending the rally that was a response to new gun laws under consideration in the General Assembly.
A big shout out to Virginia law enforcement, whose professionalism ensured a safe, calm rally, and to the governor for wisely prohibiting guns and neo-Nazis from the Capitol grounds.
Good on the rally attendees as well, who followed the rules and, despite their massive display of firepower, did not shoot so much as one bullet.
But most of all, I am proud of all the Virginians who did not attend. The gun rights folks should not try to interpret the lack of counter-protesters as a lack of support for the common-sense gun legislation moving through the Capitol. That support is one of the reasons the Assembly flipped Democratic in the first place.
Undergirded by hysterical conspiracy theories and driven overwhelmingly by rural white men — the very folks who use those guns to commit the suicides, at a rate of two per day, that comprise 67 percent of the gun deaths in the state — the extreme gun rights movement is out of step with the majority of Virginians, and especially the young. So are their various leaders and organizations.
The NRA, based in Virginia, has shown itself to be both deeply corrupt and laughably credulous, open to exploitation by a single cute Russian operative. The “sanctuary city” movement is an exercise in futility, all sound and fury with literally no “there” there at all — entirely symbolic (and thank you, Lynchburg City Council, for voting it down) despite all the shouting and threatening and bullying.
Roughly 22,000 folks showed up at the Capitol on Jan. 20; future analysis will show how many of them were actually Virginians, as many folks came from out of state to join the rally.
The population of Virginia is 8.47 million, however. We did not need to attend the rally to show how the majority of us feel on the issue of gun control: we already voted.
Elections have consequences.
Sign me Virginia proud.
L. LANAUX HAILEY
Drive a Volvo?
Why is it that I feel as though people who freak out about having a graduation ceremony where multiple other schools have done so without problems of any kind are likely to drive Volvos or Subarus?