Just wanted to mention that Todd and Valinda weren't the only folks there speaking today, many others shared personal stories and words of encouragement. Among them were Otis McDonald (McDonald v Chicago) and Mary Shepard (Shepard v Madigan).
Mary has been unable to attend the last couple of years as her Dr. hadn't released her to travel (at least that is my understanding...someone may correct me on that) and to hear her talk about being beaten and left for dead really struck a chord with everyone in attendance. It really couldn't have happened to a sweeter lady.
Once inside the Capitol I had the opportunity to thank her for standing up and taking her story to the courts, I can't imagine what it must be like to have to relate those events over and over again. While speaking with her I realized just how small of physical stature she is, I'm sure that she looks like an easy target for criminals and is.... as long as she remains unarmed. Being familiar with her story, I know that her attacker was approximately my size (6'2"/250) and standing there with her really illustrated just how much of a physical advantage someone my size would have over her. However, I know she's well trained and, if armed, she'd be a force to be reckoned with.
The media reports of attendees varies wildly, some stating that "hundreds" marched on the Capitol while others put the number between 3000 - 4000. My estimate was closer to 7000, I base this on the capacity of the main hall of PCCC (7700) and the fact that there were people all over the place outside the convention center. To say that it's tough to get an estimate on attendees is an understatement.
Yet again, the Capitol Police were heard to comment that IGOLD attendees are always a pleasure to work with and many look forward to it. Maybe they need to relay that to the "blood in the streets" crowd that wants to take away our firearms.
Sadly I wasn't able to get over to the grip-n-grin afterwards, the head cold that I thought I had shaken came back with a vengeance and I starting feeling pretty miserable while still inside the Capitol. Here's hoping that everyone there had a good time!
Thanks to everyone that puts on and attends IGOLD.... we ARE making a difference.