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Posts Tagged ‘gun control’

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Today is the day. The day when our youth march in protest against gun violence and lax gun laws. They are marching for their lives. They are marching for the lives of future generations. They are marching for us. Yes. They are marching for me and for you. They are marching for anyone that could get caught up in gun violence…in schools, at the shopping mall, at the theater, everywhere.

It is not just a kids’ march. It’s a march for all of us. Yes, it was organized by kids in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting that took seventeen lives but it is a march for us all. We have to have their back. We adults have to have their back. They can make a difference and watching coverage from one city to another it is clear that these kids are angry. They want change. They are ready to march and to speak out and to fight for a change. And we have to have their back. We have to support them. We have failed them and it is our turn to stand up and support them.

Here in Portland, as I write, the march is underway. The numbers are huge. Police are baffled. They didn’t know what to expect as far as numbers and they still can’t make a good estimate. They know that there are approximately 12,000 in the vicinity of Court House Square but there are many more still marching toward the area where speeches will be made. There are miles of marchers approaching. The marchers are all ages. There are people of all generations, adults and teens and children.

And it is peaceful. Peace. What a concept.

It is also vocal. And it is important to note that politicians are watching and listening. These marchers are mostly either of voting age or are approaching voting age within a very few years. Politicians need to listen because these kids are not going any place but to the voting booths across the country in elections in local cities, and in states and in our nation.

We need to have their backs. If you can’t go out and march that’s okay. You can still support them. You can write about it. You can talk about it. You can tweet. You can contact your local representatives. Keep it going. They are marching for me and for you. Don’t forget that.

#March for our lives.

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Politicians usually want the easy way out. That means not really fixing things, just doing enough to make it look like they did something. That way, when they are called on it, they can say they already tried to address the problem.

School shootings are a huge problem in the United States. They are happening with increasing frequency. Our youths are getting killed, injured and psychologically traumatized. What are we doing about it? I think most people agree that it’s a problem but not everyone agrees on how to fix it. And in reality, there is no way to fix it completely but the problem can be tackled from a number of different directions.  In other words. it will take layers of “solutions” to be effective. Banning the sale of assault weapons is one factor that can help. Banning bump stocks that make semi-automatic weapons behave like automatic weapons allowing the firing of hundreds of rounds per minute would be another step in the right direction. Requiring more stringent background checks on all weapons sales, banning the sale of weapons to people with certain mental illness, and raising the minimum age for gun purchases, are other steps. These all work together. Not one will stop the senseless killings but each step will save lives.

I will tell you one step that most likely will not work and, in fact, will most likely cause further loss of lives. Guns in schools. Nope! As a former school teacher I know that I would have put my body between any of my students and a bullet. I also know that most teachers would do the same today. That’s who we are. Teachers care deeply about their students and accept responsibility for keeping them safe while in their care. That includes when under gun fire.

However, that does not include accepting a firearm and being expected to shoot a perceived attacker. Most civilians are not trained to handle weapons and training them would take time and money and many teachers, in fact most teachers would be my guess, would not want to take a gun even if they were sufficiently trained. Those who are currently trained would also need to be trained to fire when under attack as most people that are trained in handling weapons are trained to hit an unsuspecting target, as in hunting, not how to hit a moving target that is shooting at them.

My guess is that the majority of teachers would not want to stay in the teaching field if they were required to take a weapon, be trained on it, then be expected to actually shoot at a human…shoot with the intent to stop them, which in the case of a school shooter would probably mean shoot to kill. That means we would lose our teachers. We would be left with a lot that might just be playing out a “Rambo” role. Which brings about the need to have regular mental exams of the teachers who were armed, if we did that.

Here’s what I know. I would give my life for any of my students. But I would not ever shoot a gun at anyone. I just could not do it. That’s the reason I never got a gun for protection. I knew that even if I took target practice and became proficient, I would not be able to shoot another person. I would freeze if I had to shoot someone.

Another scenario. Say there is a shooting at a school. Teachers have been armed and trained. Mr. Sanchez pulls out his gun and prepares to shoot the active shooter if he/she approaches his classroom. However, police have been called and they enter the school. They see an armed person in front of a classroom. His skin is dark. His hair is dark. They might even be able to hear his instructions to others and discern a foreign accent. They shoot at him. They shoot to kill. This is America. They assume that a person of color armed with a gun in a school room where there are reports of an active shooter is indeed the shooter. How in the hell are police officers supposed to know who the active shooter is when there might be twenty or thirty teachers armed at that a school? And some of these teachers aren’t in their classroom. They are out in the hall actively looking for the shooter to stop him/her. How will the police know who to shoot? How will they know if someone says they’re a teacher and they let them go only to find out that it was the shooter they let go and that shooter has left twenty or thirty victims in their path?

These are not even all of the scenarios. It’s just a sample that gives an idea of some of the problems with arming teachers. And guns in schools as a solution does not address the shootings in churches or shopping malls, or theaters, or anywhere else.

Guns in schools. This is NOT the solution or even any solution that should be visited. This is not the right band-aid to put on the problem. This is not the right way for any politician to cover their ass in regard to the problem.

No guns in schools.

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A friend who is a gun owner and proponent posted a link on her Facebook feed today which led to an article about a gun owner who held a burglar at gunpoint until police arrived.  It was a reminder about how gun proponents and gun opponents are so widely and adamantly divided.  I know I could never have a gun in my house and when my children were young, I did not allow them to go visit anyone who had guns in their house.  I don’t like guns.  I don’t think there is a need to have them, unless you are going out hunting.  I am not one that thinks that all guns should be taken away from those who legally own and register them and take proper precautions.  I know it’s their right ot have them.  However is it not also my right to live without the fear of walking down the same street with people carrying/packing guns?   I guess not.  Everyone is so concerned with the rights of gun owners that the rights of us non gun lovers are being stepped on.

I know I will never be able to convince a gun proponent that my way is right, just as they will never be able to convince me that their way is right.  They have been taught to be around guns and use them since they were born (in most cases).  It’s a mindset.

Well, it may be good that a burglar was stopped at gunpoint so that law enforcement could deal with them but at the same time, here in Portland, across town, we had another gun shooting today with four students being shot.  The shooter is on the loose.  And armed.

Bang bang.

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