By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Despite the “best” efforts by Cleveland’s NBC affiliate WKYC to sensationalize, propagandize and make “gun violence” the focus of Gabby Giffords’ and Mark Kelly’s Wednesday night appearance at Akron University’s E.J. Thomas Hall, the topic of “gun control,” while raised in passing, was not the centerpiece of their “Endeavor to Succeed” talk.
I know, because I was there taking notes throughout.
While the upper balcony level was essentially empty except for a few people, the main seating area was well-attended. I spoke to an usher, who estimated the size of the audience was between 600 and 800 people. They appeared to be not just young people, but many middle-aged and older. If there was a pro-gun contingent, they did not make themselves known, and the way the event was conducted really didn’t lend itself to piggybacking off the proceedings with independent political advocacy.
Kelly occupied the stage alone for most of the presentation, only bringing Giffords out for the final portion. He spoke mostly of his career, talking about his early life, his parents, and his experiences as a combat pilot and astronaut. Giffords focused her comments on maintaining a positive attitude in the face of adversity and on a commitment to work through challenges. I bring these observations up because I believe it’s a mistake and counterproductive for gun rights advocates who oppose Giffords’ and Kelly’s “gun control” efforts to dismiss them as being motivated by anything other than beliefs derived from personal tragedy.
The actual subject of “gun control” did not come up until a question and answer sit-down session, and it was one of several topics broached by the moderator reading from a list. That in itself was a disappointment. The main reason I went was because my local paper had reported “Gabby will speak briefly and answer questions from the audience.”
I’d consulted with colleague Mike Vanderboegh earlier in the day to come up with a question, directed to Kelly, that we thought could prove instructive. We tried to word it in a way that could elicit a candid response rather than a guarded one:
With widespread documented noncompliance by gun activists in states that have recently passed gun control laws, and with only limited, selective enforcement by state officials, what specific actions must be taken to ensure comprehensive compliance and nationwide enforcement of new laws?
Responding to what he was asked by the moderator, Kelly basically repeated some talking points that, unfortunately, the audience will probably never hear corrected. One in particular that stood out was parroting a talking point claim about the U.S. having the worst “gun violence” in the “industrialized world.” That’s more than ironic, because we’ve seen in the past how Russia, which has restrictive “gun controls” and “far more homicides,” has been excluded from acknowledgement of being “developed” by no less an “authority” than the globalist Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The kicker is Kelly spent a few minutes earlier talking about his brother’s current joint “One Year Crew” mission on the International Space Station with Russian Cosmonauts (the mission’s Soyuz TMA-16M rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan).
In any event, the majority of the Kelly/Giffords presentation had nothing to do with “gun control,” in spite of WKYC’s hand-wringing “agenda journalism” emphasis of that topic.
That’s not to say it won’t be the primary focus for the “Protect All Women” tour, scheduled to end today, but if they’ve got a dedicated event planned in Ohio, as they announced they did, it’s been a pretty well-kept secret.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.