The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers
Have We Had Enough?
control. The unshakable stand of youth has loosened the chokehold of the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the gun control debate.
There have been visible and measurable signs of change regarding gun attitudes, policies and laws since the Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland. In the days
after the shooting, Citigroup, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kroger, LL Bean and REI announced changes in their policies from ending the sales of guns and
ammunition to raising the age of gun sales to terminating relationships with those in the gun business. Delta and United Airlines, along with Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise,
National and Avis-Budget, all ended their discount programs for NRA members. The same was true for MetLife, Paramount RX, Starkey Hearing Technologies, and
Symantec. No more insurance plans from Lockton Affinity and Chubb Ltd. No more NRA credit cards from Republic Bank or the First Bank of Omaha. Neither Allied
Van Line nor North American Van Lines will be moving NRA folks any time, any more.
The Florida state legislature passed a comprehensive school safety bill and Republican Governor Rick Scott has signed it into law. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker just
penned a weak bill aimed at school safety. Seven other states have tightened up existing gun laws or passed new legislation aimed at improving school safety. We
can’t count trump’s proposed ban on the bump stock yet because he’s such a two-faced liar.
These results are a good start, but it’s hardly a chink in the armor of the nearly 150-year old NRA, which boasts of five million members. With a half-billion-dollar
budget, the NRA has the political teeth to eat politicians up and spit ‘em out. It is said to be one of the top three influential lobbying groups on Capitol Hill where it has
influenced legislation and launched lawsuits to protect its self-interests, ran candidates and defeated candidates.
I am encouraged by the tactic to target the NRA and any elected official or candidate who accepts its blood money. The young people are registering their peers to
vote, making the November elections a litmus test of their endurance and strength.
The new activists who mobilized the March for Our Lives don’t have a full strategy figured out yet, but I can tell they have been paying attention to the movement
moments around them — like Black Lives Matter. They must be open to constructive criticism about how to move their agenda forward and build an inclusive
leadership for their budding crusade.
Chants “We call out BS” must be fortified with strategic actions because we know the NRA will not be brought to its knees with slogans. Young folks are now
leading the fight for gun control and they have made more progress than we’ve ever seen. The rest of us must follow their leadership and step up in places where
young people can’t.
In the local places were young people are struggling to move their issues in a strategic way, empowered adults can play a critical role. But we must be careful not
to take up space in these democratic circles. These young fighters will need much guidance and support in the ongoing battle for justice and peace. Yes, enough is
enough, but aspiration over frustration and action over talk is what will decisively move this issue forward.
Thousands marched in the streets of Madison led by young people and fueled by a collective yearning to see their future. Madison
was one of 800 “sibling marches” held around the world in solidarity with the outraged students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
School where 17 students were murdered, and several others injured. The March for our Lives is now one of the largest marches on
record in Washington, D.C.
The young people from Douglas High in Parkland, Florida did not start anything. They are adding their cries for justice with a blended
chorus that has cried out for generations. These young people must understand the soil of this country is soaked with the blood, sweat
and tears of many before them — fighting for their own righteous causes. From all appearances, the young organizers have some
understanding of this as evidenced by their connection of suburban school violence with urban street violence. Unscripted and
unapologetic, these phenomenal youth have pushed past their idealism towards egalitarianism.
In the relay race for human liberation, these students have accepted the justice baton for this next leg. Their voices and actions have
intensified the public conversation on gun violence. They have helped to accelerate a change in the hard-core narrative around gun