Dan Rattiner's Stories

Guns Kill: 1,200 Turn Out in Sag Harbor to Protest for Gun Control

Last Saturday at 11 a.m., people demanding gun control assembled at Long Wharf in Sag Harbor to go on a march through town to stop children from being killed in school by gunfire, specifically assault weapons. The population of Sag Harbor, according to the census, is 2,169. The number of people assembling on Long Wharf for the march was 1,200, according to the police.

PHOTO GALLERY: March for Our Lives in Sag Harbor

The march was to be a half-mile from Long Wharf to the other end of Main Street and back to Long Wharf. With this number of people assembling—children, teenagers, adults, the elderly—the organizers of the march agreed to march on the west sidewalk to the other end of town and then back on the east sidewalk.

It was a good plan because when the head of the line of marchers—about four abreast—returned down to Long Wharf, they met up with the tail end of those beginning the march. Had they been in the street, traffic in town would be stopped for half an hour for that.

Atop a platform by the windmill at the entrance to Long Wharf, Nancy Atlas sang to the assembled crowd, a few people spoke, and then the crowd was off up the street. The villain of this piece was our local congressman, Lee Zeldin, who recently met with President Trump to tell him about the Hispanic gangs on Long Island that have now become a presence in the Hamptons, specifically in Hampton Bays.

March for Our Lives demonstrators
March for Our Lives demonstrators, Photo: Stacy Dermont

There are no gangs running free in Hampton Bays. Lee Zeldin, one thinks, just made that up to curry favor with Mr. T.

Zeldin and those others supporting the NRA should be voted out of office was the theme of the marchers, right down to a girl from Pierson High School who condemned him by name.

It breaks your heart to see teenagers having to do this, and even more so to see grammar school kids protesting with signs to save their lives.

The NRA says it’s the people that kill people, not the guns. Let me tell you something. In the beginning of the 20th century, when automobiles replaced horses and began killing people, they said it was the drivers who killed people, not the cars. This went on for 50 years.

Then maybe they decided cars killed people, too. From there we got seat belts, airbags, warning lights, lane-changing rumbles…you know how it is now. And the percentage of the population killed in auto accidents dropped by more than half after we did that.

So it’s only the people who shoot the guns who are responsible for killing people? Build guns that require a specific fingerprint to fire, that are kept in locked cases. Have gun users get training to get licenses. Pass a firing test. Show how a gun can be used responsibly. Pass a written exam. And if they possess an assault weapon, they lose their licenses.

What is so hard about this?

Little girl protesting
Photo: Dan Rattiner
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