Sunday, February 18, 2018

Florida Teens Giving Me A (Slight) Glimmer Of Hope

Articulate teenagers like Cameron Kasky are trying - and
might succeed - at doing bribed, stupid and dumb politicians
won't do: Create sensible gun laws that don't
violate the Second Amendment 
Teenagers across America, particularly in Florida, have been embarrassing the rest of us this past week, and I couldn't be more delighted that they're doing so.

As you sadly know too well, we had another mass shooting last week, taking the lives of 17 high school students and teachers in Florida.

As always in these cases, which now seem to happen every day, the people who are supposed to be the adults in the room, especially many politicians, fail us.

They're supposed to lead us, but instead offer empty thoughts and prayers, clutch their pearls over people with mental illness, and above all, quake in fear over angering the National Rifle Association.

The NRA has long since decided that their ability to provide - and make plenty of money - from making sure everybody has unfettered access to any kind of weapon is worth a few dozen people getting killed in mass shootings every year.

After the Parkland, Florida mass shooting, teenagers in Florida are having none of it. The dignified rage, the logic and the resolve of these kids are putting us all to shame.

Current politicians will continue to kowtow to the NRA and nothing will immediately change. The millions of dollars politicians get from the NRA will grease the wheels to Capital Hill, with a gentle additional push from timid voters. Want an AR-15 to shoot up a school, concert or church? Knock yourself out!

For now.

These kids not only those in Florida, but the ones that are now part of a groundswell nationwide, will soon be old enough to vote. They've taken an activist cue from older people who are resisting the Trump administration, the Nazis, the white supremacists that seem to be gaining strength in this country.

The resistance from high school students in particular gives me a glimmer of hope that these teenagers will change things.

Their anger is building. And their message is getting more powerful. There's lots of examples.

Parkland student Cameron Kasky, interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper, didn't mince words. Kasky did heap deserved praise on teachers, staff and first responders, but has no patience for the thoughts and prayers crowd.

"Everything I've heard where we can't do anything and it's out of our hands and it's inevitable, I think that's a fa├žade that the GOP is putting up."

Kasky pressed on: "After every shooting, the NRA sends a memo saying 'send your thoughts and prayers.' This is the only country where this kind of thing happens. I've heard from other people, and they don't have gun drills. We had to prepare extensively at Stoneman Douglas. This something that can be stopped and will be stopped.

"There is a segment of this society that will shrug this off and send your thoughts and prayers but march for hours over a rainbow wedding cake."

That last line crystalizes the hypocrisy in the GOP more than anything. (By the way, the entire Kasky/Cooper interview is definitely worth the watch

As Wired notes, teenagers are more savvy at social media, and media in general, and know how to fight back against lies, gaslighting and self-puffery.  These students, amid the shock and terror of the attack, literally began to fight back against the NRA and their politician patsys as the rampage was ongoing.

David Hogg, a Parkland senior and reporter for the school's paper, interviewed students barricaded in a culinary classroom during the shooting. "No amount of money should make it more easy to get accessibility to guns," one frightened student told Hogg in that room.

Many of the students are wonderfully through with respecting some of their elders. But only the elders that are failing them.  The teens, gloriously, are not afraid to be blunt.

Professional idiot and, I guess, right wing pundit Tomi Lahren spewed the usual talking points, saying liberals and morons and the mentally whacked out are to blame for Parkland, not guns.

This prompted one student to respond on Twitter: "A gun has killed 17 of my fellow classmates. A gun has traumatized my friends. My entire school, traumatizes from this tragedy. This could have been prevented. Please stfu  tomi."

Yeah, Tomi, probably best to listen to that student. I would, if I were in your shoes.

Here's another Twitter post from a Parkland student named Sarah Chad:

"I don't want your condolences you fucking piece of shit, my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won't fix this. But gun control will prevent it from happening again."

As if you need more, a teen at the school was quoted as follows:  “I’m not a Russian computer, so I can’t vote but will push elected officials on gun control."

High school students across the nation are planning a walkout from their classes sometimes in March to demand changes to gun laws. They all know that almost nobody wants to repeal the Second Amendment. Most of the students don't want that.

But every Constitutional right has its responsibilities as well. You can't just do whatever you want, including mass murder. These teenagers understand this, because it's common sense.

Too bad the NRA and their puppet politicians don't understand this. Or pretend not to. The activism of teenagers across the United States give me a glimmer of hope that this will one day change.

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