It has come to this: The students must lead the adults on gun control in America.
Tragically, nothing else has worked to offset the controlling influence of National Rifle Association and associated gun lobbyists on GOP Congressional leaders — who repeatedly offer only “thoughts and prayers” to grieving families and, by extension, to all caring Americans.
So let us listen, remember and act on the cries of the frightened but brave surviving students at Parkland, Florida Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Before chanting “no more guns” at last night’s vigil, these are some of their moving entreaties:
A student had a message for politicians Thursday, the day after he survived a mass shooting that killed 17 people and injured 15 others at his high school in South Florida.
“Please, take action. Ideas are great. Ideas are wonderful and they help you get reelected and everything,” said David Hogg on CNN. “But what’s more important is actual action … that results in saving thousands of children’s lives. Please, take action.”
Hogg said he decided to start recording to make sure he would have a story to tell in case he died, “a story that would echo on and show people that there’s a serious issue in this country that people need to face, take a long, hard long at, and realize [that] blood is being spilled on the floors of American classrooms”. Asked by CNN on Thursday about what kind of action Trump and lawmakers need to take, Hogg said that “any action” is better than political finger-pointing. “We’re children,” he said. “You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role.”
“This shouldn’t be happening anymore and … it doesn’t deserve to happen to anyone,” a female student said nervously. “No amount of money should make it more easily accessible to get guns.”
Against all odds, can these students — and arguably many millions of other students, their families caring Americans — hope that at long last this is the proverbial tipping point on so needed, but so neglected, a change in this country.
The temptation to despair is strong. It must be resisted. Instead, the Parkland student anguish and ardor must fuel their “No More Guns” anthem for a sustained national movement — at a minimum until the November Congressional elections. Then, every candidate must be confronted with a simple question:
“What are you prepared to do — vote for, and help implement –on gun control and school safety in our country?”
Today NEWDAY presented us with the formula for such confrontation — eight concrete steps, proposed elements for new gun control legislation: “Editorial: We can stop the massacres”
“We outlaw the purchase and possession of weapons meant only for lightning-fast murders and ban huge caches of ammunition and magazines intended for no other purpose than to attack those who are defenseless.”
“We monitor who buys guns and make it harder for those plotting violence to do so.”
“We increase security at schools and other vulnerable facilities …[and] improve mental health care.”
“We vote out elected officials who won’t fight for these safeguards.”
And, as a note of hope and a challenge:
“This country did begin to change after Columbine … It just ever finished changing our laws and our culture and our willingness to accept these killings.
“It’s time to finish.’
In the name of all that is good and holy, who could be against that?”