Join with the chil­dren to do some­thing now

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - BY FRANK REYNOLDS

“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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.