Food for Thought and a Call to Action

Million Mom March for Gun Control 2000: ‘Flowers are Good; Guns are Bad’. Mobilizing for Common Sense Gun Control.

My first born was about six weeks old when the Columbine High School shooting massacre took place in 1999.  As one remembers meaningful events, I too recall exactly where I was when I learned about it.  I was living in California at the time, rocking my daughter to sleep for her morning nap.  Though only a new mother, my heart had already sustained the inalterable transformation that a mother’s heart will once their children are born.  It is impossible to articulate though once crossing into motherhood, a woman is never the same.  The plight of anyone’s child is felt as she knows her own child could be subject to the same fate.

I had the TV on and news of the shooting came on.  I was in utter disbelief that such peril existed in the world let alone at the hands of children and befalling children.  My child lay sleeping in my arms but some day I knew she would not be with me at all times and my mind sped forward in time imagining the horror of such an occurrence.

This Million Mom March for sensible Gun Control felt to be addressing the horrible shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. Between then and now multiple school and public venues shootings have ensued from Virginia Tech to Sandy Point Elementary, and many in between, clearly illustrating the time has come to take action to put a stop to it.

Later that year we moved just outside of Washington D.C.  I spent my second Mother’s Day participating in the first Million Mom March for Gun Control on the National Mall.  Be clear, I’m not political nor am I an activist by nature but I am also one who cannot bear to sit by if there is anything I can do to aid in such wrong doing being avoided in the future.  The mall was full with families like my own, all heeding the call to do all possible to never see another event like Columbine.  The mission was a passionate one but not militant.  The goal merely seeking better gun control legislation to prevent a similar episode of ever happening again.

Take note of the cross section of attendees in this shot.

The roster was full of speakers broadcast on large screens for all attendees to see.  Mothers who had lost children due to gun violence spoke.  For me the empathetic grief made it almost unbearable to listen.  I could not fathom from where their courage sprang to speak so steadfastly about what was undoubtedly the most unthinkable fate a mother could bear.  I have a chilling memory of one of the mothers announcing to those in attendance that ‘the hand that rocks the cradle is watching’ (…those in politics) and how you ‘never want to piss off a mother.’

I don’t think anyone was untouched by the news of the Sandy Point elementary school shooting in Newton Connecticut last Friday.  Regardless of one’s politics or position on gun ownership, I cannot believe anyone would condone 6 and 7 year old babies being gunned down at point blank range.  I found myself daring to imagine what they would have faced.  What it would have been like for them to have a deranged young man shoot them individually or to watch it happen to a tablemate.  What their thoughts would have been.  How scared they must have been.  How at their age the concept of darkness and evil does not even enter their consciousness outside of farfetched nursery rhymes.

As mothers we are a fierce tribe.  Whether protecting our own or the future of the nation’s children.  I have never felt the depths of the wildness of my own soul as strongly as when pondering someone doing harm to my children.  The mothers of the Sandy Point Elementary school victims cannot do for themselves now, they must tend to their own grief.  We, however can.  I do not know the answer or the course of action.  I only know we must band together to change things to never see another day like last Friday.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was an organization participating in the Million Mom March in 2000. Their website is on the bottom of this sticker and they are still involved with the effort to reduce gun violence. Opportunities for involvement are detailed on their website

As food and crafting bloggers many have come together today in a moment of silence in deference to those directly suffering the losses of last week’s shooting.  Though I too have suspended regular sharing of food, I wanted to share my voice as a call for action.  Even the smallest of souls can make a difference.  We must, together, find a way.


  1. says

    Thank you Toni,
    I shared with the hope that people better understand. This will not change until we address that it is all too easy to buy assault weapons and much too hard to get care for the mentally ill, who are prone to violence. This is a dangerous combination of neglect that needs our attention.

  2. says

    I think my Dudette got tired of me hugging her tight so much this weekend, but I couldn’t stop. Did you know that the kids in her school have lock-down drills? They lock the doors, turn out the lights and go hide in a spot where they can’t be seen from the door. That’s the world we live in now. We’ve traded the air raid drills that protected our children (kind of) when we’re attacked by other countries for drills to protect them when they’re attacked by fellow Americans.

    • Toni Dash says

      They have them in my children’s schools as well. I volunteer weekly in the classroom so have actually been part of them. They have different flavors of the drills actually. Those that would have been enacted in the case of Sandy Point, where all the rooms are locked, the children are hidden from sight and are not allowed to speak. I fould it incredibly unnerving to be part of one as the teachers do not know when a drill will happen. I remember air raid drills from when I was a child in Kindergarten. I would have never fathomed the concept of a madman coming into our classroom with an automatic weapon as a possibility. I had a hard time letting my kids go to school today…..

  3. says

    Thank you so much for your words today. The tears just keep coming. As I watch my own 6yo bounce around the house with gay abandon I am profoundly grateful that my kids school at home. But that certainly is not the answer. If we can help prevent even one additional mother from feeling the anguish of the senseless loss of a child then we have made a difference. My friend is writing letters to 27 of his elected officials in honor of each person lost asking for greater gun control and easier/better access to mental health services. I will be joining him.

  4. sue says

    Thank you for your words, Toni. I think our society has seen enough unthinkable killing and agree it’s past time to change our gun laws. How can we live in a world where we are afraid to send our children to school?

  5. says

    Good luck. It is women who will change the world, especially mothers who care. I can’t imagine how terrifying it must be to know that guns are so available to anyone. Good on you, as usual, Toni for taking up this cause. You are a courageous woman.

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