March for Our Lives – Santa Rosa

Now You've Pissed Off Grandma
Now You’ve Pissed Off Grandma

Visiting the March for Our Lives

The Junior Human Rights Division is a group of local high school students and they put on a demonstration for the March for Our Lives this morning. It started at 10:00 am and went until 2:00 pm. I got there at 9:30 am and the place was already pretty crowded — perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 people.

I always feel out of touch at these things. They really have just about everything I don’t like: crowds, noise, the outdoors. But I managed to stay for half of it. There were a lot of speakers, but I can’t tell you who they were because I literally could not get to the Junior Human Rights Division tent.

But that didn’t bother me too much, given that I really have little interest in political speech. But the people at the event were very attentive. From my perspective there really isn’t anything to say. As German Lopez wrote yesterday, I’ve Covered Gun Violence for Years. The Solutions Aren’t a Big Mystery. But I don’t believe anything will change in this country, because facts don’t matter in this country.

People Care

Still, it is always nice to see people who care enough to go to these things. And the crowd was good. By about 10:30 am, I talked to a police officer and he gave me an estimate of 5,000 to 7,000 people at the event. He said it was a little smaller than the women’s march. But by the time I left, it was much more crowded. That was one of the reasons I left. It was hard to move. So based upon the early estimate, and my own relatively scientific estimate, I think we made it up to 8,000 or more. And that’s pretty amazing for a town of roughly 100,000.

I guess I don’t have much more to say, so I will present some photos. In every case I got an oral okay to show their faces. I realize that wouldn’t cover me that well. But I don’t have enough money to be worth suing. And I think all the people I shot were proud to be there.

Tony Speirs

I should, however, give you an explanation of this first photo. I saw three people with beautifully rendered drawings of what I assumed were three of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. But by the time I got to them, one of them had slipped away. Later, I saw many others. I believe the local Democratic Party booth had all 17 surrounding their tent.

Tony Speirs is from Graton and wasn’t selling them. So far as I could tell, he gave them out to people to take to the event. I was promised that he was going to be there, but as I said, it was very crowded, and even making it to tents was a difficult matter.

There drawings are of Peter Wang (15 year-old) and Gina Montalto (14 years-old). It’s hard not to cry just looking at them.

Peter Wang and Gina Monalto by Tony Speirs
Peter Wang and Gina Monalto by Tony Speirs

The Crowd

This was crowd as I found it a half hour before the event started. There were a lot of people who cared.

Big Crowd Before the Event Even Started
Big Crowd Before the Event Even Started

Not One More

By far the most common sign was “No One More.” I am, by nature, an optimistic person. But I’ve lived six decades in this country and I know what is possible and what is not. It was possible for Australia to fix their gun problem. But it isn’t in this country. I just don’t have the confidence in my fellow Americans. Obviously we have to fight. And I do think that eventually we will fix our problems.

But we won’t in my lifetime. Americans combine staggering ignorance and stupidity with hubris beyond anything in the Old Testament. I applaud those who can imagine a world where America will deal with its gun problem now. But I’m not one of them. When 20 grammar school children were killed at Sandy Hook, we did nothing. And although this time high school students are leading and showing all of us what must be done, in the end, I’m sure nothing will be done.

As I recall, when Ted Cruz last ran for Senate, the NRA gave him the legal limit: a few thousand dollars. But they spend $5 million on “issue” adds that were really just ads for him. You think that Ted Cruz is going to do what is right for America or what is right for Ted Cruz? If you say “America,” then stop reading right now. I’m shocked you’ve mastered phonetics.

Not One More Sign
Not One More Sign

Register to Vote

It’s been clear for a long time that if everyone voted, we would have a far better government. It’s like the jelly bean test where the average of everyone was better than the best single person. But we have a system that makes it hard for the poor to vote and easy for the rich to vote. And so we end up with this country that we have.

This sign was in the League of Women Voters booth. When I was young, I thought: why women? Now I know. Women are better than men. The League of Men Voters would tell everyone not to vote because they had it all under control. And it is the men, after all, who gave us President Donald Trump, who stands a good chance of making our species extinct. Thank the men.

League of Women Voter: Register to Vote
League of Women Voter: Register to Vote

Teachers Not Sheriffs

This was the first picture I took. I love it so much, because it pushes back against this idea teachers should have to protect their children from gunmen. What a silly idea. Isn’t it obvious that if you are asking teachers to carry guns, there is a much bigger problem the society faces? That arming teachers will not solve the problem?

But this is America! We never approach head-on. Now we don’t blame guns; we blame the mentally ill, who are far moe likely to be shot than to shoot. But maybe the problem is that white men used to be able to have a job that gave them a sense of purpose. But that would require the rich to allow unions and allow them to share in the profits. No, no, no! What does it matter if poor children die as long as their stock portfolios expand.

Teachers are saints! Let them do what they were trained for. There are two teachers in my life who who had a profound effect on my life — who made me who I am. And they don’t even know it. And the conservatives want them to carry firearms. They’ done enough.

I Have a desgree in teaching, no marksmanship!
I Have a desgree in teaching, no marksmanship!


I don’t really like events like March for Our Lives. But they are important. And I’m so glad that people care enough to show up. I suffer from agoraphobia, but I go, because it is important. And the fact that this was organized by high school students makes me very hopeful. Maybe they are better than the Americans who came before. Because there’s a war going on. The President, and the Congress, and the NRA are on on one side. And the people are on the other.

The NRA people are crazy. They think their semi-auto riffles will save them from a drone attack on their house. When Obama became president, they bought tons of weapons because Obama was going to take them all away. And what did he do? He passed one law that gave gun owners more rights. This is always the way it is with Democrats. But the ignorant NRA members always fall for the same trick.

And who wins? The gun manufacturers. That’s because they are the people the NRA really protects. And just like cigarette manufacturers didn’t care how many people they killed as long as they made lots of money, the gun manufactures are more than willing to shoot your baby in the head while it sleeps if it means more profits for them.

How is it that the NRA members can’t see that?!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

6 thoughts on “March for Our Lives – Santa Rosa

  1. I’m glad so many people showed up, even if they have little chance at enacting gun control right now. Getting more individuals involved in their community is always a good thing.

    The inherent problem with the guy industry is guns were essentially perfected 100 years ago. If you take good care of a shotgun or deer rifle, it’ll last more-or-less forever. So the NRA has to pimp culture war to sell more military-grade hardware. I believe something like 3% of Americans own most of the crazy huge gun collections. Exactly the paranoid loons who should be kept away from anything more lethal than banana peels are the ones buying up these worthless death fetish objects. Meanwhile the outdoor nerds who like hiding in duck blinds at 6 AM are convinced by the loons that liberals have any interest whatsoever in stopping people from duck hunting. (We don’t; just, please, don’t ask us to get up at 6 AM. And we won’t ask you to watch movies with subtitles. Deal?)

    • @James: Growing up in rural PA, where hunting (or “hun’in” as it’s pronounced here) is a male right of passage, there is a strong and growing belief that gun hunting is what all those “tourists” from Ohio or the city people do who stream into my county for turkey and whitetail season, that real hunting is done with a bow. That doesn’t mean local hunters don’t own guns, but it does help to demonstrate that gun fetishes have nothing to do with being able to hunt.

      • Huh! I never imagined bow hunting was such a big thing. Looks more fun, though. I’d like to try target archery on a range sometimes.

        When I was growing up around hunters, none of them were gun fetishists, and I doubt that’s changed much. They were more into their coats & hiking boots than anything else. The gun fetishists were more the paranoid conspiracy types; I don’t think they made much venison jerky at home.

        • Well it’s certainly more challenging. When I was old enough, my pops and uncle took me hunting. I shot my first (and only) deer from about 400 yards away. Not much tracking or planning was required; i just walked around the forest until I spotted a doe walking through a ravine. Of course, most people couldn’t hit anything from that far (my grandfather who qualified expert marksman taught me how to shoot–it’s one of the few things I’m really good at). Nevertheless, hunting with a rifle is not very sporting. Not that hiding in a treestand and killing a defenseless animal with a modern carbon fiber compound bow is that much more sportsmanlike, but at least you need to track them, learn their daily routines, predict their paths, and be close enough to get a clean shot. Moreover, it’s much easier to become proficient with a rifle than a bow.

          What would really impress me is if a hunter took a large mammal with an atlatl (spear thrower). If you ever get the chance, you should attempt to throw one. I have one, and having practiced with it for years now, it amazes me that people used to hunt animals as large as mastodon with them. They have a considerably steep learning curve. Luckily, they’re illegal to hunt with in PA. Too much potential for horribly wounding animals or causing slow deaths that prevent hunters from ever finding and harvesting their kills.

          • @Jay — what a cool hobby. I’ve seen modern anthropologists in documentaries about ancient humans trying to use those things. It looks borderline impossible. But I’m sure if one practiced enough, it would be doable.

            That’s the type of invention which makes you wonder “who came up with this?” Yeah, it increases the speed the spear is thrown, but how did somebody think of it and practice long enough to be good at it, when everyone else thought they were crazy? Whomever it was, they probably helped us survive an Ice Age or two…

            • @James: The atlatl I have I bought from Bob Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl, who is very knowledgeable about prehistoric crafting techniques. I was lucky enough to get to flint knap with him a few times. He also taught me a great recipe for making a pitch from pine resin and beeswax. Anyway, making an atlatl is not too difficult; the simple ones are no less effective than the fancy ones, although they may be more difficult to throw. Atlatls don’t need the fine balance of, say, a longbow. The real challenge lies in making the spear shafts (or dart shafts as they’re more properly referred to). I plan on making my own from scratch with materials found myself, with traditional tools made myself, and no assistance from modern implements. It’s a challenge but fun and very informative. Experimental archaeology like that has equipped me with insights most of my classmates don’t have. It’s both personally and academically satisfying. In any case, you’re right about them being enjoyable pursuits (I hesitate to use the word hobby considering they’re a real aspect of my career–but I’d be lying if I said that they didn’t begin as hobbies). In any case, I’m sure you can tell that I spare no chance to talk about it with any (marginally) interested party!

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