Last week, on Valentine’s Day, our country dealt with yet another mass shooting, just the latest in a long line of disgruntled Americans, Far Right sympathizers more often than not, who decide to pick up the deadliest firearms they can find and take out a bunch of people. Frequently their target is a school. After the smoke had cleared, seventeen human beings, most of them high school students ranging in age from fourteen to seventeen, lay dead, and several others were injured. These tragedies have become so common now that after a couple of days of media coverage we tend to forget about them and go back to our lives. Many Americans have become numb to these horrendous outbursts of violence, just as the NRA and Republicans have counted on.
These days the Far Right even engages in the most heinous types of black propaganda to discredit the survivors and anyone demanding action. Initially they started labeling these events as false flag operations done by the government as part of an overarching operation to take all guns away. This began mainly under Obama, which fit the Far Right’s false narrative of a hostile Leftist government. Now that Trump, a politician who is friendly to the Far Right, is in office, they can no longer get away with labeling these shootings a government operation so they’ve switched tactics, and mainly that amounts to calling anyone who speaks out as a survivor of these shootings paid actors. This is absurd on its face, as anyone can verify these kids are indeed students of this school and were present at the event. But the people making these accusations count on the fact that most people will not bother, so they keep spreading these lies to sow doubt among the masses, and far too many people buy this line of BS. Because of that, any potential progress to be made on this issue usually grinds to a swift halt, with society freezing up with uncertainty, and those who genuinely care realize they are up against a massive wall and give up again and again.
But something is different with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting. It is the kids themselves who have taken to the streets in outrage and horror, demanding that those in Washington do something about this ongoing problem instead of continuing to accept this state of affairs as the inevitable status quo. Of course, the Far Right has employed its usual tactics of trying to discredit them, calling them paid actors. These are kids who went to this high school and were there that day when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who had been expelled and wasn’t even old enough to purchase alcohol, walked into the school with a military-grade weapon he had bought himself and killed nearly twenty people, including three members of the school staff. This time these tactics aren’t working though, as it’s pretty clear to anyone with half a brain that these students are not fakes. High school students on the whole are not good actors, and if these were actors, then their performances would be considered Oscar-worthy. For example, anyone who can watch 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez’s speech and not be moved by it has, at best, a heart of stone. If that’s acting then Emma is wasting her skills. She needs to be in Hollywood, where she could make big bucks with that talent.
Of course, she’s not an actress. She is a genuine survivor of a real shooting who has become mobilized by this tragedy, as are many other students from this school. These kids are tired of being sacrificed on an altar of blood-soaked cash. They have been pushed to the breaking point, and their cries of pain and rage are finally being taken seriously by everyone. Everyone, that is, but the Far Right. This is no surprise to me. The people who have been harassing and threatening me by-and-large are from the same crowd, and I’ve known for awhile that they don’t really care about kids. Their campaign to silence and destroy MAPs, even those of us who are non-offending, has never really been about kids. It’s about what it’s always been about for their kind: creating a common and highly vulnerable enemy with which to channel their desire for a violent purge that would, if actually implemented, extend much farther than us. They will get their foot in the door by appealing to society’s fears of pedophiles and Islamic terrorists, but given any amount of real power, they would never stop there. You know it and I know it. History bears this out.
Thus, even kids have now become targets of harassment and threats for these people. Outside of their own, their claims of caring about kids have never been true. Sure, they’re anti-abortion, but that isn’t about kids and never was. It’s about increasing their numbers, because most Far Right people are poor, and abortion is mainly an issue for poor young women, who opt to abort instead of raising kids they know they can’t really afford to take care of. And honestly, if you could interrogate Far Right people with absolute certainty as to the truth of their answers, I’ll bet dollars to donuts most of them support abortion for minorities. They just won’t openly admit it. As usual, members of the modern Far Right are generally outright hypocrites on pretty much everything. Oh, they’re against murder . . . except for the people they support murdering. They’re against religious discrimination . . . except for any religion other than Christianity. And they’re against child abuse . . . except when those children are victims of gun violence and are speaking out in favor of gun control. Then all bets are off, and you can harass the hell out of them, threaten them, whatever it takes to shut them up.
This is the reality of the Far Right, and it’s why they can never be trusted to run this country ethically. Their track record is horrendous. They may claim to care about kids, but unless those kids are white and Republican, they don’t actually give a fig about them. If given the power to execute sex offenders and pedophiles, do you think they would stop there? Of course they wouldn’t. It’s not in their nature to be moderate. That’s why they’re the Far Right and not just the Right. Given the ability to do away with anyone they feel is a threat to their belief system, they would take it in a second. Pay attention to what they say to each other, not just what they say to their enemies.
But in terms of what they say to their enemies (which now includes teenagers who have been victims of horrendous mass shootings and have the gall to air their pain on national TV), even there they’ve gotten much bolder. They don’t honestly care about kids and never did. What they care about is putting forward their own political agenda, and they will happily steamroll over anyone who gets in their way, kids included. That’s where we are as a society now. I care about kids, period. I will not throw any of them under the bus for political expediency, not even kids like Nikolas Cruz. As vile as his belief system is and the horrendous actions he took on Valentine’s Day, I still do not support executing him, and I empathize with the losses he experienced. I do not believe he should be killed. I do believe he should be locked up for a very long time, maybe the rest of his natural life. I believe we need to do a better job of not letting kids like Cruz fall through the cracks of our system. I don’t believe Cruz really wanted to kill people. I believe he wanted love and attention he wasn’t getting, and this was simply his way of acting out, like a small child throwing a tantrum. Only, he had access to deadly weapons he should never have had access to.
So, I’m a MAP and I empathize with kids, even the not so good ones. I mean, sure, Cruz was 19, by law no longer a child, but he strikes me as someone who was fundamentally immature, not someone well on his way to becoming a responsible adult. Legally he was grown up but emotionally he was still a young teen, a kid who never progressed beyond his junior high school bully mentality. The problem is, their are millions of kids like Cruz in America today, and we can’t help them all. Nor can we stop them all from getting hold of assault weapons like the AR-15 he used to shoot up his old school. Not the way things are right now. We need to enact sensible gun legislation.
Gun advocates often bring up cars as an example of how we are hypocritical about the things that kill us, but actually they are the ones being hypocritical. First off, to drive a car you need a license, and training to get that license. That is required of every American who wishes to drive. Then, every single vehicle that goes on the road has to be registered and insured, annually. Before we can even purchase those cars they are subject to multiple safety regulations, and there are certain vehicles we simply cannot buy, at least not for use. Like military tanks. At the very least these have to be decommissioned before they can be owned by civilians. So why not place the exact same regulations on guns? Make certain guns and gun accessories off-limits right off the bat. Then, regulate the crap out of them, just as we do cars. And force owners to buy insurance on them. Given how often they kill people, it makes absolute sense to demand gun owners insure their firearms.
It’s time we stopped relying on Republican politicians and conservatives to do anything about this. They won’t. There’s too much money in it for them. It’s a sad statement on America that we’ve left it to kids to stand up for themselves, and that survivors of school shootings have now become political fodder for gun advocates. Imagine if they did this to survivors of sexual abuse. Imagine if they were saying things like, “These kids are just paid actors for the anti-abuse industry. We should listen to kids who weren’t molested and have them represent the issue of sexual abuse instead.” People would rightly be outraged. Why are these survivors’ suffering and outrage any less relevant than that of sexual abuse survivors? Why is their voice less valid than that of sexual abuse survivors? They’re kids too, and they’re also survivors. Attempting to silence and demean them is no different than attempting to silence and demean abuse survivors. It’s twisted and self-serving. We should be listening to them. They are the ones who will inherit this country. They will become our leaders some day. If we don’t listen to them then they will move on without us, and I can’t say I’d blame them. As adults, it is our job to look out for them, to protect them, and we’ve failed. Miserably. We need to remedy that now.