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Enough: One local mom joins masses across nation fighting for gun control

SemiNative

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Here we are again.

Here we are in the aftermath of another mass shooting. Another school shooting. As one meme circulating on social media puts it, we’re somewhere between sending thoughts and prayers and posting angrily on social media — but on our way to forgetting, until we start the cycle again.

Sadly, the cycle will start again, likely soon. Since the start of 2018, I feel like I’m hearing weekly news reports about threats to area schools. PTSD? No. If you’re sensitive to the violence around us, there’s no “post” about it, we’re living with traumatic stress disorder.

But something is different this time around. Instead of just sending prayers and posting on Facebook, people are taking action. Led by the kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the site where 17 were killed on Feb. 14, people are organizing and acting to do whatever they can to break the cycle. While the Florida students are showing up at their state Capitol, events across the country are being planned. On March 14, students nationwide, and right here in the Springs, are planning a 17-minute walkout at 10 a.m., one minute for every victim in Florida.

Wanting to make a difference is what led local mom Hillary Dickman to make a donation and join Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a nonprofit that was founded following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The national grassroots network has chapters in every state and has scored numerous wins for common-sense gun control measures — among them, nearly every candidate they backed in the November elections won their race.
Dickman first learned of the organization about a year ago while listening to Pantsuit Politics, a bipartisan political podcast hosted by two women. As the mother of two daughters, ages 15 and 12, who attend a charter school in town, Dickman says, “My thought was that MADD [Mothers Against Drunk Drivers] was super effective. I wanted to be part of an organization that could have the effect they did.”

She sees the need for an organization that can fight for change, an organization as powerful as the National Rifle Association, but on the other side. And she sees the power of a motivated mother. “It has to be moms.”

Dickman says she once would have asked what her daughters’ school could do to keep them safe. After hearing about how fortified and prepared the school in Florida was, she knew that more needs to be done than protecting individual schools. Moms Demand Action was her answer.
“One of the most interesting things about the aftermath of the most recent shooting is seeing engagement from people in this issue, and not in a name-calling or shouting way,” she says. “But in a thoughtful ‘Please tell me where you’re coming from so I can understand and we can fix this’ way.”

“One question I keep asking my friends who have guns is, ‘What are you conceding?’” she says. “Neither side can get everything they want.”

She says she concedes that citizens should have the right to conceal carry a handgun, but she wants to get rid of the AR-15, the assault rifle used in most of the deadliest mass shootings.

In past elections, Dickman’s top priority was the environment, but in this year’s midterm election, she says that will take a backseat to the gun issue. She says she wants to understand the impact of NRA funding among candidates, and organizations like Moms Demand Action provide that information.

Want to get involved?

The organizers behind the Women’s March are planning a National School Walkout on March 14. Students, faculty and parents are being asked to walk out at 10 a.m. (in each time zone) for 17 minutes — one minute for each life lost in the Florida shooting. Check tinyurl.com/March14-walkout for more information.

March for Our Lives will take place on March 24. While it started as a march on Washington, marches across the country, including Denver, are now being planned. The list is being updated at tinyurl.com/March24-walkout.

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