AltFacts: Never Again Takes a Shot at Gun Control

Never Again is the name of the current populist movement to address school shootings. Their focus is on banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons to the public, although better ways of addressing mental illness and school safety are also included.

This is not our first school shooting – nor our 20th — in recent years. What’s made this one grasp onto the national consciousness with more persistence and a higher possibility of resulting change than those before? We’re certainly rooting for the movement (for a contrasting opinion, see motifri.com/gun-facts) – while it’s not clear that anything can prevent 100% of such violent incidents (and the claim that these are a uniquely American phenomenon doesn’t stand up if you include misguided teens blowing things up, which they do regularly around the world) – it does seem that there are some basic, common-sense things we can and should be doing to prevent a swath of destruction like the one at Stoneman Douglas. For this particular movement, there are corporations lining up to show their support. Protesters are getting responses, if not always the ones they want, from senators, congressmen and the president, far beyond what even tragedies like Sandy Hook have elicited. Is it a case of enough-is-enough, a latest death-toll-straw that’s dented the camel’s – or elephant’s – back? Is it because we have a president whose ADD has led him to respond off the cuff, contradicting himself and not shutting down the possibility of change, his mercurial style perhaps producing positive side-effects, even as he tries to focus on mental health over more obvious gun control solutions? Maybe it has to do with the victims – not parents or grade-school kids, the teens driving the movement are just old enough to be eloquent, and still young enough that our establishment is a bit less inclined to actively crush their idealism. There have been deliberately incited rumors that some of them are actors placed to promote an agenda – and in fact, some of the leaders are actors, in that they are members of Stoneman Douglas’ drama club, putting the presentation skills they’ve been learning to work in a real-world setting. It may also be that this shooting happened in a place where the educational level and empowerment level of the students and parents is higher than on the sites of many other tragedies. Would a similar tragedy in an inner city school have evolved into a similar movement?

Whatever the explanation, there’s a momentum here that might be able to produce what the loss of numerous lives before them could not, so let’s keep the encouragement coming through despite the tragedy. Let’s hope the movement can avoid the trap the Occupy movement fell into – not knowing clearly and specifically enough what they are asking for – and find a way to break the stalemate against change that has persevered for decades.

The March for our Lives rally planned for March 24 in Washington will have regional affiliates as well, including one happening on the RI State House lawn from 1 – 3pm.

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