Ed.: 032618 – Words: 1902 – Audio: N/A

The conspiracy theory buffs are having a field day assigning the entire “March For Our Lives” student movement to some adult left wing liberal effort to take away the Second Amendment.  The pretext is that high school kids would never get this far on their own; no teenagers could possibly think this way unless there was adult influence, and that no way could they organize such a national effort.  The whole presumption is just another in a long list of “my-poor-sorry-lot-in-life-misses-white-America” tirades about why the nation has been unfair to them.

I will be the first to recognize that BOTH political parties are in pretty bad shape.  The changing political demographic, as well as Trump’s version of “republicanism”, has pretty much turned the traditional political landscape upside down… at least for the moment.  So I can in no way even imagine in my wildest of Hollywood fantasies that the democratic party (or some secret liberal deep state) just had enough people sitting around.. fully organized and at the ready, to toss into action the moment the Parkland shooter fired his last round, to begin a secret agenda of getting all the students to pull together to create a national gun control movement simply to perturb right wing gun owners.  Duh.  Superman really coming from Krypton makes more sense to me.

Here’s the thing… if you stop to ponder the how’s and why’s that led to this movement the most important factor to consider first is remembering your own high school days and what tended to motivate you at the time.  No, I don’t mean getting to first base.. or even a home run… with one of the cheerleaders… or the hunk quarterback (although sometimes that effort was important).  Since I am a card carrying member of the Boomer generation we pretty much wrote the book on protesting… anything.  But the anti-war hippie counter-culture movement was mostly from the college crowd.. not high schoolers.  Yet our high school did have some hot-topic issues… the greatest being replacing the archaic (traditional) dress code.  Not big deal by today’s standards at all, but it was in our own little world of high school education.

Now, therein is my point here.  High school years are entirely a kind of alt-world for teenagers; a quasi-society, isolated from the outside “real” world, formed entirely on one single thing in common… everyone was nearly the same age and the goal was to graduate.  In between all that everyone has common problems, parental pressures, study pressures, peer pressures… and the big one, social pressures.  Meaning that high school is the teenager’s first introduction to some level of society; that there is something of greater value than self and family in the day’s routine.  You have to learn to get along or get left behind.  That can be the big stress of all.  It’s a SAFE environment; rather akin to being in a Petri dish of isolation from a world you can see all around you but have grow to experience.

In the case of the Parkland students… SAFE vanished from their little society as a result of gun violence.  Until that happened those kids likely felt like most adults… all those other shootings were elsewhere.  We are safe.  We have an armed guard.  The school shootings also introduced kids to death.  Likely at that age only a few experienced a relative passing, and that was probably old Aunt Edna.  Shooting survivors have seen things that would send even the most experienced combat veteran into some level of PTSD.  It IS shock & awe… blood, guts, heads blown apart.

And who was supposed to keep their school safe?  Adults.  While those adults in the classrooms were relative heroes of the day in saving students, the security guard apparently failed them.. after all, he had a gun.  Then some police arrived and apparently there is some question as to their delay in entering the building.  The school district obviously failed them.  Then by extension… adult lawmakers, politicians, failed them that day.  So, then you have to ask yourself, what would you have done.. what would you and your friends in your school have done back in the day?

I dare say the maturity level is far different now than when you were in high school and a lot of that is because of the demographic shift in the nuclear family.  In my day mom was home tending to traditional home things, dad was the bread winner.. and we all ate meals at the same time, and at the same table (yeah.. Leave It To Beaver, although we didn’t dress up).  My own kids were in their high school years in the late 90’s and it was still difficult trying to keep to some family unit like I had while growing up.  In fact, impossible.  My kids were doing things independently I never had done in high school.  Today’s high schoolers can be from broken homes, dual parent wage earners, latch-key kids; everyone coming and going and little time for family quality time.  Today’s high school kids support each other, and maturity develops.

So when the Parkside students came to the realization that life for them is not.. and was never the SAFE they thought it was.. it shattered their perceptions, not to mention their lives, to say the least.  Another aspect with the Parkside students… by their own admission their neighborhood represented in that school was a fairly well-to-do community.  They are not the traditional stereotype of an urban public school like deep in New York City, L.A., or Chicago.  So when these events unfolded to them… all these influences forced them to act.. and take charge of what they thought.. what they THINK… is some control of their lives while they are in school.

 

You might be thinking.. how could they possibly organize all this?

Kind of a no-brainer actually.  Likely at that point they had some adult help, certainly from parents, to set up the D.C. march.  Getting permits, etc. certainly required adults.  And their parents were in the crowd.  But it was the students themselves that made those speeches; none of those, from my perception, reflected any adult intervention.  If my kids were involved in something like that I would most certainly provide some guidance, if for nothing else but their own safety.  In fact, given this climate of divisiveness in the nation I might have been hard pressed to allow any of my kids to stand at the podium like a target (and two of my three kids won speech competitions back in the day).

Now.. yes… the speeches themselves reflected a teenage perception with the expected idealism and a fair share of naivety given their inexperience in life in general… but their messages were nonetheless sincere, profound, and the national movement spawning from all this is not going to fade away any time soon.   Also… there were some student faces we will likely see in the future in front of the cameras as they enter public careers.

Many of these students are voting age and most certainly most of them will be voting age come the mid terms, and most certainly by 2020.  Congressional GOP’s should worry, if for nothing else but for the momentum also affecting adult voters.  In the least the mid terms will bring forth an incumbent’s campaign donors, most especially the NRA… which is quickly becoming the politician’s “kiss of death” for re-election in many areas of the country.

 

Why the NRA Is Getting Nervous

(This article is from CNN/Fareed Zarkaria)

The marches across the United States this weekend calling for tougher gun controls underscore how badly the National Rifle Association has miscalculated. The kids-led protest is riding a wave of anger that gained strength with #MeToo and the Women’s March, writes Francis Wilkinson for Bloomberg View. The “payback is unlikely to be pleasant.”

“The NRA seized its advantage under GOP legislatures and a GOP Congress to promote a no-compromise agenda of guns everywhere for anyone. It went for all the marbles — guns in bars, churches, schools, colleges, parking lots, playgrounds — hoping to make them so pervasive that the cultural pendulum could never swing back,” Wilkinson writes. “Instead of seeking to accommodate a changing world, it vastly overreached.”

“Anxiety, it turns out, is not the exclusive purview of old white men uneasy about the empowerment of women and the racial composition of the nation. People afraid of being shot, or losing their children, willy-nilly because any fool can get a gun are also anxious.”

 

My Summary –

The right to keep and bear arms, as with any of our cherished Bill of Rights, comes with the responsibility in understanding that humans are diverse and there will be no question that some humans will try and take advantage of a particular freedom in order to abuse it for power, profit, or as a consequence of life’s various maladies.

Take freedom of speech for example… you use that freedom in such a way as to convey some public misrepresentation or unfounded accusation toward another, thus infringing on their freedoms, then you can be taken to task in a court of law.

The same for any other Constitutional right.. including the right to keep and bear arms.  Just because the right exists in the Constitution does not mean we absolve ourselves of the social responsibility that the right does not infringe on others’ rights… which that infringement usually means death.. the ultimate violation of rights.  Once dead, that dead person has absolutely no recourse in the courts for satisfaction from their assailant.  Society assumes the role to punish the person responsible; civil law MIGHT be available for survivors to recover from the assailant.  Where is the fair and equal treatment there for the person murdered?  The right to keep and bear arms itself killed this person… and Americans pay the ultimate price each year because of this freedom.  In the least, we owe it to ourselves as lovers of the First, Second, Third… ALL the Bill of Rights.. to make sure ALL the Bill of Rights are respected without curtailing another person’s equality under the law.

  • “People kill people, guns don’t kill people.” – You can also say, “A bullet is not a guided missile. Once the bullet leaves the muzzle, where it goes is up to God.”  We should guard our Second Amendment from becoming abused by those who choose or feel compelled to abuse it.  The debate is not who pulls the trigger but rather that there is a trigger to pull available to irresponsible people.  It is impossible to prevent the unlimited reasons for pulling a trigger…but it is possible to control who has access to a trigger with the intent to abuse the right. 

I am a gun owner.  I have been a semi-auto gun owner (with large capacity magazines).  I believe guns have a place in self-defense.  I am not a hunter but I believe in the sport.  I firmly believe that to keep the Second Amendment alive we need to regulate where needed and as set forth by Congress. But make no mistake… I love the Constitution more than I love the Second Amendment.

Yet we have a large number of Americans who worship owning their guns for whatever convenient reason, more than they care about the Second Amendment itself as one of the Bill of Rights.

That’s the moral imperative in all this.