The front page of Wednesday’s Virginian-Pilot features this photo of me as I began to destroy my husband’s AR-15. I wanted to show support for the chorus of voices, young and old, calling for change in the face of the seemingly unending mass shootings taking place in schools around our country. I wanted to make sure that this weapon, which we decided should no longer be in our home or any home, would not be used by anyone else to take another life.
By the following week our campaign social media had been overrun with angry comments calling for my arrest, calling me names like ‘idiot’, ‘bitch’, and worse. There was also the old, familiar refrain of “LOCK HER UP”. My staff discovered posts on internet forums by militia groups and other extreme Second Amendment supporters, who were sharing memes and coordinating calls to the Virginia Beach police department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Local news reports claimed I was being ‘investigated’ by the ATF. We were attacked everywhere.
I’m glad that Wednesday’s report by the Pilot clears up the fact that I haven’t been accused of wrongdoing and gives me another chance to reach more voters who are concerned about this issue and are fed up that Congress isn’t willing to stand up and demand change. If we’re not talking about common sense gun reform, then nothing’s ever going to change. The gun industry and organizations are counting on just that. I’ve gotten plenty of negative attention from the NRA and its army of followers who think they’re going to silence me. That’s not going to happen.
A MANGLED GUN MAKES THE NRA CRY.
A MANGLED CHILD’S BODY DOESN’T.
So here we are, a month after Parkland, and there’s been more shootings, including one in Maryland this week. The hate in my inbox has died down, and we’ve been able to start responding to those on the other side who have legitimate concerns about the details of an assault weapons ban and the meaning of the Second Amendment. We’re starting a dialog and doing what we do best -- listening and educating -- to make sure that not only are we informed, but that we can make our own position clear and reasoned to those who might still be persuaded. It’s a skill that’s much needed in Congress and one that I look forward to putting to good use.
We’ve noticed a trend over the past few days. The hate is dying down, and the support is rolling in. More and more people are contacting us to let us know that we’re doing the right thing. And just last night I received the “Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America Candidate Distinction.” To say I’m honored and humbled would be an understatement. I want to personally thank Shannon Watts and the rest of Moms Demand Action for leading the fight these past years, and I hope to live up to their faith in me.
When the day ends, I don’t worry about the hateful comments; it’s the positive reaction and unbelievable outpouring of support I’ve received that stays with me and gives me strength. And I’m reminded that this isn’t about me, it’s about us, all of us. It’s about the kind of nation we want to live in and the legacy that we wish to leave behind. We can all strive to leave this world a better place than we found it. And together, when this campaign is over and I am sworn in as the next Congresswoman from Virginia’s 2nd district, it will be with the voice of the people behind us, a voice speaking for all of those souls that have been silenced over the years; the voice of Columbine, of Virginia Tech, Newtown, Parkland, and countless others; a voice that won’t be silenced no matter which NRA lackeys remain in Congress after November, and that won’t be ignored no matter who sits in the White House.
And now, to get to Congress we need to get our message out to the citizens of VA-02 and let them know that there is a candidate that can take on the NRA -- AND WIN! Front page coverage on the area’s largest newspaper is priceless, but we’re facing challenges from within the Democratic party that we need to overcome first.
I appreciate your support, it means the world to me. We’ll be reaching out soon to activate our call banks and canvassing teams, but If you can chip in now and help us keep going, I promise to do right by you. We’re all in this together.
Thank you again and take care,