Huge MassPike / Fenway Park Gun Control Billboard soon to feature Tally of US Gun Deaths

It’s been a 250-by-20-foot fixture of the Massachusetts Turnpike for New England motorists for many moons now but, in the summer 2011, one of the largest, most inconspicuous and provocative billboards in Boston—one that greets a gridlock of traffic headed to Red Sox games near daily in the summer and features ads jeering the “Gun Show Loophole” —is getting a noticeably dour facelift.

The sign, which has exhibited since 1995 such satirical commentaries as a mock ransom note from the NRA, declaring, “We have your President and Congress,’’ and one stating “Welcome to Massachusetts — You’re More Likely to Live Here’’ professing Plymouth has  “the most effective gun laws” in the nation, will soon feature a digital counter displaying the number of American children and teenagers killed by daily guns—a number Stop Handgun Violence, a Newton, Massachusetts based gun control group, puts at eight.

John Rosenthal, founder of the organization, told Boston reporters, “I hope to guilt them into doing something — not just the commuters, but the elected officials — because every day they don’t do something, that number is going to increase by eight children and teens. It’s unconscionable, and it’s shameful, and it’s Congress’ fault.’’

The counter will begin at the number of deaths since the November elections, which the organization cites as 1,624, and will tally an additional eight every day for as long as it remains an I-90 icon.  Script on the PSA makes explicit reference to the $6.7 million the National Rifle Association spent in political contributions and lobbying during the mid-term sweeps to get “gun-right approved” GOP candidates elected, ostensibly the digital additions raison d’etre.  Rosenthal, along with Massachusetts’ politicians and a collection of parents whose children had been lost to gun violence, helped unveil the design at a press conference late last week. He reported at the meeting that about 200,000 commuters see the billboard every day.

Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman, shrugged off the billboard, telling stringers with The Boston Globe, “John should spend the money to put up a billboard calling on the Justice Department to prosecute violent felons and drug dealers who misuse firearms.’’

We’d however like to place the “Fenway sign” alongside a couple of other signs being brought up in the battle between the city of Phoenix and TrainMeAZ, a story we covered yesterday