The Potowmack Institute
last revised 05/25/05
The Potomack Institute was at the Million Mom March and could not find a single person out of hundreds asked who had hear of Emerson which was then more than a year old. It was obvious that the gun controllers were going nowhere in the 2000 election. The Potowmack Institute had the same experience in 2004. If waving a placard on the Capital Mall had any political efficacy the NRA would be down there every weekend.
By Tanya Metaksa
ISN'T IT AMAZING how a "grass roots event" has blossomed overnight into a national political organization? The press releases issued by the Million Mom March (MMM) last spring were designed to give the illusion that the MMM was being run by a few well-meaning "Moms" from their kitchen table. The media bought into that fairy tale, hook, line and sinker. After all, the chief organizer, Donna Dees-Thomases, who was described by Time magazine as "a housewife and mother of two children from New Jersey," signed her letter on their web page, as "Just One of a Million." It wasn't until a commentary appeared in the Wall Street Journal by Lisa Schiffren that Ms. Dees-Thomases was exposed for what she was: a very clever member of the vast left-wing Clinton conspiracy.
Dees-Thomases is not only the sister-in-law of Susan Thomases, Hillary Clinton's closest friend, confidant, and political advisor, but she was also a very well-connected public relations expert, who had worked for a United States Senator, for Dan Rather, and was on leave from David Letterman at the time of the march. She cleverly used her contacts and political friends to turn the MMM into a media spectacular. The day of the march, she and 1,000 of her friends and organizers visited with Bill and Hillary at the White House prior to the event. The actual march fell way short of the million Moms expected, even though the March organizers got city officials in Richmond, Virginia to pay for bus transportation. The announcement read:
Many of the Moms left the march early to go the nearest Northern Virginia shopping mall. At Pentagon City mall, one of the marchers identified by her Million Mom March t-shirt, said, "Sure, I took one of the buses here. I've never been to Washington. It was a good chance to see the monuments and do a little shopping. It was something different to do on Mother's Day."
Additional allegations have surfaced that Northwest Airlines sold cut-rate round-trip tickets from the West Coast to the March. Senator Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) husband is affiliated with Northwest, and her office purportedly publicized the ticket availability.
Schoolteachers and administrators also enticed their students to attend. Maryland School officials admitted that the PTA fliers sent home with students endorsed the Million Mom March, and students who attended the march were allowed to count that time towards the graduation requirement of 75 hours of "student service learning."
The march also had its share of victims; people who had suffered as a result of the criminal use of firearms or gun accidents. Many stories were poignant and heartbreaking. One victim was Barbara Lipscomb, a mother and grandmother, whose son, Le'Pierre Clemons, was "gunned down" on Martin Luther King Jr's birthday just four months prior. Le'Pierre was another victim of teenage violence in the nation's capitol, and his mom told everyone she was going to the MMM to stop the violence.
Yet, 2 months later, on July 14, 2000 Barbara Lipscomb, now known as Barbara Ann Martin, found herself under arrest on a charge of assault with intent to kill. According to the Washington Post, D.C. police say they found "three handguns and a TEC-9 submachine gun at her home."
Her arrest resulted from an attack on a 21-year-old man who was shot three times with one of those bullets lodging in his spine. The attack occurred on January 26th, less than two weeks after Le'Pierre's murder. The police commander of the 7th District explained the January 26th shooting as "a vigilante antic that went awry this was an innocent man, and now he is paralyzed." It obviously was an act of violence and retribution by a woman who supported and was supported by the MMM.
Surprisingly, it isn't the only instance of A Million-Mom Marcher getting aggressive. According to the Boulder Weekly of March 30, 2000, Robert Howell, vice-president of the Boulder Chapter of the Bell Campaign, attacked Shariar Ghalam, while Ghalam was exercising his First Amendment rights to speak in favor of gun ownership at a rally before a speech by Charlton Heston, President of the National Rifle Association. Then, on August 15th another MMM member accosted a gun owner who had a video camera. The cameraman was taping a public organizational meeting of MMM in Fort Collins, CO, when the MMM member hit the camera with a clipboard causing damage to his eye. It seems that there is little respect for the First and Fourth Amendment rights of those who disagree, by the members of the Colorado chapters of the MMM.
The MMM is now showing its true colors. According to several women who attended its first annual convention several weeks ago, the thrust of the MMM this fall is to elect Al Gore. The MMM has become what it was always intended to become: a full-fledged coordinated campaign with the Democratic Party to help elect the Gore- Lieberman ticket. This comment on their web site demonstrates their political focus plainly.
The New York Times reports that the NRA, which is spending millions and millions of dollars to support Governor Bush, is not expected to officially endorse him. The reason: they'll help the Governor more by NOT giving him a formal endorsement. As a "non-political action committee" they have received tremendous funding from several not-for-profit organizations: They received a million dollars from the Packard Foundation and a staggering five million from the Emma Goldman foundation, and another million dollars anonymously. Their convention raised approximately $35,0000. Although those funds cannot be used for direct contributions to candidates, you can bet they will be used to "educate" voters about the stands of candidates on the issue of gun control and direct those voters to the appropriate campaigns.
To quote from the report of an attendee at the MMM convention:
All of their media people, lobbyists, speakers, organizers, photographers, are seasoned professionals. They literally have the very best that money can buy. They are stacked with folks who have worked in many, many liberal causes and campaigns and take many years of experience with them to the political arena. The Million Mom March is anything but a grass roots group of angry housewives and mothers, wanting to protect the children.
It has become crystal clear that the MMM is full of rank-and-file members of the liberal wing of the Democratic party, who are being orchestrated by the Democratic National Committee, the Gore Campaign, and all the Clinton advisors. It was never a small group of Moms around a kitchen table, but a small group of political and public relations professionals, who are taking the gun control agenda to a new and higher level - a level designed to help anti-gun Democrats keep control of the White House and retake control of the Congress.
Tanya K. Metaksa is the former executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action. She is the author of Safe, Not Sorry, a self-protection manual, published in 1997. She has appeared on numerous talk and interview shows such as "Crossfire," the "Today" show, "Nightline," "This Week with David Brinkley" and the "McNeil-Lehrer Hour," among others.
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