My view: Take action Saturday to stop gun violence
Come and march with us June 11! Beyond June 11, the Walmart Boycott — endorsed by a growing number of groups in several states, and many public office holders here in Oregon — demands that Walmart maximize their outsize power to push Congress to enact the ban on automatic weapons and ban high-capacity magazines.
In addition, the boycott seeks to have Walmart establish a Reparations Fund for victims and families of gun violence, and for Walmart itself to stop selling guns and ammo.
One in five bullets sold in the United States is sold by Walmart. If you need a $5,000 scope, you can acquire it on the Walmart website. SIG Sauer pistol? They've got it! Walmart has profited — for decades — from gun and ammo sales. Walmart's CEO, Doug McMillon, makes $20 million per year.
Other countries do it differently. With better gun laws, people in England are 40 times less likely to die from gun violence than people here in the United States.
This uniquely American problem is domestic terrorism. There is a war against everyday Americans, especially in locations deemed "soft targets" by men with AR-15s. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently unanimously labelled the National Rifle Association as a "terrorist organization"
As a VISTA Volunteer in Macon, Georgia, working with SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, I learned from the excellent book on strategy and tactics, "Bearing the Cross," about Dr. King's "Northern strategy." That is, when elected officials refused to take action to protect and defend Black Americans, King and SCLC organized boycotts of white-owned businesses. Fearing lost profits, these businesses successfully persuaded recalcitrant politicians to do their jobs.
In Macon, 2,000 Black marchers (with five of us white allies from other states) chanted, sang and organized a boycott of white-owned businesses. The Rev. Joseph Lowery gave the keynote address at the end of that march.
The current war on everyday Americans is being waged by gun manufacturers and retailers, by recalcitrant politicians, and by gun lobbying groups like the NRA. In Congress, Joe Manchin says "something should change," but continues to protect and defend the filibuster — not protect the grocery store shoppers in Buffalo or the fourth graders in school in Uvalde, Texas.
In Uvalde, parents beseeched police to "do something" when 19 police stood outside the classroom in the hallway, and 19 students were murdered. Seventy-seven minutes elapsed. Joe Biden visited Uvalde to console the community, but Uvalde parents and supporters again chanted, "Do something!"
But the 18-year-old mass murderer of 10-year-olds legally purchased two AR-15s, along with 1,600 bullets.
And bullets kill.
Even one Oregon candidate for governor, a longtime NRA supporter, owns her own sub-machine gun.
Washington, Jefferson and Boston Tea Party organizers took action! Dr. King and SCLC boycotted businesses, and took action! In India, Gandhi boycotted British salt and British cloth, to push for his country's independence, and took action! At Portland State, organizers supported the Taco Bell Boycott for a living wage for Florida farm workers, out of Immokalee, getting Taco Bell to negotiate a pay raise, and took action! Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers boycotted lettuce, grapes and Gallo wines, and took action!
What is to be done? In short, we need to take back our democracy from the Supreme Court of the United States, and those who think they "own" our state and our country, "lock, stock and barrel."
Lew Church is coordinator of Portland Gray Panthers.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.