Join with the children to do something now
“There is something happening here, and you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?” In 1965, nearly unknown Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) from Hibbing, Minnesota, wrote these lyrics in Ballad of A Thin Man, and it presaged the coming civil rights, anti-Vietnam War, and the so-called 60's movements.
Many still do not understand or accept those movements, but they were real and the world was changed. Anyone with an open mind can see that, after this past weekend, something is happening again, and we would be wise to acknowledge it, and finally do something to protect our children from avoidable harm.
This writer is a Vietnam War veteran, an unabashed and dedicated patriot to our great country, a southerner who grew up hunting and target shooting, who presently owns more than 40 firearms, but not a single assault weapon. This writer does not intend to give up his firearms,
and is a supporter of the Second Amendment to the Constitution as it is presently written.
This writer remembers that in the Civil Rights Movement in the sixties, and in the anti-Vietnam War movement in the seventies, the young people in our country played a major part of those movements. The young people in the “March for Our Lives” are more motivated than were the students forty to fifty years ago, because they feel personally threatened and they realize that the adults are not going to do anything about the guns used to kill them unless we are forced to do so. This is a personal issue to them, and they will not forget . . . and they are going to vote their concerns as soon as they can. These are not dope-smoking draft dodgers looking to party as many of the 60's and 70's demonstrators were described; these students look at this as a life and death matter.
We all need to ask, what is the value of our children? How does a strict interpretation of the language of the Second Amendment, crafted in the time of muzzleloader firearms, outweigh society’s interest in protecting our own children from modern assault weapons in the hands of unbalanced people? How many children have to be sacrificed on the altar of “Don’t touch my guns”? Where is the tipping point?
For we adults, it wasn’t 21 persons at Sandy Hook, or 13 persons at Columbine, or the hundreds more. But the specter of 17 more dead citizens at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida awoke our children to the fact that nothing will be done unless they make it happen.
Our country loses about 27 people every day to gun violence. No other civilized country has a rate as high as one-fifth that rate. Americans are not more violent than other citizens in other countries, but it is child’s play for a disturbed person in the U.S.A. to get their hands on a weapon built to kill humans in war. This is a U.S.A. problem, not a world problem.
Do we really think that the language in the Second Amendment, stating that it is in our country’s interest to have a “well-regulated militia,” also allows persons who are not “well-regulated” to have an assault weapon? Do we really think that a teacher with a sidearm can or will be able to stand up to an disturbed individual with an assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition?
Here we are, citizens: This movement of our teenagers and pre-teenagers is not going to go away, and it shouldn’t. They will vote soon, and like all of us, they will vote on the issue that affects them directly, and their issue is their safety. The time has come that those legislators who will not commit to responsible firearms legislation will be voted out.
I challenge other responsible gun owners such as myself, and the realistic NRA members: join together with our children to support effective and constitutional federal and state legislation which will actually protect our children from the fear and risk of being murdered in their classrooms; Or, face the fact that when this children’s movement gathers strength and power and voting rights, and it will, then even more restrictive firearms legislation will be passed if nothing is done now.
To those of you who actually believe that you need to have your guns to protect yourself from a repressive government, your failure at this time to support meaningful laws limiting access to assault weapons and extending background investigations will result in much greater restrictions when our children continue to die in avoidable attacks.
Step up, leave the radical firearms rights extremists to their fear-mongering, and join with the children to do something now. Do this, before the repeated horror of the murders of our innocent citizens results in louder calls for even stronger restrictions. This is your chance. Take it now, Mr. Jones.