As hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington D.C. on Saturday (03-24-18) to call for tighter gun laws, Sitka did not end up seeing any student-led protests. There was, however, one lone protester – Annabel Lund-George – who stood in the roundabout bearing a sign that said “Books, Not Bullets.”
Lund-George: I’ve lived in Alaska for more than 40 years, the last decade here in Sitka. This is a tough one for Alaskans particularly. Look, I’ve lived in Alaska for decades. I own guns. I’ve been a hunter. I even own a pickup truck. But I do believe there are things that we can do that can help (horn honk) prevent gun violence and increase gun safety without endangering our Second Amendment.
KCAW: You know, Annabel, I’ve stood here near the roundabout when there were other gun control protests going on. There was booing and cussing and middle fingers being flipped. What have you seen out here in Sitka?
Lund-George: I’ve seen a tremendous amount of support, must more than I thought. But, as the kids are saying, enough is enough. It’s not just my sign, that says “Books Not Bullets.” It’s not just schools. You should be able to go to church. You should be able to to go to a country western concert in Las Vegas or go dancing at a disco in Orlando. I mean, really. I don’t use the word gun control. I use the word gun safety.
Lund-George: I don’t want to take people’s guns away. I just want us to be more responsible. There’s no reason, if you are a parent, that you shouldn’t be locking away your guns in your house to prevent tragedy. There’s no reason that we can’t have much more effective and efficient closing the [gun show] loopholes. I don’t think we need an automatic weapon, which is a weapon of war. Let’s be sensible.
Lund George stood in the roundabout for nearly three hours.
On the other side of the country, James Swift of Sitka joined the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington D.C. He told KCAW he spent several hours passing out free water bottles and taking pictures of signs. He was impressed by the youth of the speakers and student leaders.
“The school shootings have been something that’s happened here in the last couple of decades. They’re [the students] are the ones that get shot,” Swift said. “[The March] was all about them. It was not about us old fogies, though there were quite a few of us there. It was about the youngsters. I had goosebumps a lot when I was there.”
Both Lund and Swift are music volunteers for KCAW.