America, guns and death: 17 die in Florida

The instrument that first shaped this nation and guaranteed its power was not the Constitution it was gunpowder.

Chinese black powder to guns was inevitable. Europeans used it first but it is not the inventions that are bad, it is the people who put them to bad use. Democrats and Republicans must not dismiss that guns and gunpowder backed the building of this nation (and now, in turn, its defend). Neither Republicans nor Democrats, neither religious, nor educational, nor political institutions have been willing to break away from the bad use of guns.

Parkland, Florida, as with Las Vegas, is another American tragedy caused by an individual with guns. Will we again just talk about school shootings? Why are the powerful institutions of this country not willing to do more, including big government, big corporations, big sports and entertainment, big labor, or big non-profits like the NRA? The NRA gave $30 million to the Trump campaign.

As this country’s school students protest gun violence, will they learn what their ancestors learned about the tragedies of guns and gunpowder? Will they learn that they can be powerful and persuasive and overcome sinister evil, if they can persuade their parents and neighbors to step forward to demand positive action from government and corporate leaders to achieve safe schools?

As this newspaper headlined on February 15, we must model the wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr., and act on his advocacy of non-violent civil disobedience. We need role models to show others how to, as Dr. King said, “overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence.” We can break away from the power of the gun and gunpowder, if institutions will be honest.

There have been too many speakers of the House of Representatives, too many senate majority leaders, and too many presidents (not to mention governors and state legislators), who have purposefully passed up chances to make a difference, and keep kicking the can of chances down the road.

Democrats and Republicans receive millions in contributions from gun and munitions lobbies, and ignore the calls for change, as well as ignore deeper cultural issues such as the glorification of violence, mental health issues, the disparagement of family and fathers and fatherless boys (whether due to divorce, death, imprisonment or abandonment). Doing nothing enables more shootings by refusing to effectively enhance school security across the country, whether in Florida, Texas, South Carolina or California.

We need to signal our collective conscience and put action with our talk to connect and work together.

Social science data demonstrates the links to school shootings. Let’s unhook the links with both action and words.

Stay tuned.


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