I can't remember a time in recent history when a National Rifle Association spokesperson bothered to come forward so publically to defend every American citizens' right to bear arms, which currently includes semi-automatic rifles. In fact, a little over a week after the lives of 17 had been taken at the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Vice President of the NRA gave a lengthy unscheduled televised talk at the Conservative Political Action Conference where he stated he wants to see armed guards in schools and free firearms training for teachers.
Wayne LaPierre wasn't the only person within the NRA to take a defensive stance. The day before, Dana Loesch, a spokeswoman debated with survivors of the attack at a town hall meeting. The NRA even attempted to shift some of the problem to the media...saying “the mainstream media love mass shootings” and that they benefit from the coverage because it gives them good ratings.
I did watch LaPierre on television...as hard as it was to listen to his propaganda. He indicated that those who are pushing for gun control want to “make all of us less free.” It would have been appropriate to remind him the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was put in place to develop a citizen militia, and those individuals were armed with muskets...not semi-automatic rifles.
If anyone was wondering why the NRA was “so quick on the draw” they only had to check the news. Those amazing kids, mostly senior high students, have organized and continue to carry out massive protest marches throughout the United States and around the world. It started with the Parkland, Florida students and has spread like wildfire. However, this wildfire is not likely to be put out anytime soon. These young people are on a mission...and that mission is gun control.
Those amazing kids managed to get a law passed in Florida which raises the age of gun ownership to the age of 21. At that time, some of the teens indicated they viewed this as a small step...but they plan to build on that small step.
This past weekend, just 6 1/2 weeks after the Parkland shooting, marches took place in all major cities in the United States and in other countries. There were more than 800 marches world-wide. Seasoned activists are amazed at what these young people have accomplished. While some of the success can be credited to the almost unlimited energy of the young, there is no question these teens are incredibly intelligent and articulate...and they can organize.
These amazing kids are not afraid to accept help from all the right places. Members of congress and pop stars will be marching right along with them. Oprah Winfrey and George and Amal Clooney have donated large sums of money to add to the substantial amounts raised by the young people. They will not accept help from any of the wrong places...having turned down support and money from those whose vision is not the same as theirs.
The really ironic thing that has taken place...some of those amazing kids were on the front cover of Time Magazine...a feat Donald Trump has yet to accomplish. And...it might be wise for those who are now in office to note that most of these amazing kids will be able to vote in upcoming elections.
Shirley Hallee’s column appears weekly in the Amherst News.