Important headlines for March 26th
Bottom Line: These are stories you don't want to miss and my hot takes on them...
Excerpt: In extraordinary student mobilization brought hundreds of thousands to the streets of U.S. cities Saturday to demand tougher gun laws, in a muscular display of political determination less than six weeks after the Parkland school massacre.
Teenage students who emerged as national figures in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting flew to Washington to address the largest March for Our Lives rally, while thousands marched in Parkland, Boca Raton and cities around the globe. At many rallies, there was barely a mention of the killer, Nikolas Cruz, the expelled Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who shot 17 students and staff to death and wounded 17 more. Instead, the wrath of speakers fell on political leaders who they said had sold out to the National Rifle Association in refusing to support limits on gun ownership.
Hot Take: Emma's 6 minute and 20 second silence representing the length of Cruz's attack was powerful. The passion of those involved was admirable. The overriding message being communicated however... May we please have an important and honest conversation for a moment? Let's start here. The NRA didn't kill 17 people at Stoneman Douglas. Elected officials didn't kill 17 people at the school either. A gun didn't do it either. Nikolas Cruz killed them. Just as cited in the story - the only actual person responsible was barely a footnote in the day of activism. That's alarming and disturbing. Why? Because this movement isn't actually doing anything to address the real problems of our day and seek actual solutions.
I've said it for well over a month and I'll say it again. I believe in the need for sensible gun control and have supported it prior and after Parkland. I supported the gun control reforms in Florida and believe they should be a proxy for the feds and there's additional room beyond those reforms as well in my view but that's actually beside the bigger point. Guns aren't new. Mental health issues aren't new. The proliferation of violence in our society and in our schools punctuated by mass shootings is. This movement that's focused on gun control is guaranteed to fail regardless of legislative outcomes. Why? Because you could remove every legal gun from society and Nikolas Cruz would still have been a danger to society. Just as the young man in Austin was with bombs. Guns aren't good or bad. They're objects. Gun control is just 1/4th of what should be a larger conversation. In the wake of the shooting I highlighted these concerns that needed to be addressed:
What's changed in our society that's led to the proliferation of violence?
The need for accountability for those in law enforcement who failed to keep people safe
Reforms including gun control
Unfortunately, we have seen a movement that seems dedicated to a singular focus that doesn't deal with the premise of what's wrong in our society. It's easy to blame an object you may not understand rather the those responsible for actions. It's also easy to play politics. It's much harder to seek solutions. That's what I'll continue to do even if I'm the lone voice willing to sensibly do so in the mist of the political correctness in South Florida.
Excerpt: The Outline interviewed David Hogg, a 17-year old survivor of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, who says he is the NRA's "worst nightmare." Hogg's interview was laced with profanity against his detractors, Gov. Rick Scott, the NRA, old people and others.
Hot Take: Anyone else have any concerns here? First, independent of David's comments, positions and highly political speech on Saturday - is the bigger issue of the role of the students in this debate. As I've cited from the onset... I believe the overwhelming majority of student activists are well-intended. That is to say, right or wrong, agree or disagree, they're coming at their activism from a place of legitimately desiring positive outcomes as they view them. Then there are those in the minority. David Hogg has proven to be one of them.
David Hogg has become the poster child for what's wrong with this movement. Vulgarity, disrespect, a lack of factual basis for advancing his ideas and opportunism. On one hand he's like any other 17-year-old kid with an attitude. He doesn't show respect for those who disagrees with. He expresses a close-minded mindset. He evidently thinks speaking with expletives makes him sounds cool or something. He seems to think he has all of the answers. That doesn't make him highly unusual independent of being given a platform.
So, here's the thing. This movement has to choose a lane. If the movement rallies behind those like David, it should be called out and opposed, rather than handled with politically correct politeness while he attempts to carry out radical leftist ideology without addressing anything that would provide a long-term solution to the real issues that have led to the proliferation of violence in our schools and society. Ironically, his type of rhetoric and conduct is actually part of what's wrong with many young people today - not something that should be granted a platform and held as a positive example of change. It's my hope for both common sense reform and our society more generally that he isn't.