We tend to get so caught up in our busy lives, in our little micro-universe that we miss the things going on in the world around us. I have to confess, I am like this a lot of the time. I don’t watch the news; it reeks of gloom and thrives on fear. I don’t listen to the radio; they use negativity and sensationalism to capture the attention of their audience, not to mention if I hear the ad for Morgan & Morgan one more time I might scream. I don’t even keep up with Facebook; the posts I care about are buried in “likes,” memes and meaningless ramblings.
But sometimes events can’t be ignored. Sometimes situations happening farther away also hit close to home. In these moments I’m reminded that I should be paying more attention to what is going on; I should be more involved; I should care enough about the world around me to help make things better.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was this for me, and I suspect for others like me.
There have been other school shootings that have riled the public but then faded away. People still remember the Columbine High School shooting from 1999 in which 13 people were murdered, but this tragedy didn’t inspire the rallies and marches that we’re seeing today after the shooting in Parkland. What makes this one unique?
I believe this one is different because of the kids. I believe the actions that the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are taking have awakened people who have been sheltered in their little piece of the Earth; people who would normally remain silent but who are now speaking out; people like me. I believe that children, teens and young adults are learning from the example of these students and have found something they can be passionate about.
There are many societal issues this group could have joined together to protest: bullying, suicide, drugs, sex, under-age drinking, teachers’ abuse of power, too much homework. This one is uniting them because the students at Parkland are not giving up. They are bringing awareness to the formerly uninformed.
Gun control has always been hotly debated. Those in favor of our “right to bear arms” have always shouted louder than those in favor of better controls, until now. I read a post the other day but unfortunately I couldn’t find it as I was writing this. In this post the author clearly shared views which mirrors mine. I felt compelled to respond, to add my voice to hers. This post and others like it help keep this moving forward.
Gun lobbyists often cite the second amendment of the Constitution; it is our RIGHT to own and carry guns. Our forefathers however, when they wrote the Constitution, did not anticipate the types of guns we have today. They did not imagine a world where semi-automatic rifles could be used to wipe out groups of people from a safe distance.
The spirit of the second amendment was to allow all Americans to defend themselves and resist oppression. It protects the right of the citizens to join forces against the government. Allowing the American people to “bear arms” ensured that they were not controlled by a government who didn’t allow the oppressed to have guns.
Those yelling about their second amendment rights seem to have forgotten that there is more to this amendment than the right to own and carry a gun. It is the right to join forces against the government.
In this way, the students marching in the protest against lax gun control laws are doing so because of this Constitutional right. They are using words instead of guns, but they are still joining together to demand the government take action. In my opinion, this is different from the first amendment right of free speech, although when words are used this is the amendment everyone points to.
I’m not an expert on the Constitution, but I suspect neither are those supporting the “right to bear arms.” If we are going to argue by citing the Constitution then we need to re-educate ourselves. We need to understand not just the words that were written but also the spirit in which they were written. If we use the Constitution to debate how we should move forward then we should consider what our forefathers truly wanted for this country.
Let’s protect the beaten and oppressed with this amendment, instead of just guns.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Micro
Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash