Shoes for the Dead Litter Capitol Hill, Thanks to a ‘Global Advocacy Organization’

Gun control legislation is the aim of this group — with backing from the likes of Chelsea Handler and others

by Elizabeth M. Economou | Updated 14 Mar 2018 at 7:02 AM

Of course a “global advocacy organization” that promotes progressive causes would be behind a highly unusual display on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

And of course such celebrities as Chelsea Handler and Bette Midler would promote on social media this installation of shoes in Washington.

A New York City-based group called Avaaz coordinated the placement by activists Tuesday of some 7,000 pairs of shoes — symbolizing the number of children they say have died senselessly from gun violence since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

Called Monument for Our Kids, the display aimed to pressure Congress to pass additional gun legislation. Handler and Midler apparently donated shoes themselves, as did Susan Sarandon, Alyssa Milano, Hayley Mills, Colm Meaney, and others.

The event comes in the wake of the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a month ago in Parkland, Florida — where prosecutors said on Tuesday they will seek the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooting suspect.

"We are bringing Congress face-to-face with the heartbreak of gun violence," Oscar Soria, a senior campaigner with Avaaz, told ABC News. "All of these shoes cover more than 10,000 square feet."

"I'll travel to D.C. literally wearing my son Daniel's shoes, the ones he wore the day he died at Columbine," said Tom Mauser, as quoted in a Newsweek article about the display. "I think this kind of event with shoes offers a very powerful metaphor both for how we miss the victims who once filled those shoes, and also for how we see ourselves wanting to walk in their place, seeking change, so that others don't have to walk this painful journey." The shoes, by the way, will be donated to D.C.-area shelters and charities after the display, the activists pledged.

But Heather Mac Donald, author of "The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe," would remind many gun control advocates of what they choose to ignore.

"Mass school shootings are a tiny fraction of gun violence in this county, including shootings of youth and children," she told LifeZette on Tuesday. "They get media attention, however, because the victims are mostly white."

"If the protesters really want to reduce gun casualties, they would focus on family breakdown in the inner city, which is where the overwhelming majority of drive-by shootings occur, perpetrated by fatherless boys and men."

Perhaps more people should listen to what she's saying.

"If the protesters really want to reduce gun casualties, they would focus on family breakdown in the inner city, which is where the overwhelming majority of drive-by shootings occur, perpetrated by fatherless boys and men."

Related: Boys and Violence in America: What We're Missing

She added, "Progressives remain resolutely silent about the fatherlessness problem, however, and the resulting social chaos, because fixing it means changing cultural values that devalue men and promoting personal responsibility."

Mac Donald is also the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at City Journal.

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

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