What Students Are Teaching Us About Gun Rights

During the March For Our Lives events held across the U.S. and even internationally, I found myself tearing up as I listened to the horror students endure all across our country.

It’s not just that these students are killed or victimized by guns in schools, but their friends and family members are also killed walking to/from school, they are victimized in their churches and mosques, they are victimized in shopping malls, victimized driving cars, at concerts, movie theaters, etc.

They rightly claim that politicians and adults have failed to take action in a meaningful way to mitigate these problems. Students reject the idea that more guns are the answer. I agree with them.

Speakers from Newtown, Connecticut, reminded me of the horrible slaughter of 20 first graders and 6 adults on Friday, December 8, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary by a deranged killer with an AR-15 assault weapon, the tool of choice for mass shooting incidents. The AR-15 has one intended use: killing people.

I was in Eugene, Oregon, that day on a consulting project. As I watched in horror at the news of the day, I thought maybe I should buy an AR-15. I thought about how easy it would likely be: I could pass a background check with flying colors. Of course, I had no prior gun ownership experience or training. But, I imagined that that would not matter.

I imagined that horrific day at Sandy Hook Elementary would be the turning point in our national gun problem. Like all the mass killing events before and after, none of them were the turning point. Until the mass shooting event in Parkland, Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Lockdowns and lockdown drills have become the norm in our schools. Our children will forever be known as “the lockdown generation.” The kids from Sandy Hook Elementary were on lockdown for 5 hours. Can you imagine what that was like?

I thought Sandy Hook Elementary would be the turning point in our national conversation. How could the deaths of 20 innocent first graders not result in dramatic change? The folks from Sandy Hook reminded us that not much has changed in the U.S. in terms of the regulation of assault-style weapons, bump stocks, high-capacity gun magazines, etc.

To politicians aligned with the NRA, thoughts and prayers haven’t done the trick. The NRA domination of some politicians is coming to an end in 2018, and, if not then, in 2020.

Change is being led by the youth of America. I like what I see. Change will prevail. Enough is enough.

Will the change be perfect? No. But, perfection need not be a condition.

Thought for the week:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead

What do you think? I welcome your comments! Dave Gardner

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