I think something snapped on Valentine’s Day.
Another 17 people died in another mass shooting at another school while Congress remained steadfast in its determination to ignore the carnage and bow to its overlord, the National Rifle Association.
Yet again, campaign contributions mattered more than the lives of children and teachers.
But this time, something different happened. This time, the students stood up and said they have had enough.
When the current occupant of the White House tweeted the sad, tired thoughts-and-prayers refrain, students — survivors of the massacre — answered. They’re not interested in the thoughts and prayers of people who take blood money from a terrorist organization, they said. They want action, and they want it now.
Some of these kids can vote already, and within four years, all of them will be able to go to the polls ad throw these accomplices to terrorism out of office.
They were well represented at an anti-gun rally Sunday afternoon, a rally that was put together in just 72 hours
I heard one of them speak at the rally, and while the local paper claimed “dozens” were there, I saw more than 300 people in that audience. So, yeah, 30 dozen. And probably one-third of them were middle- and high-school students.
The 14-year-old student who spoke was eloquent. She talked about the failure of previous generations to make the NRA answer for its crimes, and about our failure to ban this bribe money from our electoral process.
She wants to go to school and not fear for her life, but to be able to concentrate on learning. She and her fellow students should not have to take time out of their day for “active shooter” drills, which offer no better solution to the problem than duck-and-cover drills offered to the problem of nuclear proliferation when I was in grammar school in the late 1950s.
While I think guns in private hands are a menace to society and I think the lack of gun deaths in countries that regulate guns is pretty good evidence that the tactic works, I’m willing to compromise. Assault weapons should be banned permanently, but yes, hunters should be able to hunt for food.
Handguns, however, are a different story. More people are killed with their own guns in their homes than are able to shoot a bad guy with a gun. If a gun is in the home, a fight is more likely to end in death than if there is no gun handy.
Handguns kill innocent people more than they protect anyone.
Do you want to know why police shoot unarmed suspects? It’s because they know the suspects might have guns and their lives are at risk.
You don’t think that’s a good enough excuse? Well, neither do I, but as long as we have virtually unfettered access to guns in this country, trigger-happy officers have that excuse.
The gun lobby, the NRA, will tell you a good guy with a gun is the solution to bad guys with guns. And they know it’s not true, but they also know it sells guns, and that’s their real goal: profit. That’s all they know how to think about. If you think they care about you, think again. They are the very definition of a terrorist organization because they exist only to promote death and mayhem.
Let’s say you’re in a theater at the premiere of a superhero movie. Someone pulls out a gun and starts shooting. Before the cops get there, you pull out your gun and start shooting in the direction of the person with the gun. The theater is dark. Are you going to hit the shooter or the person in the seat he’s crouching behind?
When the cops arrive looking for the bad guy with the gun, they don’t know you’re not their target and you may be dead before they figure it out, along with a couple of people next to you because, remember, the theater is still dark, and even if it’s not, innocent people are going to get caught in the crossfire.
Also remember that the school in Parkland, Fla., had not one, but two, armed officers. They can’t be everywhere.
So, there goes the good guy with the gun argument.
Then there’s the argument that we have to turn public spaces into armed fortresses, that we should surround schools and other public spaces with impenetrable walls and set up metal detectors at all the entrances.
Land of the free, my ass, right?
You know what we can do?
Again, the answer is simple, since every “civilized” nation has done it:
- Regulate gun ownership the way we regulate cars and drivers’ licenses, or make them illegal for everyone but cops and the military.
- Ban assault weapons, and make the ban permanent so Congress can’t let it lapse again at the behest of the NRA.
- Require a license that must be renewed periodically. Require people to pass a safety course and a test, and repeat the process for every gun they want to buy.
- Close down gun shows, or at least shut down gun sales at these shows.
- Ban online private sales.
- Register every gun with a title, the same way we do cars. Require a transfer of title at every private sale and require buyers in these transactions to prove they have a license to own a gun.
- Ban sales to anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence or aggravated assault.
- Since the Second Amendment specifically mentions a well regulated militia, we should require gun owners to join a militia and attend regular meetings.
- Require liability insurance for gun owners, the same way we require insurance on cars.
- If a gun is stolen and the theft is not reported immediately, make it a crime. If the stolen gun is not reported and it’s used in another crime, charge the gun owner as an accessory to that crime.
- Make neglect of a gun a crime. If a child gets a gun and kills someone, charge the irresponsible gun owner with murder.
- Repeal the damn Second Amendment and end the right to own guns. This carnage is not what the founders intended. They had no idea how guns would evolve and how their intentions would be perverted.
And don’t tell me it’s too soon to talk about this. Columbine happened almost 19 years ago. The time for change was then, if not before. Too many innocent lives have been sacrificed already, and in honor of those dead, we need to have this serious conversation NOW.
It’s time to fix this, not to make more excuses, shrug our shoulders once again and wait for the terrorists to strike another time — maybe in your child’s school, maybe at the theater you’re sitting in or the mall where you’re shopping.
We’re not safe, and if Congress can’t or won’t act, there’s an election coming in November. Make sure you participate, and let your members of Congress know the only way to get your vote is to support sensible gun laws.