Yesterday, I participated with hundreds of students, teachers, parents, and other activists locally in the #MarchForOurLives event. It was exhausting and painful for me due to the neuropathy in my feet, but gracious young students kept walking with me, encouraging me and even lending me a hand the few times when I stumbled. Their enthusiasm for this cause exhilarated me!
We shared stories about school life, mine during the 70s and early 80s and theirs today. How different our worlds are. My biggest fear in school was getting knocked down in the hall by a bully, or teased in the girls locker room. They do drills to keep them safe from gunshots.
By all statistics, I would have been one of those with a gun had I been in today’s schools. I was a loner in school. Horribly bullied. Now suffering from multiple mental illnesses (probably had them back then too). There were many like me in school. So why didn’t we turn to gun violence? That is a question which has no answer for me. It never even crossed my mind. I hated the bullies in HS. Despised them with every fiber of my being, but I never wished them death. I just wanted to get through HS and go on with my life. It could have been easy for me. My father owns shotguns. Nothing like what kids can get their hands on today, but I was raised around guns. Still, I couldn’t kill. Not even a housefly.
It can’t all be the bullying. It can’t all be mental illness. It can’t all be the violent video games or movies. There are a million excuses thrown out there as to why some kids decide to take guns and shoot up their schools. I don’t know the answer. I do know that making AR-15s available to kids gives them an easy out. Something that powerful should never be in the hands of a civilian, or in the hands of a child. It is a weapon of war.
We have to do something about gun violence, period, in this country. I don’t want to take away anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights, but we regulate other privileges and rights in this country – driving automobiles, voting, hunting, fishing, usage of parks, etc. And yet we allow the most laxed laws for gun ownership. We need universal background checks. Strict ones. No felons, sexual/domestic abusers, or mentally ill persons should have access to guns. There should be mandatory training for usage and storage of guns. There should be a license to own and carry a gun. No license, you go to jail for a long time. There should be a buy-back policy for anyone who owns AR-15s and the like and then those guns should be publicly destroyed. If a person really wants to use a weapon of war, then let them join the military where they can use one. But for the love of our children and future children, we need to keep them off the streets and out of the hands of civilians.
Yesterday was a huge eye-opener for me. I watched future leaders leading. I saw so many young people fired up and encouraged about their futures. If we adults do not pave the way to keep them safe, they will. And I support all of them. From the Emmas and Davids to all kids everywhere who just want to be safe in school. This also means an end to bullying and making kids feel like “others”. Everyone deserves to fit in. We need to do more to encourage kids to accept others for who they are and not who we wish them to be. I pray this movement grows and we finally get some sensible gun laws in this country. I encourage all young people to get active and become our future leaders. To run for offices from local to national. They will get my votes and my encouragement.
If any of my readers participated yesterday, I would love to hear your stories. Or just your thoughts on gun control. All views are accepted, but please be polite.