—Emma Gonzalez ( Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivor)
Many years ago, when the Vietnam war was raging, and America’s teens faced the draft and entrance into a war that they didn’t believe in, they began to unite. They realized that they were the casualties that the politicians were allowing to fall for the benefit of their adult pride and their adult pockets. The youth watched as their brothers and friends came home injured, mentally broken or worse, in a box, and they said No More. They peacefully demonstrated. They staged sit-ins and anti-war rallies. They rang bells and called out names of the fallen. They were dragged away, they were arrested and in one case they were shot at and watched four of there own fall dead on a college campus, but when it was over, the Vietnam War was halted. They had made a difference and that will not be forgotten.
When on Valentines Day, 2018, a disgruntled youth used his legally owned semi-automatic weapon to kill seventeen teens and teachers, once again pride and money stood in the way of sense and reasonable actions. Once again politicians insisted that this was not the time for discussion but rather the time for thoughts and prayers. Once again we need a group of people willing to fight the good fight until something is done. Over eighty percent of Americans, republicans and democrats, believe that we need some form of protection from guns being sold willy-nilly to anyone, any age, in many states. Even those who sadly feel the need for a hand gun for protection don’t agree with semi-automatic weapons being easier to get than cold medicine.
Our constitutional amendments are not absolutes. The original ten were written over two centuries ago in a very different world than we live in today. The men who wrote them were smart enough to leave room for adaptation. The first amendment prevents congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion,” or “prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” In the 1940’s this was interpreted to put a wall between church and state. Freedom of speech rights were modified in the 20th and 21st century and referred to as “exceptions to the 1st Amendment.” I have to assume that if Thomas Jefferson experienced any foreshadowing of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) massacre, he would have amended the 2nd amendment before it was presented.
The NRA must protect the gun manufacturers, and they are doing so at your expense. They are spending millions of dollars annually to advertise, to “support” candidates who then are beholden to them, and to scare the public into feeling they need to be armed to survive. Thankfully most of the public see through these tactics, BUT they are still voting in politicians who are financially beholden to the NRA. At some point this has to stop!
I have never been a one issue voter, and I have never before voted for someone just because he/she represents my party. I have always been careful to study each candidate’s agenda and vote for the one who best represents my interests. My interests now are centered around protecting those who are in danger. I am a former teacher...my daughter, friends and relatives spend every day in classrooms around America. Today I texted Beth and casually asked, “what’s going on there.” She quickly responded, “Why, what have you heard.” How sad is that?
Yes, once again we need a vocal group of people, and once again I believe the answer lies with our youth. These brave children who faced a torrent of bullets on a day they should have been exchanging candy hearts have decided to pick up the mantle that their grandparents carried fifty years ago. They are speaking out. They are marching and gathering followers along the way. They are promising NO MORE, and I believe them. I am proud of these young men and women, and for the first time in a long time I feel a spark of hope.
Those who answer our children’s cries with the suggestion to arm their teachers need to step back and realize what they are suggesting. Teacher’s are not marksmen, they are protectors. They will hold your children’s hands, and when necessary, like MSD geography teacher Scott Beigel they will stand in between your children and a hail of bullets, but they should never be asked to take up arms as part of their daily duties. The stress of those moments could prove disastrous for any educator expected to accurately fire a weapon.
Our children need our help, however, or the horror they experienced and the bravery they exhibited will be for naught. They need us to vote with our heads and our hearts. If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend of a child who spends much of his/her day in a classroom, then please vote for the candidates who will not be influenced by their wallets. Please understand that arming teachers will heighten the dangers that they face every day. Please know that you are already sliding on the “slippery slope” that you fear will take away your rights. This slope, however, has taken away your rights to feel that your children are safe and replaced it with the ability of mentally suspicious people to collect arsenals in the name of constitutional rights. Please do more than just agree that we need gun control...please join these teens, Call B.S. and vote in responsible candidates and make this Parkland shooting represent the last school shooting in America.
Needing a little escapism reading, I turned to Brad Meltzer’s newest book, The Escape Artist, and I found myself unable to put it down. Meltzer has a way with characterization, and both of his protagonists seemed to jump off of the pages as I read late into the night. Nora Brown is an Artist-in-Residence with the military, and Jim "Zig" Zigarowski, an artist in his own right, rebuilds the dead so their families can have closure. The story Meltzer builds around these two makes it a remarkable adventure for his readers.
As always, a complete review of this book follows my blog.