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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

We have an obligation to this national school walkout



When “we”, this old generation facing the exit door, were coming up, we dealt with a lot of hard issues. There was an unnecessary and illegal war; boys, our classmates, dying. If not already aware, and many northerners had not learned the hard way, our country was infested with racial injustice. How could anyone watch marchers mowed down by high pressure water hoses, attacked by dogs and white police men, and not make an opinion?

We were young then, and idealistic. We thought we were invincible. We protested. We marched. We “sat-in”.  We went to Canada. We were supported, by family and friends.  If not by family, by friends. We had such an idealistic hope of peace and love and flowers in gun barrels. There were signs of hope.  A flower in a National Guardsman’s gun barrel. Tiananmen Square.

Though we were sidetracked by mortgages and children and carpooling, we still worked for and voted to end racial injustice, poverty, restore voting rights. I was wondering which one tipped the NRA and the bigots? But, who cares what it was, or that it is. It must end.

Now we are left with addressing violence by guns, mass shootings of innocents, unsuspecting gatherings of happy people, halls of school students, from the wrong end. Instead of “One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” we have one nation, fragmented. We are impoverished, in wealth, in education, in skill, in spirit.

The hope of the sixties was swept away, less by complacency than chicanery. My brothers’ NRA taught them sportsmanship and shooting skills. The political turmoil of the sixties, assassinations, shootings, led to gun legislation, limiting, for instance, sale of machine guns. NRA leadership felt it was acceptable to sportsmen. The young turks did not. Sound familiar? In a surprise committee move, new hardliners took over operation of the NRA in the course of several hours of an annual meeting.

My finger pointing and rant changes nothing. The fact remains, on an average day nearly one hundred people in this country die from gun violence, and two more are injured. Common sense gun legislation and administration is needed to save lives.

Students should not die by bullets. Concert goers should not die by bullets. Children. Lovers. Neighborhood antagonists. No person should die from gunshots.  There is no need to end gun ownership, no matter one’s perception of the Second Constitutional Amendment. But, I believe military weapons do not belong under civilian control, guns modified to shoot more bullets, faster, do not belong in civilian hands. All current forms of gun ownership restriction should be enforced.

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have an extraordinary right to engage in an act of civil disobedience by walking out of their school on March 14th, in respect of the seventeen people murdered in their halls by another gunman. As do students in every school in this country.





45 comments:

  1. I taught in the elementary school, but if I were teaching now, I would take my class outside in solidarity as well. I hope everybody in all the schools do the same and really make a statement. I read in the paper today that the proposal is for 10:00 in all schools to go out of class for 17 minutes to represent all the students and teachers who were killed in Florida.

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  2. 100% with you. Everything you say is true. What a different world it is now, from when we were growing up.

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    1. And what would you say are the main causes of that change?

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    2. I can answer that, Rachel. We grew up in the 40's and 50's. By the sixties, consciousness was coming up. People of color felt the power to move against 400 years of oppression. Poor whites and blacks felt the effect of 400 years of oppression in this country, and saw their poverty could not give them college exemptions to the war. It was a crap shoot against their wills, to live through it or die. In this country men of power saw money in the manufacture of more machines of war, and killing while about it, and took control of the most powerful organization in this country to do it, the NRA, which could fund every seat in Washington and thereby control enough to get the votes to underwrite their programs.
      In short, the farmers still fought in the trenches, and the industrialists, et.al. took the country back from the Roosevelts and slowly have made it their own.

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    3. The rise of drug taking, gangs, gun culture, denial, respect for fellow Americans, and the liberal left.

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    4. I think drugs, denial and gangs were a symptom, not a cause. Gun culture was foisted on this country by the NRA, to line their coffers. Loss of respect is a sign of citizens resigned, looking for any way to be equal.

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    5. When I was a young girl black people had to drink out of separate drinking fountains. There have been many great changes since I was a girl. And altho things have been on the skids for the last year and a half regarding standards of morality, I see a revival of decency and strength arising in this country. Because of the liberal left, actually. Don't judge us by the nightly news, or violent movies. The U.S.A is a huge country. 3 million more voted for Hillary than for Trump. It was the stupid Electoral College (a holdover from slavery days) and Russian trolls who put us in this position. We're well underway with getting ourselves out.

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    6. I don't watch violent films. I read history.

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    7. Me too, especially modern history.

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    8. I'm living American history. You are not. Afford us the same courtesy as many of us accorded you about Brexit.

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    9. Embrace, and don't get defensive. I only offer alternative ideas. Nothing is etched in stone.

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    10. I was not being discourteous. Embrace and love.

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    11. Well, from a geezer in Montana, by heritage a redneck, by education a physician, who opines this 'Rachel' above is a loon or a troll, and either way deserves the same response. Ignore.

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    12. Hi Fish. I was throwing another view into the pot. It seems sad that the reaction is so negative. Sorry to have upset you and others. Joanne knows me well, as does Jennifer, and there is no need to crucify me and nor do I deserve to be so. You can see it all as you wish, it is your prerogative and I wish you well. Embrace and enjoy all people is not a bad message though.

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  3. I sure hope this event proves to be something.

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  4. I am watching from the other side of the world, applauding and hoping. And so very grateful that this tragedy hasn't been brushed under the carpet as so many others have been. Perhaps change WILL happen this time.

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  5. It doesn't seem like too much to expect, and I just wonder WHY ON EARTH the NRA is so resistant. It just seems like pure bull-headedness at this point. But it's killing people, just as the guns and the shooters are killing people.

    I hope, like Anvilcloud, that this event proves to be massive and sweeping. I am picturing school after school walking out across the country as the time hits 10:00 in each time zone.

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    1. A cross-country wave of school walk-outs, wouldn't that be a sight to see on the TV news world-wide.

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  6. Very well said Joanne. This very necessary change may be a long journey and you have taken the first step. I hope many will join you, in person, as I will in spirit.

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  7. I love your spirit, Joanne, and hope the walkout is successful in highlighting the problem and beginning the changes needed.

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  8. I remember that 1960s photo of a girl putting flowers in the rifle barrels of National Guardsmen.

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  9. Hari OM
    Joanne, this is a piece of writing which deserves to be in the national newspapers - submit it to as many letters columns as you can! Hooraah!!! YAM xx

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    1. Yam, I would be swept away in hate responses. I'll stand on my little corner and others can take theirs, or not.
      And, thanks for the acknowledgement.

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  10. Who could have guessed that in comparison to today, the 60s now look pretty peaceful?

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  11. Bless them all...I hope the action makes a difference in your country....

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  12. we are in the end game of the culture war. those that opposed the wave of change that started in the 60s are still opposing it. through the years they took over the republican party and turned to gerrymandering and voter restriction to take control of the government and end the liberal wave of equal rights for all (people of color, women, non-christian, lgbtq) and bring the country back to being white with white rich men in charge and they have no compunction about breaking laws in order to do it. and we let it happen while we were distracted with raising our families. my husband thinks that this war will never end until all the baby boomers are dead and many a lot of our children too. he may be right. we may have realized the war wasn't over too late.

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  13. I love this, Joanne. I truly do. Bravo.

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  14. I so agree. Once my husband and one child went off to an affaire in San Francisco. We took him to the bus, and I remember we all jokingly posted front and profile for the FBI cameras. Now today we have civil rights, an unwanted war, and ugly politics. LOL

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  15. I just don't understand why the gun lobby is so powerful in the States and why ordinary citizens can't push through the measures necessary to keep them and their children and families safe. I guess money is most of the answer, as usual.

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    1. Money and power, Nick. Flowers in guns don't cut it, but we keep trying.

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    2. My take on this - the money can be used to promote their propaganda which fuels fear of big government and need to have an arsenal to protect themselves against all these imaginary scenarios. More fear = more guns = more ammo = more money = repeat

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  16. Yes, yes, and yes! You just wrote what has been coming out of my mouth forever.

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  17. I agree with your common sense. Also just because a problem is difficult and a few changes don't erase complete problem those changes should still be made. Progress is slow but moving in the correct direction is the best way to move.

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    1. Reminds me, Bill, of the old saying, "Putting you hand to the plow." Most old hippies will stick it to the end. May their be a new generation willing to add their effort to the old causes.

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  18. You have voiced the feelings of so many. Too old to fight a war, I can still encourage those that will stand up for what is right!

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  19. Yes you are roght Joanne = we do not live in a happy world.

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  20. The middle school where I work will participate in 17 minutes of standing in silence on that day in solidarity. The principal announced it the other day. Many, many teachers I know (at my school and others in the area) are very much in favor of strong, common sense gun control reform. They're little drops of blue in the red sea in which we live.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I hope to hear so much of this next Wednesday.

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  21. Joanne the Florida kids are marching on the 24th. Does each community pick a date?

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  22. March 14th is National School Walkout, the 17 moment silent assembly. March 24th is a march on Washington. This anger has momentum.

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  23. Yes you are roght Joanne = we do not live in a happy world.


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