I’d like to invite everyone who is serous about stopping our country's shameful epidemic of gun violence to participate in an online discussion of the book, Dunblane: Never Forget, with the book's author, Dr. Michael North on Sunday, November 7, at 11 AM PST. Dr. North, who was our keynote speaker at last year’s online annual conference, lost his five year old daughter, Sophie, in the mass shooting at the elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, in which fifteen other children and their teacher were also killed by a man who legally owned the handguns he used to commit the mass murder. In the aftermath of the horrific shooting, Dr. North helped lead a successful campaign to completely ban civilian ownership of handguns in Great Britain. (Britain already had a ban on civilian ownership of automatic and semi-automatic long guns.) There have been no further school shootings since the handgun ban went into effect, and the rate of gun related deaths in Britain is currently 1/60th the rate in the United States.
If you were able to sign in to our virtual conference last fall, you will know that Dr.. North, who prefers to be addressed by his nickname, "Mick," spoke humbly and eloquently about how he and fellow grieving Dunblane parents were able to overcome formidable obstacles in getting the British handgun ban enacted within less than two years following the Dunblane Primary School mass shooting. I wasn’t aware at the time that Mick spoke last fall, though, that he had written a book, Dunblane: Never Forget, that was published in 2000. Mick and I have kept in touch since he spoke at our event last fall, and he casually mentioned the book during one of our conversations. The book is out of print, and even used copies are being sold at a high price, but I was able to obtain an electronic version for less than $10.
Dunblane: Never Forget is one of the most powerful and inspiring books that I’ve ever read. In his typical understated manner, Mick advised me, when I told him that I intended to read the book, “It’s about more than just gun control.” Indeed, Dunblane: Never Forget is also about dealing with the grief and loss of losing both a child and a spouse. The book addresses many different forms of personal relationships and power dynamics, including the relationship between the government, the police, and civilian members of a democratic society; the complex relationships among participants in a social movement, including conflicts involving egos, differing priorities, and financial incentives; and, of course, the relationship between adult members of a society and their children, including the obligation of older generations to protect younger ones. The book is also about the distinction between callousness and empathy; the distinction between the petty and the mundane; and the distinction between truth and lies. And the book is about the fortitude necessary to turn anger, guilt, and profound sorrow into constructive action.
Dunblane: Never Forget has been a tremendous inspiration to me, and after reading it, I found that there were many more things that I wanted to talk with Mick about than just the topics that he had been able to cover in his presentation during our online annual event last fall. Mick has graciously agreed to participate in another discussion with Americans Against Gun Violence supporters on Sunday, November 7, after everyone has had a chance to read Dunblane: Never Forget. As I alluded to above, although the hard copy version of the book is difficult to obtain, you can download an electronic version in Kindle format for less than $10.
I hope that you’ll read Dunblane: Never Forget yourself, that you’ll be as inspired by the book as I was, and that you’ll join us on Sunday, November 7, at 11:00 AM PST to discuss the subject matter of the book with its author, Dr. Mick North. Here are the details for logging in to the discussion, which will be conducted via Zoom:
Time: Nov 7, 2021 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 879 8154 0216
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The November 7 date for our discussion of Dunblane: Never Forget will be just four days after the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in an important Second Amendment case. (See our press release of September 22, 2021, for more information about this case and about the landmark amicus brief that Americans Against Gun Violence filed in it.) If you think that there are any insurmountable obstacles, including constitutional ones, to adopting stringent gun control laws in the United States comparable to the laws that Mick North and his colleagues were able to get enacted in Great Britain, I’ll stay on the November 7 conference after we finish discussing Mick’s book to explain why such a belief is a self-perpetuating myth. I'll also discuss what steps we need to take to achieve a complete ban on civilian ownership of handguns and automatic and semi-automatic long guns in the United States and the indisputable evidence that the adoption such laws would save tens of thousands of American lives, including the lives of thousands of innocent American children and youth, every year.
Americans Against Gun Violence remains the only organization in the entire United States that openly advocates the adoption of stringent gun control laws in our country comparable to the laws in Great Britain and the other high income democratic countries of the world. And we also remain the only U.S. organization that has filed amicus briefs in important Second Amendment cases in which we call on the Supreme Court to reverse its rogue 2008 Heller decision in which a narrow 5-4 majority of the Court overturned over two centuries of legal precedent, including four prior Supreme Court decisions, in ruling for the first time in U.S. history that the Second Amendment confers any kind of individual right to own a gun unrelated to service in “a well regulated militia.”
Our annual fall event is typically our biggest fund raiser of the year. Due to ongoing Covid concerns, we won’t be hosting an in-person fall event again this year. We aren’t asking anyone to pay anything to participate in the November 7 “book club” with Mick North, but we’d appreciate it if you’d become an official paid member of Americans Against Gun Violence, if you haven’t already done so, and if you’d make an additional donation, if you’re able, to support our ongoing work. Both membership payments and donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by state and federal tax laws.
Thanks for your support of Americans Against Gun Violence, and thanks for helping us demonstrate through our actions, and not just our words, that we are a society that loves its children more than its guns. I hope you can join us for our discussion of Dunblane: Never Forget with Dr. Mick North on November 7.
Bill Durston, M.D.
President, Americans Against Gun Violence
Note: Dr. Durston is a board certified emergency physician and a combat veteran and former expert marksman in the U.S. Marine Corps, decorated for "courage under fire" during the Vietnam War.