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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/1/2003 4:11:09 AM EDT
[URL]http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/auto/epaper/editions/thursday/local_news_e3af36a386dd32f80064.html[/URL] Gun control rally draws four By Emily Minor, Palm Beach Post Staff Columnist Thursday, June 26, 2003 There was a time, three years ago this past May, when the cause drew a crowd. Hundreds of thousands of activists, joined by the influential likes of Susan Sarandon and Rosie O'Donnell, standing together on the Capitol lawn, wearing T-shirts and pink ribbons and photo buttons of lost sons and lost daughters. The Million Mom March against gun control burst onto the scene with a nervous vengeance. And what a story it was. A young suburban mother, a part-time staffer on David Letterman's show, saw something on the news -- in this case, a photograph of preschoolers being led from their day care after a gunman broke in and began shooting -- and it turned out to be the straw. She booked the National Mall for Mother's Day. Her emotional movement was met with coast-to-coast relief. Sisters of dead sisters, movie stars, a politician or two -- they embraced the cause because the timing was right. Columbine. That day-care shooting. The little boy in Michigan who took the gun to school and shot a 6-year-old girl. But that was then, and this is now. Last week, the Million Mom March had a shindig on the front steps of West Palm Beach City Hall to commemorate national ASK Day, a day designed to remind parents to ask whether guns are in the houses where their children play. Four people came. "It's hard because many people don't want to really, truly believe that it can happen to them," says Ann Nanni of Greenacres. Nanni's grown son was killed Dec. 11, 1988, as he was driving home from work in Vero Beach. His killer was never found. So there was his 66-year-old mother last week, sending out press releases, calling the TV stations, issuing invitations to prominent figures whose influence could mean so much. Sheriff Ed Bieluch. West Palm Beach Police Chief Ric Bradshaw. State Attorney Barry Krischer. Palm Beach Mayor Lesly Smith. None of them came. She says no one even bothered to RSVP. This might discourage the likes of us, but Nanni is unstoppable. "Becoming a victim survivor is a life sentence," she says. "For a while there, things were running high," Nanni says. In Palm Beach County, school teacher Barry Grunow was shot and killed by a student a few weeks after the national march in Washington. The Million Mom madness spilled into Lake Worth in those following weeks, drawing hundreds to a rally in the park. Dozens of people would show up for those early meetings. At the last meeting, a year or so ago, "there were about three," Nanni says. Felicia Velotta of Boca Raton, whose sister was murdered by her estranged husband nine years ago, says the movement is less visible but not gone. Nationally, they're lobbying for the renewal on the assault-weapons ban. Nanni says chapters in Tampa, Washington, New York and Connecticut have stayed strong. "Just because it's pretty quiet, doesn't mean we're not doing anything," Velotta says. "The movement's still there." And last weekend, there it was: Nanni, her husband, another victim survivor and West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel. "We tied a pink ribbon around a tree and put a bow on it," Nanni said. The four of them, fighting the fight, on the steps of city hall in the summer rain. emily_minor@pbpost.com@pbpost.com
Link Posted: 7/1/2003 5:53:38 AM EDT
Them Hollyweird actor's got better things to do.
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