This Sunday, a few dozen people gathered in LOVE Park, then simultaneously crumpled to the ground. Minutes later, the scene was deserted, leaving as a grim afterimage dozens of chalk outlines on the concrete, each with a note or a label, such as “Jack, age 6, murdered.” Tourists and skateboarders gazed on with curiosity. A young girl looked up at her mom, explaining, “They are talking about gun violence.”
Art=Ammo, or Artists Against Gun Violence, was started in February in New York by Lorin Latarro, a choreographer who was reacting to the Newtown, Conn., shooting. She coordinated a 200-person flash mob that silenced Times Square, and then started a campaign to bring the movement to other cities, including Philly. In each city, Latarro encourages onlookers to call their legislators and advocate for gun control.
Of the Philly participants, the majority cited Sandy Hook and similar tragedies as their motivation. “I’m a mother of a second-grader,” said one participant, “so [Sandy Hook] really made me realize how large of an issue this is, and one without a major voting bloc.” Among passersby, reaction was mixed. One said to CP, “Wow, this is really needed.” But others were unimpressed, walking over the chalk outlines to get a photo op with Robert Indiana’s “LOVE.” Not one participant or onlooker remarked on Philly’s own massive gun-violence problem. While “3,000 this year” (the number of gun-related deaths in the U.S. so far this year) adorned many a chalk outline, the statistic “331 homicides in Philadelphia in 2012” was nowhere to be found. After so much gun violence, Philly may be numb to the epidemic.
See the original posting on our news blog Naked City for more photos.
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