Local Commentary

Editorial: Ban Assault Weapons, Nothing Less

The spontaneous surge of anger and resolve expressed by students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, survivors of the killing spree by a lone gunman that took the lives of 17 of their classmates on Feb. 14 last week, has spilled over the nation like a wildfire. These young students went through the trauma of that incident up close and personal, many certain they would lose their own lives, huddled in some cases for hours in close proximity to their friends who were dead and mutilated by the effects of a military assault rifle.

As such, they’re not afraid of anyone, much less the NRA, the evil courier of violent death presiding over a nation of despicable cowards under their influence. Their angry candor, many times spoken with an uncommon eloquence, has put to shame the politicians who have the blood money of the NRA spilling out of their back pockets while they attempt their usual dissembling, evading and double talking to do anything but cross their NRA masters.

Now, while many of them are reeling and looking for ways to ameliorate this rage with talk of reforms – all, incredibly enough, stopping far short of even banning assault rifles – including the President, the NRA and Trump machine’s cultural arm is hurling brutal verbal attacks against these students. When Donald Trump Junior “likes” on Twitter the filthy accusations of some far-right bottom feeders accusing the students of being paid actors, you are seeing the seamless coordination of this disgusting and immoral machine from top to bottom.

The pro-gun GOP in particular is fumbling into fomenting a political backlash the likes of which hasn’t been seen since at least the wake of Watergate, and maybe far more, still. Its attempt at containing the political tsunami that is burgeoning out of anyone’s control have been laughable.

It is in times like these that the most severe victims of the assaults of the last years, sparked into a level of retaliatory anger that is not grounded in a football game loss, but in an acute existential violation of personhoods, rise up and do not seek, but demand, justice and retribution. Thus it is in the purview of the violated and oppressed women and children of this nation to define our political future now.

It is almost sickening to watch grieving students and parents appealing to their oppressors for change in situations like this, to thank them for “listening.” It is only when these victims are speaking over the top of these tone-deaf politicians to the general public, in the form of calls to action, that their words resonate. No, Trump is never going to satisfy the raw emotions being felt across the nation right now. He’s the problem, not the solution.

Nothing short of a total ban on assault weapons in the hands of the public can serve as a starting point for meaningful progress on this issue. Nothing less.