Keep gun shows out of Del Mar

In just 10 minutes of rampage, there was a massacre of 20 innocent 6- and 7-year-olds and six adults in Connecticut, at the hand of a crazy young man with an automatic weapon, who had already killed his own mother.

While many in our country may have become inured to the recent mass killings in high schools, movie theaters, a mall, a Sikh temple, this incident at the Sandy Hook elementary school seems to be a tipping point. I hope so. Enough is enough – 20 dead children and their dead teachers, right before Christmas? That is what our country has come to?

We can be sad about it, we can be depressed, we can be frustrated, or we can get angry and take action – we can finally take action. We know that the Sandy Hook School murders were not just about the guns used – many issues collide: fewer resources for mental health care and screenings, a coarsened culture full of violence in video games, TV and movies. But guns are at the heart of the matter. A crazy person with a knife could not have killed all those children in such a short amount of time before being stopped by an adult. Such massacres are only possibly by a crazy person with weapon like a “Bushmaster AR-15” rifle and 30-bullet clips of ammunition that have no purpose other than to mow down human beings. Between 2000 and 2010, over two million of these rifles have been sold in America, including at places like Wal-Mart. These and so many other military-type weapons have absolutely nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment, despite the protestations of the NRA, which is now the mouthpiece for gun manufacturers more than sportsmen and women.

President Obama gave a powerful speech on Dec. 16 in the Newtown high school auditorium, and we should all take heed. “This is our first task – caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged. And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children – all of them – safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.”

So how can we change? Well, how about starting with the “Crossroads of the West” gun show that is slated to take place at our Del Mar Fairgrounds not once but twice in 2013 – in March and in October.

Look at their web site – in the scrolling images advertising the show, you see what are clearly assault rifles and tables full of high-capacity magazines of bullets ( — is this really what we want to feature in our historic, beautiful Del Mar Fairgrounds?

As a 27-year resident of Del Mar, I have asked the City Council to consider taking whatever measures necessary to ban this vulgar traveling road show of killing machines from our small town.

Del Mar is not that different from Newtown, Connecticut. If we, as one small town, stood up to the gun lobby, the gun dealers, the commerce of death that these gun shows represent, well, that would be a step in the right direction, wouldn’t it? Even if we could pressure this gun show to not sell any assault weapons or magazines of ammunition, that would be a start.

If a little revenue was lost, so be it. What are the lives of those 20 first-graders and six teachers worth? Let’s tell the “Crossroads of the West Gun Show” to stay out of Del Mar. Just think: what if every municipality refused them a place to sell their guns? Maybe some of those guns would stay out of the hands of crazy people – because you have to be crazy to want to own an assault rifle.

Let the City Council and Fairgrounds know how you feel. We owe it to the children of Del Mar and the children of Newtown.

Anne Farrell

Del Mar