Wednesday, February 21, 2018

1908 Band-Aids* Won't Do

Look at those kids.  They’re taking a movement away from the timid and into the streets.  There has been a coup among the leaders of the anti-gun violence effort.  And it was nonviolent, but it was not silent.

Teenagers with signs like “Am I Next?” and “Slaughtered in School” take to their feet and sometimes in buses and try to drive the message home, often with far more insight and intelligence than their parents -- us.

This is how the anti-war movement started and it is how it succeeded. Loud and blunt. In your face.  On your TV set; your computer screen. It was the young who won the right for 18-year-olds to vote. It was the young who made the early progress in the early years of the civil rights campaign and it was the young who stopped the Vietnam war, not Walter Cronkite and Paul Harvey, though they helped.  Certainly not Richard Nixon.  It was the tidal wave of fresh faces and loud voices.

They asked for the impossible and it became possible.  Now, they’re asking again and in ways that more resemble those early successful demonstrations because beside from energy they have a secret weapon.  Well, not so secret.

It’s called universality.

A bullet doesn’t care whether you’re black or white, gay or straight, transgender, liberal, conservative, atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Shinto or Hindu.  A bullet doesn’t care if you’re tall or short, fat or thin, disabled or a cancer patient.  Whether you had a rough childhood or an easy one.

It doesn’t care whether you’re rich or poor.

Truly an object of equal opportunity.

So, Tuesday of this week, some of the garden slugs and nappers who make up our government began to stir on gun control.

Even trump signaled possible opposition to “bump stocks,” an easy on/easy off gizmo that makes a fast firearm fire even faster.  

It’s a Band-aid*.  And a Band-aid won’t do.

The various federal and state officials with the power to act are either living in fear of the gun lobby or on its largesse. The occasional billionaire will emerge from his own slumber to announce he’s writing no more checks to people who support unrestricted or minimally restrictive gun laws. Then for the most part he (or she) will take a nap.

Another Band-aid.

The New York Times ran a story that said, in effect, the financial institutions can limit gun sales by refusing to allow their payment systems to be used to buy firearms or ammunition.  Also a Band-aid.

You know what the answer is.  

The NRA wasn’t always a tool of the guns-and-ammo industry.  And it didn’t need the kind of help it does today to keep itself afloat.  At some point in the not too distant past, it was a group that advocated training, safety and following the rules.  It still can claim some cred in that department.  But it now is simply the trade representative to the US Council of Arms Makers and Merchants.

So we have all these Band-aids.  And they cannot change much even when piled willy-nilly atop one another as they have been.

It takes a well organized militia of middle and high school kids.  They have the energy and the will, the motive and opportunity.  Now all they need is for the rest of us to get out of the way.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2018

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