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What it's like to be a gun control advocate

September 23, 2014, 12:10 am | This story has an Influence Score of 2654

By riazhussain

We all remember the recent incident of mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School Connecticut on December 14, 2012 which claimed, within minutes, lives of twenty  innocent school children and six  teachers . The shooter, Adam Lanza, used a military-style semi-automatic rifle called Bushmaster AR-15. It was one of the deadliest incidents of mass shooting in the USA. The news stories showed horrendous scenes of the tragedy. We saw mothers of the dead children wailing frantically. All these images made the entire world sad.  The US president said with tearful eyes, ‘Our hearts are broken today’. This horrendous tragedy brought tears in the eyes of mothers across the USA. Jacalyn Engle,a fifty nine-year-old mother and teacher was deeply moved by the horror.

She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.  In her life she has pursued a number of occupations. She has worked as a nurse for fifteen years in various hospitals and rehabilitation centers. She has also worked as teaching assistant and preschool teacher for twenty years. 

Being an educator, Jaci could feel the damage the Connecticut tragedy has caused to the school and the teachers on December 14, 202. Being a mother, she could empathize with the mothers whose beautiful innocent kids were slain in the brutality. She is one of the gun-control advocates in the USA. She says that in order to prevent future incidents of mass shooting in the United States; the government should pass tighter laws on owning guns. She holds that in the past there have been practically no debates on gun-control. The gun lobby in the USA is strong but she believes that the time has come when people should seek common sense. She is among those democrats who strongly advocate the renewal of the expired ban on assault weapons.

Expressing her fears, she says , 'The hate in this country by the far right is ugly and dangerous. What I fear most is the depth of hate and ruthlessness of folks on the far right. Bigotry is becoming more blatant and GUN NUTS and other extremist seem to be so quick to attack in comments’. On the other hand, hunting is a family tradition in many parts of the USA and therefore, gun-rights advocates are not in favour of tighter controls on gun ownership. And gun-rights advocates say that they dont want to be helpless against armed people. They need weapons for self-defence. On the other hand, gun control advocates have been holding protests and marches in different parts of the country demanding tougher gun-control laws. They stress that the government should reintroduce a ban on sale and purchase of military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Jaci has been supporting the pro-gun control marchers. She says that people  should be active citizens. People should act and should not sit in their houses waiting to see what happens next. She says that gun violence seems to be increasing in the country. She says that what happened to kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School Connecticut on December 14, 2012 can happen again if there is are no tighter laws on gun-control. The tragedy at the school has galvanized general public to take interest in gun-control. She stresses that extra security should be provided at schools and educational institutions. If people with mental illnesses keep on getting easy access to automatic rifles, then the country should be ready for more tragedies.  She reiterates that if there are more guns there will be more violence.  The government should keep civilians away from military weapons.

Jaci has a burning desire for better political, social and economic changes in her county. She wants better governance as well. She is against greedy governments run by corporations. ‘The burden of BIG money and it's influence on politics seems overwhelming with such a small percentage of Americans controlling so much’. She vigorously advocates ‘democracy, freedom, peace and justice’. She has spent a lot of time in taking part in political rallies, canvassing, public meetings, street marches, election campaigns, and protests. She has worked with Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan and other activists. She regards Ann Wright as a true American hero. Talking about Ann Wright, she says she 'felt so honored that she met her' .

Jaci rememebrs that when she lived in NJ, she became politically active. She says, 'I traveled to see massive protests in NY, and WDC and there was a local one in Westfield NJ when Bush was holding 'town hall meetings' trying to "Privatize Social Security" the greedy fat cat rich here want to privatize and make everything for-profit. It was also during the Iraq war. He drove by my house, and a very nice peaceful young girl got arrested and treated quite harshly. She had done nothing wrong but had to go to court with some potential harsh penalties. Coincidently both her parents were the sweetest ministers with the United Church of Christ'. She further says, 'The NJ girl had a silk banner, she wasn't even in the front row but was grabbed, to intimidate others in the demonstration'. Jaci is against such coercive measures taken by the government.  

She also remembers President Obama's address in Grensboro. She likes Obama but does not agree to all his views and policies. She says, 'I of course do NOT 100% agree with President Obama BUT feel at this moment he is absolutely the best by FAR that we can HOPE for'. 

She is of the view that unequal distribution of wealth is one of the causes of social problems in the USA. She remembers that she ‘visited a house where a playroom was larger than an average small home or school room- unbelievably full of toys- they had a special curving wall with holes cut out full of toys, which filled many shelves along its lenght. The nanny in the large house said "My children at home (Philippines) have more fun with 1 doll, a ball and some sticks than these kids do". Jaci is much worried about wealthy people corrupting the politics of the country. She says ‘The burden of BIG money and it's influence on politics seems overwhelming with such a small percentage of Americans controlling so much’. She is deeply worried about economic conditions in the country. She says, ‘Sure poverty in other countries is worse but there is real poverty here as well and many who seem ok are living on the edge’.

Jaci does not like right-wingers. She did not like Bush. She supports progressive politics and hopes that if good people struggle against wealthy bigots, her country can have better days. 

Now she does not go very often to protests due to her familial responsibility. She explains, 'I do not go to many protests now. My husband is uncomfortable with that (although he agrees with the issues).  I do what I can on-line.' So she uses the internet to support the proponents of gun-control laws and may be called an online activist. She says, I blog to share information, discuss issues on the Democratic Underground. I also use Facebook for fun and to still promote worthwhile causes and support progressive politics'.

Jaci loves her husband very much. 

She is fond of sightseeing. She has visited Copenhagen, London, Barbados, Mexico, Zurich Switzerland, Rome,  Italy, Koblenz, Heidelberg ,  Germany, Paris and London.  


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