Whether you have been paying attention to the “March for Our Lives” movement or not, you have been affected, whether you recognize it or not.
The large and extremely well-organized protests on Saturday demonstrate the influence that young Americans have on the culture of this country. The message and call for action at its core reflects a collective voice determined to challenge those who claim power and influence over our government, thus our citizens.
Out of control gun violence in America is something that needs to be acknowledged and addressed by all of us…now…not later after hundreds more innocent people are gunned down and murdered by individuals who have no business owning or carrying a gun.
The solutions are complicated, if not elusive. If a group of high school students can organize and articulate specific demands in order to stop the violence, they are obligated to pursue change.
Although the protest is anchored by the events at a high school in Florida, the movement is inclusive of all those affected by the horrific and tragic killings happening all over this country. Collectively, they can flex their muscles to further their message with far more strength than any one individual.
Interestingly, the entire subject of gun violence as well as possible solutions including specific gun controls is a part of a debate. A debate…we can not forget this. As American’s we have the right to be passionate and vocal regarding our beliefs, principles and points of view. The whole definition of debate starts with two opposing points of view, followed by thoughtful conversation and hopefully an agreement based on compromise and respect.
As it stands now, when it comes to many in politics there is no thoughtful debate. Those who have the ability to make changes are fighting tooth and nail to oppose anyone who challenges their agendas, regardless of how sound the demands and expectations may be.
It is discouraging to me to listen to many of the politicians and special interests try to say that their positions are based soley on what they perceive as being in the best interest of their constituents and for the associations, their membership. For this, I call “foul”. If you listen to some law makers and special interest groups including the NRA, you can plainly see that there is a common theme. If you listen to the opposition speak, they are expressing some ridiculous examples on how possible solutions, in this case gun control are going to jeopardize the second amendment rights of responsible gun owners in this country.
Rick Santorum was on the Sunday shows saying that it is wrong for the protest group to expect government to do something, He said that the students need to look at themselves for a solution, not try to force someone else to do it for them. He said they would be better served by learning CPR. His comments are ridiculous. Who else are they going to seek out to force change? Is he saying that the government and it’s representatives are not responsible for changing the laws in this country. The NRA is also pushing arguments that are weak and diliberatly in opposition of anyone who questions their position on gun related issues. For the NRA to push the narrative that these groups are trying to take the guns away from citizens is dangerous and ludicrous. By getting some of their members to believe this message, they are undercutting their own mission. I hear people say that the kids are trying to say that they will no longer have the right to defend themselves. This mis-information is based on the messages propagated by media connected to the NRA. As far as legislators, it is immoral to accept money from the special interests and demonstrate their willingness to be owned and influenced by the agendas of these groups. If they take the money, they are obligated to support their contributors causes…This applies to the influence of all special interest groups such as oil companies, agriculture lobby and many other industries, not just the gun manufactures.
Nobody can or will destroy the second amendment. This doesn’t mean that reasonable regulation isn’t important and appropriate. Why would anyone say differently? Regulations that work to make the country safer are at debate, not the second ammendment.
You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to understand how the second amendment works. The framers of the constitution included the right to bear arms as a provision to allow Americans to take up weapons, organize and defend our democratic form of government from being overcome by any attempt by an authoritarian group to take over control of our country and our people. More recently, the Supreme court added to the ammendment, the right for citizens to possess firearms to protect themselves.
By the way, the NRA was not created to be a special political interest that represents the gun industry. The association was founded in 1872 to provide training for military and American gun owners to improve their accuracy and marksmanship. Back then rifles had smooth barrels and were incredibly inaccurate. Even today, Shooters, when hunting or range firing, would or do have to fire off several shots to hit their target. Today, safety and marksmanship are still the major components that benefit the association’s membership. Most of the best ranges, safety and marksmanship facilities in the country are supported by the NRA. Their lobby is really not related to those functions.
Today and for the last several years gun manufacturers fund the NRA and their political efforts, not the members. The gun manufactures count on the association to help sell firearms. This is not to say that some gun marketing isn’t beneficial to gun owners. In depth product demonstrations and reviews are good for the consumer.
For me the rub is that the NRA didn’t become overwhelmingly political until a few decades ago. The first candidate that they endorsed was Ronald Reagan.
It is very relevent and important to consider that gun regulations are prescribed by state and local governments based on their individual principles, not the federal government. There are examples of these laws all over the country. Where I live it is illegal to discharge a gun within the city limits (very small town). Just outside the city is some of the best hunting in the country.
The fact is that three percent of the country owns half of the nations guns. Basically, the NRA, even with five million members represents a small part of our population. If the The political debate and the opposing arguments for gun regulation is good for America…What is not good, is forcing such opposition through funding and support of American politicians.
There in lies the argument for blaming the government for not enacting laws to protect the American people no matter what the issues are. The truth is that the NRA as well as groups such as shale energy special interests spend a fortune on forcing individual politicians to support their industry through legislation. There efforts have nothing to do with what is in the best interest of the participating representative’s constituency, just their industry’s profits.
For the young American’s, opposition to the NRA’s message and their seduction of politicians serves them well in forcing their message.
At the end of the day, this new movement has big muscles to flex. If not, why would the politicians and groups such as the NRA care? Why would those that support the NRA and some politicians care about the student movement? Why don’t these groups organize eight hundred thousand people to get their opposing message across?
I can tell you why. As I have pointed out in many posts, those of us who are older will soon have to give way to the younger citizens who will dictate the culture and social environment of this great country. Voter turnout has been the downfall of many good efforts to force change. This movement promotes and strives to increase voter participation by getting our young to vote. Remember, many of these kids are around seventeen or eighteen years old which is the demographic of the lowest voter turn out.
As with any group protesting for change, the most important, effective component is their voices. If I was on the other side of the issue, I would worry about the millions of people who will soon be able to vote as well as their parents who will support their causes at the voting booth. No amount of money for influence will change the overwhelming effectiveness of millions coming together to insist on change.
Remember the woman’s march and the conversations and actions that continue today. Remember the protests of the sixties, when young americans were drafted into the military without a choice. In this movement’s case and because the French were defeated, President Johnson elevated the conflict in Vietnam just to demonstrate America’s military power while causing hundreds of thousands of American servicemen’s lives. This war was not won by anyone…Remember the Black American protests led by Martin Luther King and civil lberty groups? We still today have a very serious need to force action to close the gap of inequality and oppression. These examples have or will change the course of this great country’s history.
It is important to respect all sides of any argument made by any citizen of this country. We have a responsiblity to listen to everyone and take action when we can.
Just my two cents worth.