Members of the Columbia County Coalition for Human Dignity (CCCHD) have been taking to the streets on Friday afternoons to raise awareness around human dignity issues.
Most recently, on Friday, August 23, the group stood alongside the highway at Totem Pole Park in Scappoose in support of more commonsense gun control.
For organizer Georgiana Gordon, the battle is personal. In May of 1970, while a sophomore at a private Catholic girl’s high school in the San Francisco Bay Area, she was shot along with five other girls in a school shooting that was never properly reported to authorities.
“Just as I heard the second shot and felt the hot sting of something piercing my hand and arm, my farm-girl memory bank clicked in. Those were gunshots; I was shot. Several other girls were hit simultaneously, and the screaming started,” Gordon said. “The shooting stopped with a third shot. All in all, five of us were shot; all of the shots were flesh injuries. We were very lucky.”
Gordon recalls hearing male laughter and voices between shots, and believes it was their intention to scare them rather than to kill them. The shooting, she said, was covered up by a protective diocese, the girls were treated by a campus doctor, and the police were never contacted about it.
She said the injury that won’t heal is the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that rears its ugly head every time there is another mass shooting.
“For the first 48 hours after a shooting, we are filled with anguish, pain, frustration and anger at our elected officials for letting gun laws, or the lack of them, get so out of control,” Gordon said. “I am done waiting for Congress to do something.”
While The Chronicle was on site conducting interviews, the group got a few interesting responses from cars driving past – some gave thumbs up, some gave thumbs down – while Gordon was happy no one used a more vulgar gesture.
A young man stopped by to chat, wanting to discuss the semantics of “assault weapons” and his suggestion to change the term on one of the signs in the future.
CCCHD member Arthur Scharf said he participated because he believes around 80 or 90 percent of the country supports commonsense gun control. He said the CCCHD has a long history of such protests – they were out every Sunday for a year and a half following the start of the Iraq war.
“It’s a bit of a tradition,” Scharf said.
That tradition will continue for the next few weeks, with the group tackling various issues to raise awareness around. It won’t always be about guns or active shooters, but Gordon said they will be issues the CCCHD feels are paramount to human dignity.