KIDS THESE DAYS
March For Our Lives SLC, March 24, 2018
My two favorite signs which, unfortunately, I did not capture in photographs, were:
MY TEACHER CAN'T EVEN HIT PAUSE ON YouTube. PLEASE DON'T GIVE HER A GUN
and more sobering:
I AM BLACK, A MUSLIM, AND A STUDENT. WHICH WILL GET ME KILLED FIRST?
Helen and I marched with the students and teachers—actually behind them where we and most of the other nominally-identified adults belonged. The event was well planned, well publicized and well executed. We witnessed peaceful protest, counter-protest and disagreement between participants in the March For Our Lives and the Utah Gun Exchange which hosted an event nearby. The police presence (SLPD and UHP) ‘appeared’ to be mostly for traffic control.
I found most compelling the zeal and commitment of the student organizers and participants, their understanding and articulation of the issues, the voter registration drive as part of the March as both a symbol of and the most significant mechanism for meaningful change, and the extraordinary Slam Poem written and delivered by Saida Dahir, a local high school student.
I posted a recent parody of a first draft of the Republican Platform 2018 Preamble. It included:
"We the Republican Party still believe in a form of American exceptionalism.
[Start with the fear thing. That strategy always works.] We the Republican Party believe the United States of America is unlike any other nation on earth:
• The United States of American, the bastion of freedom, incarcerates a significantly higher percentage of its citizens than any other country in the world—for important reasons. [Note: important to continue the GOP's historic policy of inculcating and maintaining a sense of fear, particularly of non-whites, and portraying the Dems as soft on crime. See below.]
• We the Republican Party aim to keep it that way—especially as it relates to racial minorities who, for important reasons [GOP is the tough-on-the-criminal-elements in our Country], make up a vastly disproportionate ratio of the prison population—through creative enforcement of the laws, particularly those which have the statistical effect of scooping up law-breaking [i.e., minority] populations. [Works with Trump’s fear mongering about Mexicans and others pouring across the southern border.] We champion such laws and enforce them for important reasons. [Have to come up with some reasons that pass the smell test. Circular argument if we just continue pointing out the makeup of whom we incarcerate. Then again, our base seems to prefer circular arguments.]
• The Republican Party is committed to assuring unfettered access to firearms of all types by all [whites only?] people of all ages. [LaPierre insists on this language, so we have to include it. Ties in with the dangerous-people-thing (minorities, illegals) strategy.] The United States of America has more guns per capita, by a significant margin, than any other country in the world. Why? Because we cherish our god-given personal freedoms including the divinely inspired Second Amendment. Yes, as a Christian nation, we are the most blessed.
• We the Republican Party believe the Second Amendment assures the god-given right of individuals to own, possess and use any type, quantity or caliber of firearm for fun, sport, safety, self-protection and, most importantly, as means to defend against illegal intrusions and overreaching by the federal government. [Chairwoman and Committee Members: We recognize this is stupid and dangerous and has no meaningful constitutional or even rational basis, but we take seriously the NRA’s threats of targeted attacks on any Republican who backs away from this position in any respect. The private-citizen-military-defense-against-the-federal-government argument is laughable, as anyone who takes on the federal government better have surface-to-air missiles, cluster bombs, RPGs, fighter jets, etc. Though we don’t think the Second Amendment can be stretched quite that far—despite the NRA’s lobbying and threats—no member of this Caucus is willing to risk a lower NRA grade.]
• The United States of America kills more people per capita with guns than any other developed country in the world, confirming the Republican Party’s hypotheses that (a) the United States of America has more dangerous criminals per capita than any other country from whom law-abiding citizens must have a lethal means of self-protection, (b) firearms are protecting us rather than killing us and (c) the number of guns is unrelated to the number of deaths by gun. [Statistics and rational provided by NRA. Seems somewhat circular but we can figure out a way to tighten up this language. Then again, our base seems to prefer circular arguments.]"
I have written about the Second Amendment in the wake of several recent mass-murders. Rather than add more to the discussion, I simply provide a link here to a post I wrote after the massacre in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, it continues to be relevant.
BLOOD SMEARED ALL OVER THEIR COLD DEAD HANDS
Shopping for Body Parts, Woodcut, 11.5” x 18”, Richard J Van Wagoner, 1992, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**
*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to lastamendment.com
*My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed nearly 500 pieces of my father's work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father's art reproduced in lastamendment.com are hers.
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