and these children that you spit on,
as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations.
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…”
~ David Bowie
Question: What can you accomplish in 6 minutes and 20 seconds?
a) Answer a few emails?
b) Microwave a fresh baked brownie?
c) Commit 17 acts of premeditated murder?
d) Create the tipping point in America on gun policy?
The Hopeful Answer: D, Create a Tipping Point
The Sounds of Silence
On March 24, as Emma Gonzalez stood silently on the Washington DC stage, marking the time it took Nicholas Cruz to go on his killing spree, anyone watching became seriously uncomfortable.
As Americans we abhor silence. We will fill it with inane chatter, innocuous comments, anything to keep the conversation moving.
Perhaps it gives us too much time for our own thoughts.
Kudos to Ms. Gonzalez for playing to that discomfort.
For in that silence, we were given time to contemplate the perfectly ordinary actions that Emma’s friends would never again commit.
We were confronted with the horrific reality created by our unwillingness to stop the continued slaughter of our children.
To understand the black hole created in communities by lives lost.
And to feel the depth of despair of victim’s friends and families.
Inclusive NOT divisive
Make no mistake, this youth-led movement, started in the aftermath of the massacre, is about all gun violence, not just about school shootings.
It’s about the seventy three teens shot to death in the 37 days since Parkland.
It goes well beyond suburban communities like Parkland and Newtown to include communities of color, specifically black communities where gun violence can be an everyday reality.
It’s about the 30,000 people that die in our country from gun violence every year.
Times They are A-Changing
Some 800,000 people marched in Washington, DC on March 24.
Jennifer Hudson, whose mother, brother and nephew were shot and killed in 2008 by her former brother-in-law, performed this Bob Dylan classic in front of the 800,000 activists.
Yolanda Renee King, the 9-year-old granddaughter of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke passionately about her dream: a world without guns.
On March 24, in 800 cities throughout the country our children led us to a place where we could actually envision a more inclusive, less violent society.
And like each new generation before them, they are determined not to repeat the mistakes of prior generations.
They are not constricted by barriers of gender, color and sexual preference that inhibited their elders. They see beyond differences and they KNOW they are stronger together.
The atrocity of Columbine has always been a part of their consciousness. Their world has always included school shootings. Active shooter drills have been a “normal” part of their school life.
Let your mind absorb that heinousness.
Exhausted by fear and unable to rely on adults to fix the situation, these children have decided to be the change they wish to see.
You CAN make a Difference
Each and every one of us must take personal responsibility in creating this fundamental change.
~Learn the facts. Emotions run high around gun legislation. Don’t believe all the rhetoric, learn what is and isn’t true. Written by a Gun Owner, Read The 12 Most Common Fallacious Gun Arguments (And How to Refute Them)
~Become an Informed Voter! Where does your representative stand on gun control measures? Don’t be content with inaction on the part of your legislators. Elect officials that are willing to stand up for sensible gun legislation. Read: This is Your Rep on Guns
~Donate To A Gun Reform Group. Help offset monies spent by the NRA by supporting one of these nonprofits doing great work: The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence ,Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America or Giffords (Gabby Gifford’s organization)
~READ. Much has been written about the gun debate. And will continue to be. The more you know, from both sides, the better for all involved.
~Dispel the Myth Gun legislation, with background checks, age limits and magazine size limits does not mean the end to gun ownership.
~Keep the Conversation Going. This controversial subject will not be going away soon. Conversations will be uncomfortable, but they must be had. As much as humanly possible, don’t let your emotions rule. Listen to hear and learn.
In Six Minutes and 20 seconds Emma Gonzalez has shined a light into the darkest recesses of our humanity and dared United States citizens to have the courage to make the changes necessary.
One further question must be asked:
Will YOU be brave enough to protect your loved one from needless gun violence?