The March for Our Lives
The March for Our Lives passed today, without any violence. Good on that, and thanks to law enforcement, governmental bodies, and event organizers. (And, of course, thanks to those who didn’t like today’s message but chose not to do anything more than exercise their First Amendment rights.)
People near and dear to me went to Washington for today’s main event. I’m so proud of them for showing up! Others showed up in their own communities, including thousands—me among them—right here in Tucson.* Showing up matters, lots, and it matters especially when young people lead the cause, instead of those of us who have more yesterdays and fewer tomorrows. We’re killing our future, truly, and young people have had enough!
I had two epiphanies today about the gun debate. One small. One big.
First the small one. Some on the Right question whether the students driving the Gun Control Special know enough to possibly be expressing their own beliefs. Here’s Paul Waldman’s piece, Why the Parkland students have made pro-gun conservatives so mad, from the February 21 Washington Post. (Mr. Waldman shares some words from questioning Right Wing thought leaders.)
To be clear, funders and organizations supporting gun control have assisted greatly in the past few weeks. Good! American politics in these times depends on advocacy, supported by money, and I don’t hear any complainers telling the Kochs they should stand down. That said, I also don’t hear anyone questioning whether Millennials who oppose gun control are tools of others.
So, for some on the Right, students who lived through a school shooting lack a sufficient basis to advocate for making guns less accessible. Why, then, has no one on the Right challenged 18-year-old Joey Chester, who said:
I have a basic right that’s not granted by society – it’s granted by God – to self-defense. I don’t see how society or people in society can make the argument that they have a right to take away a right from me because one person went and did something bad.
Joey, Joey! One person? Something bad? In America roughly 13,000 people die every year from a bullet fired by a gun in someone else’s hand.** Boy howdy, is “one person went and did something bad” understatement, or what?
Which brings me to the big epiphany: I wonder when those who advocate for Second Amendment rights will acknowledge our problem and get serious about solutions? The Second Amendment, as its supporters interpret it and as the NRA advocates for it makes guns more available, and too many end up being used to commit crimes.
For sure, every time we have a mass shooting—never mind the fact that almost every gun homicide involves one or two victims, these events rarely happen in schools, and almost none of them compete for our attention—we get the litany: (1) Thoughts and prayers, (2) Not the right time for a discussion, (3) Mental health, and (4) Cars kill people too. Then? After? Nothing! Do we get plans from Rs in Congress for mental health solutions? No. Money for a better safety net? No. Anything? Yes. Armed teachers. A solution so stupid on so many levels, but it will sell more guns.
No one seriously pushes for the repeal of the Second Amendment, no one’s coming for the guns, and the whole issue only comes up for most Americans when something especially outrageous occurs. But, then, the only thing gun proponents have on offer is My Rights. No solutions, and no compassion other than thoughts and prayers, while more than 30 people die every day because some had a gun, a bullet, and a willingness to use them.
Mr. Chester—Joey—wants to represent District 63 in the Montana House of Representatives. Montana certainly leans R and conservative, but he’s running in Bozeman to replace Zach Brown. As soon as I can make Rep. Brown’s website work I’ll be sending him a campaign contribution. Anyone who focuses so heavily (and vapidly) on his own rights deserves my opposition.
In conclusion, the March for Our Lives primes all of us for action. So, act! Communicate. Donate. Vote. Guns represent a self-inflicted wound on our nation.
*I left before the marching began. Canine concerns.
**Two things. Self-defense? Who needs an AR-15 for self-defense? And another 15,000 Americans kill themselves every year with guns, and many would likely be alive today if a gun had not been available, for they’re very efficient killing machines.