It all depends on your point of view.
On Thursday, the same day that President Obama gave an emotional speech on gun violence to the nation, with several members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America appearing on the stage with him, a local chapter of the group joined an Indianapolis rally sponsored by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.
Sharing the spotlight outside the Indiana statehouse, though, were members of a counter-demonstration, armed with AR-15 semi-automatic weapons in full view. Loaded, of course. As one man told WTHR News, “Any weapon that is not loaded is just a rock or a club.”
Indiana Moms Against Gun Control had put out an “urgent” message on its Facebook page after creating an event inviting people to a counter-demonstration against Moms Demand Action.
Although the Indianapolis Star covered the event, the gun-toting protesters were mentioned only in a photo caption and a video accompanying the online story. The text focused on Moms Demand Action and their request for universal background checks on all gun purchases.
But a headline on ThinkProgress.org said, “Men with loaded rifles intimidate moms at gun safety rally.” One mom reported she “felt unsettled” by the presence of the men with loaded weapons.
In a more creative move than demonstrating and holding signs, members of Moms Demand Action are sending out chocolate Easter eggs to newsrooms on Good Friday — but they’re Kinder eggs, banned since 1938 as being unsafe for children because the “surprise” small toy in the middle poses a choking hazard. (The FDA in March approved an Americanized version of the treat, popular in Europe.) People have faced fines in the thousands for smuggling the eggs across the border from Canada.
‘Why is it easier for an American to buy an assault weapon than it is to buy a chocolate Easter egg?’” asks Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Diana Reese is a freelance journalist in Overland Park, Kan. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.