Updated: May 20, 2020
Originally published on HalseyNews.com June 17th, 2019
If you’ve ever wanted to get into a debate with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s founder, Shannon Watts, you will not get far. Not because you didn’t bring your A-game. Not because you gave a factual analysis that countered her statements to prove that she either gave false information, or twisted it for her own agenda.
Well… actually… maybe those are the reasons you will not get far, because if Shannon Watts cannot debate you, depending on what social media platform she’s on that day, you either find your comments deleted or you get #WattsBlocked.
This isn’t just a matter of opinion. Asking any random someone on social media, who happens to disagree with Gun Control Laws and the groups that push for them, they’ll more than likely tell you that they won a #WattsBlock.
On December 15th, 2012, the day after the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Indiana stay-at-home mom of five, Shannon Watts, returned home from a Yoga Class with a mission to bring, what she calls, “Gun Sense” to the world. She was so devastated over the Sandy Hook Shooting that she decided to put Social Media to work for her. She fired up the computer and started a Facebook Group, which she called at that time, “1 Million Moms For Gun Control.” (You can read more about that HERE)
With the group taking a fresh approach on gun issues in America, it gained popularity fast. Moms, and other parental figures, joined in on the discussion with their thoughts on violence within the nation, and a grassroots movement came to life. The Facebook Group became a new meeting place for many who wanted to change the world of its violent nature… UNLESS you were someone who disagreed with the way Shannon wanted to go about it. Rather than allowing the public to openly debate for a solution, she would delete the opposing comments to her arguments, and/ or block the commenter from ever posting again.
A message was being sent to many who disagreed with Watts: “If you didn’t follow her rules and think the way she thought, you got the boot.” This inspired another group of women… Moms… to form a grassroots movement of their own; where families could not only come together in a healthy, open debate space, but could also gain access to educational information on Gun Laws and Rights, in America. The foundation was set and the organization, 1 Million Moms AGAINST Gun Control (1MMAGC), was born.
1MMAGC knew that going after the Rights of Americans, especially their Right to self defense, was not the way to go about lessening violence in the world. Limiting the abilities of Law Abiding Citizens to protect themselves only increases the potential of a violent crime against them. 1MMAGC reached out to women all over to hear their personal experiences, their fears, as well as made it a mission to empower them with educational tools on firearms. Where 1 Million Moms FOR Gun Control promoted restraints within the system, 1 Million Moms AGAINST Gun Controlencouraged proactive measures of personal awareness and security.
1MMAGC Board Member, Mary Callison of Illinois, knows all too well what those measures are and why they are so important to Americans… especially women. In August of 2015, two years after 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control was founded, Mary got a call that would change her family’s lives forever. While in her driveway, loading up presents for their mother’s birthday party into her car, Mary’s 26 year old sister, Melissa, was approached by a strange man asking for money. Being home alone, Melissa told the man she didn’t have anything to give him and immediately went inside, locking the door behind her. Moments later, the man knocked, asking to use the phone and Melissa gave him directions to the nearest shopping area to do such. The man then forced himself through the door, beat, raped, and stabbed Melissa OVER SEVENTEEN TIMES– which led to six broken facial bones and damaged her orbital structure.
What felt like a lifetime of fear and emotions, only lasted about 15 minutes. Melissa’s assailant dragged her from room to room of her family home, till finally he stopped and left her to go rummage through another room of the house. This was her chance. Melissa used what bit of strength she had left and ran out the door to her neighbor’s and called the police… that was LESS THAN TWO MINUTES AWAY from her home.
Imagine being that neighbor and seeing the torn and mutilated appearance of someone you’ve known for a while, knocking on your door, begging for an ounce of mercy.
Imagine being a parent or sibling, rushing home after receiving the news about the incident. Praying through every second, pleading for hope and proof of life.
Imagine that once you got there, your loved one looks up at you, and says, “I fought as hard as I could.”
Melissa has underwent several surgeries to reconstruct her face, but instead of letting the scars be a sign of weakness, she instead uses them as a sign of strength; as she embarks on a mission much like her sister’s, to help empower others against a life of victimhood. Like Mary and 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control, Melissa advocates for people to be aware and to look into differ