I intentionally put off this particular blog post. I spent 3 days last week simply trying to process all the things that went wrong on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Florida. I watched the news reports, I heard the commentary, then… I LISTENED to the young people. The children who… in a matter of 10 minutes, became adults. I am so impressed and proud of them all.
Despite the rhetoric from the left and the right regarding their need to speak up and fight for their right to LIVE, they have decided to take us, the adults, to task. I will admit, I think we adults have become completely numb to the shootings. We know what has to happen, we just haven’t the intestinal fortitude to do it. The children do and I fully support their need and right to do it. To hell with anyone that suggests they should be quiet, or are mouth pieces… scare the hell out of us children. Shake us from our lethargy.
As many have asked, “why didn’t this uproar happen after Sandy Hook, and after the various shootings in schools since then?” Well, the voices at Sandy Hook were too young to speak and their parents instinctive went into mama and papa bear mode, protecting them. Since then, most of the shootings have occurred in places where guns, shootings, and death just seem to be part of the fabric of life. A moment of shock, sadness, and then back to life.
The difference at Stoneman Douglas is this… we’ve reached a tipping point. These students were between 9 and 13 years old when Sandy Hook happened. They understood the horror of it all. Since then, they’ve watched, as the phenomenon of school shootings have crept closer and closer, with no real, tangible, VIABLE action being taken to make it all stop. Students in that building recognized and reported the danger. The action taken was inadequate. The resulting outcome completely preventable.
There have been many ideas tossed out there in the last week on how to fix this problem. The one I haven’t heard yet from the highest offices is banning the assault rifle. Yes, there is a mental health component, yes, people have a right to their guns, yes, there are millions of responsible gun owners. Yes, yes, yes. No, to civilians owning assault weapons. I have yet to have a person who owns one give me a good reason for owning one other than its a “cool gun” . Yes, a “cool gun” that unstable people can buy in Cabelas.
“Well, teachers should be armed at the schools. They can get to the shooter before the police arrive.”
Yeah, this is a great idea! (sarcasm alert) Let’s consider this… particularly in an elementary school. Do you REALLY want the gym coach or the principal or the 4th grade math teacher wandering around the building with a gun on their hip? SERIOUSLY? In middle and high schools, what message is being sent to impressionable students when someone not in a police or security uniform is wearing a holster? If I had to have a gun (forced, naturally), it would be locked up in a cabinet or closet. Really useful there, huh?
“Its a mental health issue. We need to help these people.”
Everyone is crazy and wants to shoot up public venues. Right. Ok. Let’s start by re-educating them so they can get jobs and be productive members of our communities. This in turn, will give a great many of them a sense of purpose, lifting the cloud of hopelessness. For those in need of more, mental health services that are evidence based and effective are needed. Little purple pills aren’t placebos.
“The gun laws aren’t strict enough.”
This is debatable. Again, there is a theme to this situation. A person under 21 can’t buy a hand gun, but a person over 18 can buy a military style rifle; all in less than an hour. If you don’t see the issue there, well just damn. Gun laws have loopholes within loopholes, and anyone with a hand full of cash knows every one. Reform is needed. No one is suggesting that guns should be taken away (the NRA battle cry to the masses), just that SENSIBLE laws be put into place to make the purchase of a gun or rifle a PRIVILEGE, not a right. (cus, well, seriously people, the 2nd Amendment ain’t about your right to own a gun cus it makes you happy to have one, but the right of a state to have a militia full of trained gun users, simple as that) I won’t get into the history of the 2nd Amendment, but know this: 250 years ago, living in the middle of nowhere, a gun came in handy. That sort of thing now? Not so much in MOST places and situations.
So, young people all over the place, thank you for being our great shining hope. Don’t let the whiny adults scare you; this isn’t about us and OUR futures, but yours. You know what you need to do. Do it.
Good luck to you all.