Tomorrow (Saturday, March 24) is the day for the March For Our Lives rallies organized all around the country, with the main one being in Washington, DC. This was initiated by the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school students in Parkland, Florida where the February 14 mass killings took place, in which a 19-year old former student used a semi-automatic assault weapon to gun down 17 students. These students have managed to galvanize opposition to the easy availability of guns in a way that adults have not been able to. The Guardian newspaper has handed over oversight of the coverage of the event to the student journalists and editorial staff of the Eagle Eye, the student newspaper.
The student editors have published an editorial outlining the changes they wish to see. I’ll just give the headlines, omitting the justifications and elaborations they provide for each one.
- Ban semi-automatic weapons that fire high-velocity rounds
- Ban accessories that simulate automatic weapons
- Establish a database of gun sales and universal background checks
- Change privacy laws to allow mental healthcare providers to communicate with law enforcement
- Close gun show and secondhand sales loopholes
- Allow the CDC to make recommendations for gun reform
- Raise the firearm purchase age to 21
- Dedicate more funds to mental health research and professionals
- Increase funding for school security
When reading this, what struck me was how sensible and reasonable these suggestions were. When we were that age, my generation would have called for the burning down of all gun-making factories and the surrender of all such assault weapons that would then be piled high and made into a bonfire, like the draft card bonfires. Hell, even the Australian government did the surrender part after assault weapons were banned following a mass killing of 39 people in Tasmania by a lone gunman in 1996.
But despite the fact that these recommendations are so moderate, you can expect the NRA and the politicians it has purchased to try to paint these students as wild-eyed radicals who are too young to understand the realities of the world.
The students have also put out various other measures to promote this cause, such as this “We See You” video to warn politicians who oppose these measures that they are not going to forget this. This is pretty sophisticated stuff.
We see these lawmakers representing the NRA, and not their constituents. We see our “leaders” making excuses and refusing to act. On Saturday, they’ll see US. pic.twitter.com/7OGttnRSsz
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) March 21, 2018