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Fed up with gun violence in the United States, three Napa mothers took a stand by lying down Tuesday during a “die-in” demonstration at Oxbow Commons – the second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

“It’s just gotten to be so much,” said Rachel Bergman, organizer of Tuesday’s die-in. “There are too many people being victims of gun violence.”

It doesn’t matter where you are; you could be at risk, she said, adding that even her 10-year-old son is anxious about it, she said.

Bergman said that she organized Tuesday’s die-in to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence. The plan was to stage the die-in for 12 minutes at noon. By 12:07 p.m., when it was clear it was just going to be Bergman and two other women, Evelyn Zlomke and Terry Beck, the three plopped on their backs and stretched out while the sun beat down on the near empty Oxbow Commons.

Around them, workers were breaking down structures from this past weekend’s 7th Annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway.

Wearing orange – the color for the gun violence prevention movement – and carrying signs that read “Wear Orange” and “We can end gun violence,” the women were upbeat.

“It’s a tiny little action, but it’s something we can do,” Bergman said.

Bergman had discussed the demonstration during a meeting of the Napa Valley chapter of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in American and posted the event on Facebook, but it was just the three of them who showed up.

They had 10 to 15 extra signs.

Zlomke said that another related “pop-up” event was recently held, which also had only three participants.

“It’s all about starting conversations,” she said, even if it’s just with one or two people.

Fifty people, including the shooter, died as a result of the June 12, 2016 attack at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Another 53 were wounded.

The shooting saw the highest number of casualties of any mass shooting in the U.S. at the time, but is now second behind the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas, where 58 people were killed and 489 were wounded.

Between 2016 and 2017, there were 50 incidents that the FBI has designated as “active shooter incidents,” according to FBI reports.

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In those two years, five incidents occurred in Florida, five in California.

As of May, CNN reported that there had already been 23 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed this year. Among those is the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, where 17 people were killed.

A few weeks later on March 9, three women, one of whom was pregnant, were killed here in the Napa Valley at The Pathway Home in Younvtille.

Despite the lack of a turnout on Tuesday, the women aren’t giving up their cause. They plan to have more events of their own and attend other related events decked out in their orange shirts.

Next up will be a demonstration in the area of Third and Main Streets in Napa from 11:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Moms Demand Action will also be the beneficiary, along with Giffords of Rock the Ride on June 30. The inaugural bike ride and walk seeks to promote gun violence prevention.


Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC.