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Inside George's push to turn the tide on gun control - Vanity Fair

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carolhathaway
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Post by party animal - not! Thu 20 May 2021, 20:21




https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/05/inside-george-clooneys-push-to-turn-the-tide-on-gun-control



Really good article.........

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Post by carolhathaway Thu 20 May 2021, 21:04

That's really impressive!
And I still don't understand why gun restrictions are a no-go for so many people...
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Post by LizzyNY Thu 20 May 2021, 22:15

: Sad And even with all that - NOTHING CHANGES!!!!!!!!! Hardly a day passes that I don't get fundraising requests for gun control advocacy groups. I got two today. And yet, for all the work these groups are doing, the daily newspaper headlines are still filled with new shootings.

I don't know why these people are so attached to their guns or what it will take to make any kind of significant change.
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Post by Donnamarie Fri 21 May 2021, 00:45

Well that was an incredibly informative article.  I had no idea George was so instrumental in coordinating the March For Our Lives rally.  Really impressed with his perseverance.  I so admire his optimism.  I am not an optimist like George.  He did bring a much needed spotlight on the violence in our country and our schools.  But even at the time of the March I didn’t feel like anything really positive was going to happen.  IF leaders  could not be swayed to put in place gun control measures (even a universal background check) after the Sandy Hook mass shooting then nothing was going to happen anytime soon.

There are more guns in the U.S. than there are people.  I looked it up.  About 46% of all civilian owned firearms in the world are owned by Americans.  Our country is awash in guns.  The gun violence in our country is horrendous.  But if you ask Americans about why there is so much gun violence you will get a bunch of different answers having to do with culture, mental health, etc.  Many gun owners will not see guns as the culprit.

Politics and the NRA have also played a huge part in blocking most gun control in our country.  It’s pretty depressing.  Thank goodness there are people like George willing to fight the good fight.  Maybe there will be some positive change in our lifetime.  Hope so.
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Post by annemarie Fri 21 May 2021, 02:29

On Valentine’s Day of 2018, a 19-year-old former student walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School outside of Miami and allegedly started shooting. Within a month, teenagers who had watched their friends and teachers being shot were standing on a stage by the National Gallery of Art in Washington in front of 200,000 people.
This event didn’t happen spontaneously. Jimmy Fallon, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ariana Grande, Cher, and Kevin Bacon didn’t all just decide to be backstage meeting with the high schoolers who had become overnight activists, and overnight famous, with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian scooting up on a golf cart even though they weren’t on the guest list. The signs in the crowd were handmade—“thoughts and prayers don’t stop bullets,” “which kid is next?” with arrows pointing in every direction, “the only glock i want in my classroom,” with a drawing of a glockenspiel. The response was organic and overwhelming. But what happened that Saturday morning in Washington and in companion rallies around the country were signal events in how the new energy, the established politicians in Washington, the big donors, and Hollywood had begun to come together in a new aligned purpose.
Gun control was the great failure of Barack Obama’s presidency, and he knew it. He had cried at the White House podium in December 2012, thinking about the dozens of children shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary, and promised in a mesmerizing speech at the prayer vigil that weekend in Connecticut that he would use “whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens.” He had just been reelected, the horror of what had taken place had paralyzed the NRA into silence, and all that came of his promise was a commission led by Joe Biden that produced a collection of largely meaningless executive actions. He and Biden couldn’t even get a Senate vote for the bare minimum of mandating background checks. “It was the best that could have happened at that time, and even it didn’t happen,” is how Joe Manchin, the conservative Democratic senator from West Virginia, puts it. Obama effectively gave up. There was no greater example of the disparity between Obama’s making Americans want him to lead and his inability to do so.

George Clooney was at home in Los Angeles the day of the shooting, sitting with his parents, watching Anderson Cooper on CNN interview Cameron Kasky and David Hogg, two of the students who quickly became central figures. He was caught up in the moment, struck by how smart and searing they were on camera. He wanted to help, so he called Cooper, asking for their numbers. When Cooper hesitated, Clooney told him to give them his instead.





“You guys have lit a fire,” he said when he finally reached them, and told them there should be a march—just kids. Put together a small group, start organizing.
Clooney called Obama because that’s a thing that can happen between two guys who’d been friends dating back to their playing basketball together when Obama was a state senator. “I am full-on radioactive,” Obama told Clooney. “If I’m near it, it becomes the ‘Barack Obama liberal agenda.’” He offered to activate pieces behind the scenes and to keep other politicians away.

Obama saw the spark—but he worried. These kids were his daughters’ age, suddenly tumbling into tragedy and celebrity. He worried about their getting thrown into the national spotlight, that there wasn’t an infrastructure to protect them, whether when attacked online by gun nuts or when a Hollywood producer called a student demanding rights to a song the school choir sang on a CNN town hall a few days later. He worried about another missed opportunity. He worried about the politicians taking over and messing it up.
Clooney started calling more celebrities to pitch in: John Legend, Jimmy Kimmel. Obama called Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut husband of Gabby Giffords, who had become a nexus of his own anti-gun network in the seven years since his wife had been shot in the head. Kelly pushed back on the idea of a march at first, tried to warn all these suddenly gun-focused celebrities against getting their hopes up. “You’re thinking that this is going to be like Sandy Hook,” Clooney told him. “It’s going to be different.” 
He called around to Sunday shows, pulling in favors to get the students booked. The shooting had taken place on a Wednesday, and by the following Sunday, they were announcing the plan. Clooney and a television producer named Deena Katz, who had helped organize the Women’s March, went looking for a name under which to register a website. They’d call it the March for Our Lives.





“People keep asking us what about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different. Because this has happened before and change hasn’t come. This is it. People are saying that it’s not time to talk about gun control.And we can respect that. Here’s a time. March 24th in every single city. We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives,” Kasky told Martha Raddatz on ABC. “This isn’t about the GOP, this isn’t about the Democrats, this is about the adults. We feel neglected and at this point, you’re either with us or against us.”
Clooney called producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, and together they worked out a plan to have Clooney donate $500,000 on one day, Katzenberg to give the next day, Steven Spielberg the next, and then Oprah Winfrey. Walmart donated $1 million, and Warren Buffet’s daughter chipped in. In the end they put $22 million in the bank.

Inside George's push to turn the tide on gun control - Vanity Fair Battle-for-the-soul-cover

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First, the students headed to Tallahassee to lobby for new gun restrictions. Kelly flew to Florida, tracked them down while they ate lunch in a room in the state capitol. The teachers recognized him as soon as he walked in. Most of the kids, who had been in grade school when Giffords was shot, had no idea who he was until he started telling the story of what happened. Horror connected them. Listen to the lesson of that, Kelly warned them: it had been seven years since Giffords was shot. Making progress was going to be a long, long fight.
Clooney planned another trip for the students, to meet with kids who’d survived gun violence in Chicago. He’d been on the phone with Al Sharpton and other Black leaders, who saw this as yet another time when the country only cared about violence because it had happened to white kids. They introduced the kids to one another, videoed them together, invited the Chicago group to be part of the march.
The National Rifle Association was the only major institutional player that invested in Trump’s campaign in 2016, and it invested a lot: $50 million that was traceable, and almost certainly more that moved outside the view of campaign finance laws. Trump arrived with full Republican control in Washington and an NRA wish list that Republican leaders were eager to move: lifting restrictions on silencers, plus a law called “concealed carry reciprocity” that would have allowed gun owners in states without many restrictions to have those laws apply even when they were traveling in more stringent states.

But those efforts ran into a changed mood among Democrats, which crystallized with the sit-in on the floor of the House in 2016 after the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. House Speaker Paul Ryan had ordered the lights shut off, but John Lewis had elevated the fight to a civil rights issue, and every Democrat joined in, with a mostly unknown congressman from Texas named Beto O’Rourke livestreaming the whole event because Ryan had also turned off the C-SPAN cameras. The gun safety group founded by Giffords and Kelly had gone into the Trump years with a triage plan titled Resist the Gun Lobby, and by 2018, it had stopped the lifting of silencer restrictions and the passage of concealed carry reciprocity, and helped write the language for a law that actually strengthened the background checks system.
But try telling a bunch of teenagers who’d just had their school shot up that they should be happy with incremental change and the idea that a couple of votes on technicalities could have gone worse. It wasn’t just the politicians and the adults who hadn’t protected them, they said. If all these anti-gun groups had been successful, they would have changed the laws and the world already. They hadn’t.



Obama wrote a short letter, made public immediately, about how the students’ resilience and solidarity had “helped awaken the conscience of the Nation,” giving them his stamp of approval without saying anything directly, while Clooney kept working his phone. On the day of the March, he kept most of the stars backstage, chatting and taking selfies with the shaken kids. Obama wouldn’t speak, dissuading any other politicians from doing so to keep it from turning into just another gun rally. Kelly and Nancy Pelosi, hoping to make a splash for Democrats going into the midterms, both wanted to speak, but Clooney told them both no. He helped script speeches and picked music for the event, including having Jennifer Hudson—whose mother, brother, and seven-year-old nephew were shot dead in 2008—close out the rally by leading a gospel choir singing, “The Times They Are A- Changin.’”
Virginia governor Ralph Northam, standing at the top of the bleachers, where he’d gone to make sure reporters saw him as available to interview, looked out at the crowd. “We were up here a year ago for the Women’s March,” he said. “We saw a tremendous amount of energy across Virginia after that.”
Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group showed up with money and helped put together logistics: permits for all the companion marches around the country, digital ads to promote the events, the livestreams, the outreach to all the mayors. March volunteers circulated with clipboards and flyers urging people to put their information into the database by texting “FIGHT.” DNC organizers at the marches elsewhere in the country passed out “commit to vote” cards. The Brady: United Against Gun Violence campaign produced “227 Days Until Midterm Elections” stickers. When the students all went onstage together at the end and Gonzalez grabbed the microphone back from Hudson, she yelled, “Get out there and vote! Get out there and get registered!”
Kelly had the Giffords gun-control group move up a voter registration drive that had been planned for the months before the election. They organized a trip for two hundred students and families to Washington for the march and started them off the day before with a lobbying day on Capitol Hill. To kick things off, they invited just one person to speak—because he had worked in Congress, had pushed for gun control, and knew grief.
“I love you a lot, a lot,” Giffords said, hugging Biden as she greeted him waiting in a holding room in one of the Senate office buildings before they walked in together.
“It’s mutual, kid,” Biden replied. At the microphone he spoke about being in a valley that only those there with him could see.

“I’m sure a lot of people come up to you and say, ‘I know how you feel.’ And after about the twentieth time, you want to say, ‘You have no idea how I feel.’ You know they mean well. But you know they have no idea. I know how you feel,” Biden said. “I got a phone call, like you got a phone call. I had just been elected to the United States Senate. My wife and my three children were Christmas shopping. A tractor trailer came barreling down a hill and broadsided them. Killed my wife, killed my daughter. And my two sons were very, very badly injured. Not expected to make it.”
He wrapped his fingers around the long microphone in the hearing room they’d commandeered.
“People used to come to me and say, ‘I know how you feel,’ ” Biden repeated. “You know they meant well, but after a while you felt like screaming.”



The following day Biden was back home in Wilmington, at one of the dozens of companion marches.
“Folks, too many people are dying,” he said. “Too many children are being hurt. But here’s the deal: you guys talk about how you are going to change things. You are going to change things. What’s happening now is you’re ripping the Band- Aid off. You’re forcing people to look squarely in the eye what they don’t want to face.”
From BATTLE FOR THE SOUL by Edward-Isaac Dovere, to be published on May 25, 2021 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright :copyright: 2021 by Edward-Isaac Dovere.

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Post by Way2Old4Dis Sun 23 May 2021, 01:09

I'm in love all over again.

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