Saturday, March 24, 2018

Enough is Not Enough

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
Emma Gonzalez stood on the stage before almost a million after having read the names of her 17 slain classmates, her head bowed for six minutes and 20 seconds, the time it took for Nikolas Cruz to murder them at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Over a million, according to the MarchforourLives crowd estimate, joined her. Her place in history is as secure as an AR15 in the cradling arms of a red state ammosexual, as is the name of her high school. Because Marjory Stoneman Douglas has now ossified into lasting posterity as much as Columbine High. But there's a difference.
     Nothing meaningful in the way of actual gun control happened after Columbine. In fact, all Columbine and other schools did was ban trench coats such as the ones worn by Harris and Klebold. That's where Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has them all beat. Columbine, Virginia Tech, even Sandy Hook Elementary. Because this was the mass school shooting that finally woke up a somnolent, gun-obsessed nation in which many, especially in the deep South, clutch and cradle their guns while terrified parents clutch and cradle their kids after a school shooting. Marjory Stoneman Douglas was the straw that broke the camel's back and we began saying, Enough is enough.
     But enough has proven to be not enough, Enough is what comes to my mind when I think of  the middling measures taken by the last administration led by a man who on the campaign trail ridiculed people in the deep South who clutched their Bibles and guns and they reviled him for telling the truth about them. The Obama administration had taken some half measures, just enough to mollify the gun control crowd while not inciting the 2nd amendment ammosexuals from open insurrection.
     And it can't be said Donald Trump didn't play a part in bringing about the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Valentine's Day. The winter before last, Trump had signed an executive order rescinding an Obama-era Executive Order that would have required the Social Security Administration to report to the FBI anyone who was judged to be mentally ill trying to purchase a firearm.
     Nikolas Cruz legally obtained the AR15 that he'd used to murder 17 of Emma Gonzalez's classmates. Because in Trump's America, there is no longer any such thing as needing to be sane enough to buy a semi-automatic rifle or even a full auto variety. Whatever Obama's half-hearted centrist measures, his enough wasn't enough. Don't forget, Sandy Hook happened on his watch, too, and dozens of other school shootings.
      If it wasn't for Emma Gonzalez and her fellow students, one of the most meaningful "gun control" measures would be a Pennsylvania superintendent's brilliant idea to arm students with a bucket of rocks in case of a school shooting incident. Yes, rather than install metal detectors and implementing real gun control measures, we're arming our children with stone age and Biblical technology with which to confront a gunman with an automatic rifle and extended clips.

The Children Take us to School
The #MarchforourLives protest is global. The one in Chicago alone has choked Cook County into utter paralysis. There are protests in Copenhagen Denmark and in virtually every civilized nation on earth, nations that don't suffer nearly the rate of gun violence that we do. Granted, most of these protesters are adults from every walk of life but the very nucleus is a small handful of children from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High who had just made the cover of the latest Time Magazine.
     If Emma Gonzalez wanted to achieve world domination, she has it. Meanwhile, establishment right winger cranks such as Tucker Carlson are sneering that articulate teens such as David Hogg is "an extremist." An obscure Maine political candidate dismissed Emma Gonzalez as a "skinhead lesbian." (Gonzalez is bisexual, as if that matters.) An aide to a Florida lawmaker claimed the Parkland students were paid crisis actors and was immediately fired.
     How soon they choose to forget, to strenuously avoid knowing that, were it not for a momentary whim of a crazed gunman, Emma Gonzalez or David Hogg would not now be in our nation's capital holding hundreds of thousands in thrall but would be in a grave in Florida along with nearly a dozen and a half of their classmates. These people who are jeering and sneering at these students look so small in comparison their names hardly deserve to be mentioned next to those of these kids.
     I've seen people on social media, grown adults who list themselves as liberals, progressives and centrists, who publicly gripe about these kids "hijacking" the national discourse about guns, that they shouldn't be telling us mature adults what to do, that we shouldn't be allowing them to write policy.
     They are doing no such thing. In the infancy of their future fame, David Hogg had a microphone stuck in his face and he said, "We're just kids. You're the adults. Act like it." And that, and Emma's emotional eloquence at the Florida State Capital in Tallahassee that proved to be a mere dress rehearsal for today, set this whole movement in motion.
     And the children are taking the adults to school because they know what's going on. Not bought and sold Republicans, not NRA mouthpieces and lobbyists, not right wing pundits. As with Vietnam and the younger generation derided as hippies and potheads who were right about Vietnam. so the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students have the right ideas and know what's going on. They've dodged the bullets that those right wing pundits in climate-controlled sound stages and NRA talking heads at CPAC never had to.
     And if we adults acted like adults and prized the lives of these children and gave them a safe environment in which to learn, we wouldn't have to take our moral cues from those who aren't even old enough to vote. But we do have to.
     Emma Gonzalez is not merely the face and name of the new gun control movement. She is our national conscience, reminding us all what we should do and should have done generations ago. She is the new Joan of Arc, listening not to voices in her head but her own conscience and inviting us to listen in on that conscience. We baby boomers have failed her generation because if our ideas, policies and implementations were worth a shit, we wouldn't need these kids to detour from their path to higher education.
     Enough is not enough. And we're barely beginning to realize that.

1 Comments:

At March 30, 2018 at 3:24 PM, Anonymous CC said...

As expected, these young people are getting a backlash from the right wing crowd in opinion pieces and comments sections online.

Looks like someone is scared and it's not the kids.

 

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