Special Opinion to the Cape Charles Mirror by Chas Cornweller
I watched in awe this past weekend of young children (I am in my sixties, so anyone under forty is considered young to me – anyone under twenty is still a child in my eyes) taking to the streets and soapboxes of this nation to inform this nation, that they are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore. In fact, not only are they mad as hell, but they are frightened, confused, and somewhat disappointed in the very people they expected to protect them and keep them safe during their childhood, adults.
I watched in awe as many spoke eloquently with dignity and purpose. Some used theater, expression mixed with pathos, and with strength to get their points across. Some were as young as eleven years of age! In Washington D.C. there were upwards to half a million souls, reaching out to the rest of the nation for answers and for help in reaching those answers. It was peaceful and it was strong. And more importantly, it shows no signs of waning anytime soon.
I am old enough to remember the protests of the sixties. The main issue then, was, what was the sense of justice in, of sending a young man half-way around the world to kill and subjugate a people, we had no issues with. Tag lines; such as Chinese involvement, Soviet involvement and Domino Theory, came from the mouths of politicians and government officials and permeated the media. These, along with the phrases, Hearts and Minds, appeasement, draw-down, guerrilla warfare, Vietnamization, ceasefire, Paris Peace Accords, were the political propaganda of the day. Conversely, young people protested and carried signs that read, Hell No, We Won’t Go, Ban the Bomb, End the War, Veterans for Peace and Power to the People. There was a sense that societal issues were losing to a war driven by issues that no one seemed to be able to do anything about. So, the youth rallied and took to the streets. If you watch the timeline, you will see that the movement started fairly quietly and relatively peacefully. In 1965 thru 1967, most marches were smaller and quieter, spurred on by passionate and intelligent speeches. But by the time of the Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago, the mood began to change. With out of control police and rampant brutality (both televised and chastised on the international front) the youth of America began taking a hard look at their parent’s generation (and the authority then in place) and began to outwardly and physically rebel. In many places, the marches turned violent and ugly. The war dragged on for a number of years, only to be lost in the end. And for America to be told, eventually, the government knew that it was fighting an unjust and losing (War) only to have dragged it out due to politics, fear of losing face in the international community and a fear of a backlash from the real enemy, the Communists states of China and Russia. It did not come in the expected way. We (American Government) opened the door on Cambodia and Laos. We infiltrated two neutral countries only to pave the way for lesser and more violent actors to step in and fill that void, once we pulled out. It’s what we do…we are good at it. Cuba, Chile, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya…the list is long. And growing…
So, now, I watch the youth of America, again…stand up for a right. A right to live in peace and the right to live in freedom from fear. To live in a world where their schools are safe. Where the streets are safe. A world where they know the neighborhood police on their beat. A neighborhood where they know the neighbors and where it is safe to ride a bike or walk to the corner store, without having to look over their shoulder at every vehicle coming up on them. Places where there are no guns and if there are, one has chosen to be or not be there. I am speaking of hunting clubs, not diners. A world where there is no squeamishness over a weapon, because there is no need to be afraid. A world where people are aware of others and what they must feel, knowing that folks respect one another. Yes, there will always be strangers out there. There will be a share of crazies as well. THAT, has been going on a long time now…forever. But, we are a modern society with a lot of ills. As a modern society, it is now time to start addressing those ills. One of those ills is a part of society that puts ownership of a weapon over the cost of children’s (and adults’) safety and well-being. A segment of our society feels that the right to own a weapon (any weapon, short of an Abram’s Tank) is a just and God-given right. They say, if you take the AR-15 off the shelf, then some crazy will just use another weapon. That is true. And it is also, true…if ALL the guns were taken off the shelf and ALL the ammunition was taken away, someone, somewhere would use a knife. Or a bomb, or a car…the list is endless. What I am saying is, if, the ban on AR-15’s came through and a limit on cartridge/magazine size/amounts was placed, then these children would see adults doing what adults are supposed to do. Listening, acting and changing their world for the better.
If you are so predisposed to blindly hold onto your weapon as if your very own life depended on that weapon, then you have a fundamental problem with understanding this modern society. IF you see this as the slippery slope to regime change in our government and an affront to your ability to stop this change, then, you have a fundamental problem with modern society. If you believe that amending the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights to jibe with a more modern stance is wrong and dangerous, then you have a fundamental problem with modern society. If you feel that the industrial overkill of modern weapons is just part of a healthy robust capitalist society and your right as a buyer of those weapons, then you have a fundamental problem with modern society.
Lastly, I don’t begrudge hunters. I don’t begrudge homeowners who want to protect their property. But, hunters don’t use AK-15’s to hunt…anything. Homeowners mostly use short barrels or shotguns for home protection. These weapons hold anywhere from nine to three rounds. Most likely, enough to stave off a home invasion. I don’t begrudge these folks…guns have a place. But if you own an AK-15 for home invasion, then you are probably expecting the Zombie Apocalypse or worst. There simply is no need to own a AK-15. There is no need to own a hundred rounds of anything. The best hunters I know have only shot upwards to a hundred dove or so on an exceptional day. They were using scatter shot/bird load and cross referenced a field. And they were damned fine shots.
My point is this. Our children have taken the reins on gun regulation issues. Just as children of the sixties took the reins on ending the war. They have spoken and what they are saying rings true. Are they being naïve? Are they lashing out only to wear down and move on to something else next week? Are they just blindly stupid as to what America really wants as its death toll rises along with weekly ratings on the news channels and more and more guns hit the streets as fear mounts and society collapses. Personally, I think none of this is their modus operandi. I think they are being the wise ones and calling out the rest of us to get it together and act on this issue now. And if we treat this with flippancy, with a turned ear or apathy… change will come. Whether you have a fundamental place in this or not. The proverbial warning shot was fired over the bow this weekend. We, as a nation, should listen and offer sound advice on the ways this problem should be and can be, addressed.