Let’s Rock It To Stop It! Concert


Gun Violence in America: Let’s Rock It To Stop It!
Sunday, September 25, Noon to 6 PM
Pioneer Courthouse Square
701 SW Sixth Avenue, Portland

Come on out for music, art and the spoken word. Learn about ways to stop gun violence and discover what you can do to make a difference. 

Line up for the concert includes:

  • Karaoke From Hell
  • Singer/Songwriter David Amir
  • Rapper and DJ Gil Gates
  • Soprano Jocelyn Claire Thomas
  • Sh-Boomers (doo wop)
  • Rev. Mark Knutson, Augustana Lutheran Church
  • Rev Chuck Currie
  • Rev. Matt Hennessee
  • Robert Yuille
  • Zicra Lukin

This event is just one of 350 nationwide–all to be held tomorrow.









Toxic Masculinity Leads to Killings from Guns

We could never get to the moon. We could not possibly do away with (fill in the name of a disease). We could never build highways across the United States. Planes will never fly. These are some of the statements proved false during the past century. Why, then, do we think that we can’t do away […]

via Toxic Masculinity Leads to Killings from Guns — Nel’s New Day

Stopping Gun Violence Stops the Letters

Written by Central Oregon Coast NOW Board Member and Central Coast Ceasefire Steering Committee Member Nel Ward in response to a Letter to the Editor published in the Newport News Times written by local resident Herb Goblirsch

Friday, January 1, 2016 Newport News Times

To the Editor:

Herb Goblirsch doesn’t like letters about gun violence. I don’t like a preventable public health crisis that kills 282 people every day.

Although it may appear that gun deaths are far lower than 40 years ago, the number of gun deaths has stayed steady during the past 15 years. It is possible that rate of death from guns is much higher because a conservative Congress banned any official research since 1996. Two-thirds of these 282 deaths may be from suicide, but the rate for just teenage suicide from firearms is 9.7 per 100,000—almost as high a rate as homicides in the country.

Gun violence is a more serious problem in rural areas than in cities. More gun deaths per capita occur in rural states than in the states with the largest cities, and the rate of gun deaths is higher in Oregon’s rural counties than in its cities.

When states enact sensible gun safety laws, the death rate from guns shrinks. Missouri, however, loosened its laws with its homicide rate increasing to 47 percent greater than the national rate, up from 13.8 percent before the lax laws. More guns equal more gun deaths.

Muslims kill 14 people, and anti-Islam people want to keep all Muslims out of the country. Yet gun deaths are 4,000 times more than deaths from terrorism in the United States since 9/11. A Christian kills three people at Planned Parenthood, and conservatives consider it business as usual—just like the other 279 people killed that day. Two people die of Ebola disease in the United States, and people call it a national epidemic. Yet 282 people dying every day of gun violence is routine.

More preschoolers die from gun violence than on-duty law enforcement officers, but the U.S. doesn’t act on this public health crisis. Other countries prove that this rate of gun violence deaths is preventable, but people in the United States have so terrified legislators that they don’t take action.

Don’t want letters about gun violence? Find a solution other than buying more guns.


Nel Ward

Newport, OR


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, Newport News Times, November 13, 2015

We need reasonable solutions to reverse the number of gun deaths in this country. The National Organization for Women (NOW) is especially concerned about gun deaths and serious injuries to women living with domestic violence.  

Let’s look at the statistics:  

     1) Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.            [93 Am. J. Pub. Health 1089, 1082 (July 2003)]  

     2) Domestic violence assaults involving a firearm are 12 times more likely to result in death than those           involving other weapons or bodily force. [267 JAMA 3043-3047 (1992)]  

     3)  Although the United States represents only 32 percent of the female population among 25 high-               income countries, it accounts for 84 percent of all female firearm homicides. The study’s lead                   author concluded that “the difference in female homicide victimization rates between the U.S. and             these other industrialized nations is very large and is closely tied to levels of gun ownership. The               relationship cannot be explained by differences in urbanization or income inequality.” [Journal of               the American Medical Women’s Association (JAMWA) 57 (Spring 2002)]  

      4) Laws that prohibit the purchase of a firearm by a person subject to a domestic violence restraining           order are associated with a reduction in the number of intimate partner homicides. [30 Evaluation             Rev. 313, 332 (June 2006)]  

The 2015 Oregon legislature passed SB 525, which bars people from possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a domestic violence crime against a family member or are subject to a domestic abuse restraining order. In support of this bill, former Gresham Police Chief Carla Piluso testified, “If a weapon is within reach of an abuser, the risk of homicidal violence is extreme.” Representative David Gomberg was a sponsor of this bill, and NOW thanks him for his support.

Nancy Campbell Mead,

National Organization for Women (NOW) National Board Member

NOW – Oregon Board Member

Central Oregon Coast NOW


Nel Ward   Newport

     Another letter to the News-Times (“New gun laws won’t stop a killer,” Nov. 6 edition) perpetuates the myth that “armed students would have ended [the Roseburg killings] sooner.” In fact, people had brought guns onto the Umpqua Community College campus at the time of the massacre and chose not to use them. John Parker Jr., a veteran and UCC student carrying a concealed weapon during the tragedy, said he chose not to get involved because he might be mistaken for the shooter. During the 2013 killings at Clackamas Mall, a bystander with a gun also chose not to engage the killer for fear he would kill an innocent person.   In another fact, the UCC campus is not a “gun-free” zone because Oregon law allows concealed carry on all public college grounds. Even if it had been a gun-free zone, a study of 62 mass shootings over 30 years could not fi nd one case in which the killer targeted a place because it banned guns. In fact, many of the shootings occurred where guns were permitted, but the gun violence was not stopped by armed civilians.   The prevalence of carrying guns creates more problems than it solves. A recent example is the shooting rampage in Colorado Springs, in which a man killed three people before the police killed him. A woman called 9-1-1 to report the armed man who was acting suspiciously, and was told that it was legal to carry a gun in public. Not until she reported seeing someone dead in the street was her call classified as urgent.   As police ocials recognize , the lack of gun laws in the country have created an untenable situation for law enforcement and for anyone in proximity to would-be killers. Without gun safety laws, no action can be taken until people are wounded or dead.

November 11, 2015 Newport News Times


ACTION ALERT: Urge Your Senators and Representatives to Co-Sponsor and Pass a Law to Prevent Domestic Abusers from Having Firearms

NOTE:  Please contact your Congressional Representatives and Encourage them to 

Oct. 6, 2015

NOTE: Again, a crazed, lone gunman is responsible for a mass shooting. The tragedy occurred on Oct. 1 at Umpquah Community College in Roseburg, Ore. when a student, Chris Harper-Mercer, opened fire, shooting and killing nine people and injuring nine others. Harper-Mercer, who is reported to have suffered from mental health issues, owned 14 guns. This tragedy was the 294th mass shooting – where four or more people are killed or injured by gunfire – thus far in 2015. A significant proportion of those shot or injured in mass shootings are victims of a domestic violence/family violence incident. The toll for women murdered by men usually with a gun in 2013 was more than 1,600, according to new study by the Violence Policy Center. [i]

Dating Violence A Problem – Many would be concerned to learn that current law does not prohibit those convicted of domestic violence against a dating partner from purchasing and owning firearms. This gaping hole in federal legislation could be filled by passing the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act (H.R.3130), a domestic violence victim protection bill. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Debbie Dingle (D-Mich.) who disclosed at a Domestic Violence Month Awareness event last week that, as a child, she was a victim of family violence with a father who terrorized the family with violent threats and attacks.

Gaps in Legislation – Currently, only those who have been convicted of domestic violence against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, or person with whom the perpetrator shares a biological child are barred from owning firearms. Passed in 1996, the Lautenberg Amendment aimed to protect people at increased risk of gun violence by barring those convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. However, this law does not apply to offenders who are found to have punched, strangled, or beaten a dating partner.

Danger Offenders with Guns Pose to Women – With statistics showing that half of all women killed by intimate partners are killed by dating partners, it is clear that firearms should be kept out of the hands of all perpetrators of domestic violence, regardless of their marital status.[ii]  People facing dating violence are 500 percent more likely to be killed by their perpetrator if a firearm is present, demonstrating that keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers is key to saving lives.[iii] A study cited by Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), a co-sponsor of H.R.3130, found that 76 percent of murdered women had been stalked in the year leading up to their death. Stalking and intimate partner violence are both indicators of lethality which means that the more quickly Congress acts on this legislation, the fewer people will die at the hands of abusers and stalkers who can now legally and easily obtain firearms.

A similar measure (S. 1520, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2015) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) as co-sponsor. Both bills have been referred to the respective judiciary committees. Pressure on members of Congress is needed – especially during October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month – to schedule hearings and move these important bills to a floor vote.

Call, e-mail, or schedule a meeting with your representative and senators and ask them to co-sponsor, support, and vote for these bills.  

The main number for Congress is (202) 225-3131 and a directory of House member’s office numbers is available at http://www.house.gov/representatives/

A directory of Senate member’s office numbers is available at http://www.senate.gov/senators/

You can send a formatted email message to Member of Congress by clicking on Take Action.

Take Action

[i] When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data, http://www.vpc.org/press/more-than-1600-women-murdered-by-men-in-one-year-new-study-finds/

[ii] Cooper, A. & Smith, E. L. (2011).  Homicide trends in the United States, 1980-2008.

[iii] John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research (2003).  Firearms and Intimate partner violence.

Colorado man goes on murderous rampage after 911 dispatcher lectures panicked caller on open carry law

03 NOV 2015 AT 11:39 ET

Naomi Bettis - ABC News

Naomi Bettis – ABC News

A neighbor might have helped stopped a Colorado man from killing three people as he roamed around with a military-style rifle, but the state’s open carry law apparently prevented police from following up on her concerned report.

Naomi Bettis called 911 Saturday after spotting her neighbor, who she recognized but did not know by name, walking outside his home with an AR-15 rifle, reported the Denver Post.

“He did have a distraught look on his face,” Bettis said. “It looked like he had a rough couple days or so.”

Related: Colorado gunman posted religious rant against government and ‘Satanic’ mind control two days before shooting

However, the 911 dispatcher declined to send police and reminded Bettis that Colorado allows gun owners to legally and publicly carry their firearms out in the open.

Police eventually did respond — but not until 33-year-old Noah Harpham had already shot two women and a man with the rifle that had concerned his neighbor at least several minutes earlier.

Authorities identified the victims Monday evening as 35-year-old Andrew Alan Myers, 42-year-old Jennifer Michelle Vasquez 34-year-old and Christina Rose Baccus-Gallela.

Police responded shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday to a report of a possible shooting, and they found Myers dead and a fire burning, according to dispatch logs.

Witnesses said Harpham shot his victims one by one as they begged for their lives.

“It looked totally random,” said neighbor Matthew Abshire, who followed the gunman and called the police. “He walked calmly and collectedly. His demeanor was like he was having a stroll in the park.”

Police fatally shot Harpham about seven minutes after they first arrived at the scene, but not before he killed his victims one by one — including a bicyclist who begged for his life.

It’s not clear at this point how much time passed between Bettis’ call and the first shooting — which prompted a flood of 911 calls.

But the case stands in contrast to at least three others in states that permit the open carry of firearms.

Dispatchers declined to respond to the report about Harpham, who was white, and reminded the caller, who is also white, that Colorado is an open carry state.

However, dispatchers in Ohio sent police to two calls last year involving John Crawford, a black man, and Tamir Rice, a black boy, who were each shot and killed on sight by law enforcement officers — although they were each carrying toy weapons in an open carry state.

Another black man, Darrien Hunt, was fatally shot by police who responded to a report of him carrying a sword — which turned out to be a replica — along a commercial boulevard.

Ohio allows the open carry of firearms, and Utah became the second state to pass a law prohibiting cities from banning the carry of knives — which swords are generally considered to be by weapons advocates.

None of the officers involved in those fatal shootings were charged.

Watch an interview with Bettis posted online:

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