Shirley King | Avenida Primavera
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, a Polish poet who survived a German work camp by killing his guard with a shovel that was given to him to dig his own grave proposed a less desperate lesson when he said, “sometimes you have to be silent to be heard.” But this aphorism strikes a fitting chord with the new “quiet” strategy of Stop the Del Mar Gun Shows 2014. In January 2013, Stop the Del Mar Gun Shows, with its online signature campaign and wide media coverage, represented a very strong public rejection of the gun culture sustained at the 22nd Agricultural District through its serial engagement of Crossroads of the West Gun Shows.
Our community’s values were further shared by the unanimous adoption by the Del Mar City Council of a Resolution urging our local Fair Board to discontinue its contracts for gun shows with Crossroads. Fair Board members chose not to hear a public deliberation to change its 20-year practice of hosting gun shows. On the other hand sympathetic local and State legislators gave hope to Stop the Del Mar Gun Shows leaders. They supported proposed State legislation to transfer authority from the Fair Boards to the local County Board of Supervisors over the gun show contracts at the Cow Palace, which could have had implications for all State Fair Districts. The governor vetoed this legislation leaving local authority and its constituents with no influence over the proliferation of gun and ammunition sales in its Fair District’s jurisdiction.
Facing such a stalemate, Stop the Del Mar Gun Shows has chosen not to resort to the futility of trench warfare or shovels in order to flush out reasonable Fair Board members. Its goal remains the same, but now with the helping hand of the gun buyers. It is proposing to assist other advocacy groups, both local and national, by using the sales tax revenues of the gun and ammunition purchases collected by our City at the Crossroads gun shows - gun consumers helping gun control groups.
As clearly pronounced by former Council Member Henry Abarbanel in the May 2013 Sandpiper, the City of Del Mar has the distinguished role of collecting sales taxes on all sales at events occurring at the Fairgrounds. Contributing these sales tax dollars from the gun shows to those organizations that are effectively working for gun control and violence prevention maximizes our local efforts and underscores the need to offset the often-tragic consequences of gun ownership. Our City can take the lead in our region.
The prospective organizations to which the contributions from sales tax revenues can be directed are numerous. They range from groups focussed on research, strategic engagement and policy advocacy like Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Mayors Against Illegal Guns to educational experiences for teens in the trauma bays of hospital Emergency Rooms such as Cradle to Grave, and job training, re-education and counseling to reduce gang violence through a non-profit like Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, The attention and loyalty to our community’s values can be achieved by the simple use of our City’s sales tax from the customers of the gun shows. Now our community has another chance to support the mission of Stop the Del Mar Gun Shows with its request to our Council members to put our money where our mouths are.