Today I attended the March for Our Lives in the park just a few blocks from my house. Just a few hundred people listening to high school students. As each of them took the mike and told their story and voiced their demands I watched the audience around me. I saw a variety of reactions. Some shouting out support, most applauding appropriately to show support and appreciation for these children, some fighting tears and shaking their heads when the speaker told of the fear these kids now have everyday going to school. It seemed that all of the people there want the same thing — fewer guns and stricter gun laws — and they say they will stand and fight until that happens. I hope they can. I hope they will. There amid the cheers and applause it feels as if change can come. It feels as if these young people will stand strong where the rest of us have lost interest and faded away.
The opposition was of course absent. When there were shouts of “we’re coming after you NRA” there were no shouts of “no”. The people who will hold on to their guns no matter what do not attend these events. They are at the NRA conventions. Or they are just at home on the couch comfortable in the knowledge that the gun lobby has their back and the lawmakers are bought and paid for and won’t take any action for a change in gun laws. If sensible gun laws are to happen these children will have to be as motivated and passionate this time next year and probably the year after that as they are now.
It also seems to me that the adults who care about these kids have to stand up, speak out and CHANGE. We need to stop tippy toeing around trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings or have to openly disagree. I know that if I am adamant about insisting that no civilian has a need or a right to weapons of war some people won’t like that. Some will try to shout me down or argue the point from their perspective. Some won’t want to be a friend to me. I have to be okay with that. Standing in the rain listening to speeches for a couple of hours means nothing if I sit silently while another states that the second amendment guarantees them any weapon they want; guarantees them their war “toys” regardless of the fact that people use guns to kill 96 Americans every day. If I am serious about gun law reform then I have to speak up and call bullshit. Respectfully, but really bullshit has to be recognized as such.
Before today I was okay with a live and let live attitude. You have your reality and I have mine and just leave it at that. Well, that is just stupid. How about you see things one way and I see them another and we talk together about why that is and where our ideas come from and what may be erroneous in our point of view and what each of us might see differently if we learn more, and just maybe find a compromise or even a whole new idea.
There are however some things that cannot be open to compromise. Every child must be safe in her school. Every parent must drop their child off at school in the morning confident in the knowledge that they will pick him up safely at the end of the day. All teachers must be free to teach and not distracted with defense against gun violence. For this to be accomplished some will have to sacrifice their unlimited privilege to have any and all guns they want. If you are one of those people who refuse to give up a gun so that a child can live; get over yourself you big baby! #neveragain.