March for Our Lives Against the Gun Lobby
By Robert Bernstein
Thousands gathered yesterday in De La Guerra Plaza for March for Our Lives. This was just one of hundreds of such rallies and marches across the US. Here are some of my photos.
This Movement began with the February 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed and seventeen more were wounded, making it one of the world's deadliest school massacres.
The rally included speakers who directly affected by recent shootings. One was a close friend of a victim of the Las Vegas mass shooting.
We have seen one mass shooting after another pass with little or no meaningful action by our elected officials. All that is offered are "thoughts and prayers". And a claim that it is "too soon" to talk about guns and gun control.
But this time is different. This time the young people have decided the grown ups are not doing their job. It is time to take charge. And they are doing so in a big way. They have organized marches and rallies. They have appeared on a range of television programs from "60 Minutes" to Bill Maher's "Real Time". They have met with government officials at all levels.
They have made it clear this movement will not end until students can go to school and focus on their education, not on their safety. Or lack of safety.
They have also made it clear this is not about politics as usual. They want sweeping policy changes that will end the tyranny of the NRA (National Rifle Association).
The NRA was once an organization of hunters and sport shooters who wanted to advocate for gun safety. In recent decades it has transformed into a lobbying arm of the gun manufacturing industry. Most NRA members are unaware of this change.
This gun manufacturers lobby has twisted the meaning of the Second Amendment in any way possible to promote increased sales of guns. As a side note, we have very few clues of what the Founders intended with the Second Amendment.
One current theory is that the "well organized militias" were actually Southern slave patrols. Poor white men in the South were forcibly conscripted into these patrols. Their job was to track down, capture and return slaves who escaped from wealthy plantation owners. We know that other parts of the Constitution were written to appease slave holding states.
One thing we do know is that the Founders never once mentioned these issues in regard to the Second Amendment:
1) Use of guns to protect personal safety or personal property
2) Use of guns to overthrow a possible future US government that had become tyrannical
This woman offers one helpful suggestion:
Treat guns like cars. A person must show they are competent. And the person must show they are insured. A person who is not mentally or physically fit cannot obtain insurance. And if someone is injured or killed there is compensation.
Young people were joined by teachers who want to focus on teaching, not becoming armed guards.
State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson gave a fiery speech at the end of the De la Guerra Plaza rally. She told the students to ignore claims that they were too young to understand the issues. They understand the issues perfectly. They need to get involved politically. She introduced and passed a law that allows students to pre-register to vote at age 16 so that they will be registered at age 18. She urged everyone to take advantage of this opportunity.
She emphasized the wisdom of the students who have focused on the fact that the tyranny of the NRA is the problem. That too many elected officials are bought and paid for by the NRA. The deeper root issue is the system of legalized bribery that was endorsed by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case and other related cases. That money is speech and that corporations are people.
Here is my video of Hannah-Beth Jackson's complete speech.
After that rousing speech, the young organizers urged everyone into the streets for a massive march up State Street. The crowd was overwhelming, rivaling the biggest marches ever in Santa Barbara.
Here is my video of the march where you can read some of the signs.