In Texas, gun rights advocates held a march and a mock mass shooting, but many agree they failed to get their message across because of counter-protesters with fart noise machines and sex toys.
According to CBS News, two gun rights groups, Come and Take It Texas and Don’tComply.com, held their mock mass shooting demonstrations at “The Drag,” an area of restaurants and shops near the University of Texas in Austin, on Saturday.
The group members first marched to protest gun-free zones, and then they broke off, using cardboard assault weapons to hold a fake shooting of six people. Unfortunately for the groups, counter-protesters arrived in larger numbers, and they came armed as well — with fart cannons and dildos.
Think Progress reports the shooting was drowned out by the “mass farting.” Others waved sex toys and shouted chants like “mock shootings mock victims,” successfully distracting many onlookers from the initial show.
The two gun rights groups have been promoting the event for roughly a week. Initially, they wanted to demonstrate on the University of Texas campus, where Charles Whitman shot 16 people from a clock tower in 1966 — one of the worst mass shootings in American history.
Campus officials refused the request.
They added that if the group members were caught on campus protesting they would be charged with trespassing. The decision forced the gun rights activists onto the public streets and raised media attention.
When the protesters were swamped by reporters and critics, they attempted to disperse and reorganize roughly two blocks away, where they held the mock mass shooting. According to the New York Times, Murdoch Pizgatti, president of the two groups, explained that they changed locations because protesters were “not going to give us a space to voice our opinions.” He added that it also stressed the point that mass shootings could happen anywhere at anytime.
Jason Orsek, vice president of both gun groups, reiterated that idea.
“This is what happens. In real (shooting) events like this, you don’t know when they’re going to happen, you don’t know where they’re going to happen… we purposely did it that way.”
“Victims” in the mock mass shooting were outlined in chalk after they fell. The activists then conducted a second scenario where the victims were legally armed at the time of the shooting to show the contrasting outcomes. Gun rights activists also came with legally-owned assault rifles.
On the counter-protesters side, co-organizer Andrew Dobbs explained that he was happy to interrupt the demonstration, according to the Daily Beast.
“It was a blast—a literal blast. It was a lot of fun. I just wanted to show them how outnumbered they are. [A mass shooting] is so rare for it to even be a legit ongoing fear for people. The media stokes it, but you’re more likely to be hurt by air pollution.”
Earlier this year, the Texas state legislature voted to allow concealed handguns on college campuses, but allowed a caveat for school-designated gun-free zones, leaving both sides unsatisfied.
Critics say that allowing concealed weapons in schools creates a safety hazard. Gun rights groups say the caveat, gun-free zones, are the real safety hazard.
At the University of Texas Austin campus, the school plans to allow the concealed guns in classrooms, but not in the college dorms.
Texas Christian University is the first private school to rally against the law, saying they would not allow guns on campus.
Kathy Cavins-Tull, the vice chancellor for student affairs, explained, “we really debated this issue a lot. People on our campus for the most part felt fewer guns make us safer.”
Whether the mock mass shooting or the counter-protests had any effect is hard to say, but most participants left smiling after the spectacle according to the Daily Beast.
[Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images]