Monday, February 19, 2018


On March 24, the March for Our Lives will take place, and despite the popular #NeverAgain hashtag, I'm resigned to hearing about at least one more school shooting before then. I'm going to march; whether I go to D.C. or New York or someplace in NJ remains to be seen, but I'm going to march.

If you're a student, or a teacher, or you have kids, or you want to have kids, or you never want to have kids, or even if you hated school, you should march, too. If you think we need to figure out what it takes to keep kids from being shot in school, you should march.  That doesn't necessarily translate to "the only people who are going to march all hate and want to ban guns." I know a lot of people are agitating once again (or still, in many cases) for a ban on AR-15 rifles, or on semi-automatic rifles in general, or on personal gun ownership at all. I know those last two will never happen, and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a ban on AR-15s, either. But I don't see this issue as black and white, as so many on both sides of the argument do. It's more nuanced than "no one should be allowed to own any guns at all" vs. "everyone should be allowed to own any gun they can afford." Unless you're a robot who only understands binary.

How 'bout we talk to each other like civilized, rational adult human beings and find middle ground? Or is that 200-year old "right to bear arms" so important and so sacred that it doesn't and will never matter how many innocents die or who is killed? Yes, I understand the argument about defending against tyranny, and yes, the Bill of Rights is dear to me... but the other amendments aren't open to interpretations that can get me (or someone visiting a house of worship, or a grammar school student, or... anyone, really) killed for no good reason. This one is. So maybe we can work on a compromise interpretation that allows for personal gun ownership while being a little more responsible about how much killing power gets into whose hands. As well as bettering the way we help those with mental health issues, including returning military veterans, and improving relations between law enforcement and communities, and the other issues at play here.

If we can't compromise, if we can't agree that something has to change and then sit down to discuss what changes can be made to which we can all agree, this issue is eventually going to tear this country apart. I just can't imagine that there are people out there who see the deaths weekly, not just the mass shootings but the suicides by gun and the little children who pick up guns and unknowingly shoot themselves or others and the arguments that turn deadly, and concede that they're tragic but would rather keep the status quo than try to make it better. I'm not saying I know how to make it better. I'm saying I can't live with it the way it is, and I would rather look for a solution than try to make political points or hide behind a law written by men who had no idea how firearms technology was going to advance over the following two centuries. Still. Keep the amendment intact (unless there's enough of an outcry to repeal it, and again, I don't see that happening), but let's find common ground for interpreting it in light of current technology. Or just call it quits and split ourselves into two separate nations. Which is ridiculous, but when enough people want to change the situation and enough other people refuse to even consider it...

I'm proud of the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL, and the other students around the country, who are organizing the March and other events and taking the lead in demanding change. They shouldn't have to be the ones fighting to keep children like themselves safe, but the fact that they're doing it has me feeling a little more hopeful about this country. I'll be marching in solidarity with them. I hope you will, too. And let me know if you want to join me.

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