Opinion: Young people speak their minds

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On March 24, I joined thousands of others in Santa Fe for the "March For Our Lives" to protest the epidemic of gun violence in America.

The first speakers at the Plaza were the adults, including the Mayor of Santa Fe (Alan Webber), but they were soon shouted down with cries of "We want to hear the kids!"

About 20 students from various regional high schools were sitting on the podium awaiting their time to share. And when they did, they inspired, humbled and amazed the crowd with their passion and eloquence.

I've been around children professionally for more than 30 years, but nothing prepared me for what I heard that day. These students believe that we, as adults, have failed them.

They will not accept as normal attending schools that have been transformed into barricaded prisons. They will not allow themselves to spend four years being terrorized every time they hear a bell ring and wonder if they will not get home alive.

They are tired of lockdowns, active-shooter alerts, drills to block the doors and to hide under their desks. They are heartbroken that they might have to attend the mass funerals of their friends. As one girl said, "We feel more like survivors than kids."

Most important, they will not support the arming of teachers.

Although they read from written speeches, it was impossible to doubt the sincerity of these young people. Many wept as they spoke.

They are aware, too, of the vicious accusations they and national leaders, such as Emma Gonzalez have received from the NRA and its supporters. One complaint is that they, as children, should shut up, sit obediently in their classrooms and get back to learning.

Well, they've learned all right. They have learned that their so-called "leaders" in Congress are gutless cowards who care more about the blood money they receive from the National Rifle Association than the lives of our children.

They have learned that when you speak truth to power in this country, the blowback is ugly, relentless and dehumanizing.

They have learned that the NRA has degenerated from an organization that once focused on gun safety into some kind of rabid cult that values weapons of mass murder over their safety. They have learned that the Second Amendment of the Constitution has been corrupted and misinterpreted to allow anyone, no matter how mentally unbalanced, to obtain a military-style assault weapon that can kill or maim 500 people in the space of minutes.

Mass movements are sparked awake by those who appear at the right moment in history. The Civil Rights struggle exploded when the then-unknown Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat.

The #MeToo movement arose when several women decided they would expose the depredations of Harvey Weinstein. Now, our young people are rising up and demanding, "Why aren't you protecting us? What do you care more about guns than our lives?"

Surprisingly, this is not an anti-gun rant. Guns don't bother me.

I have friends with arsenals in their homes. I have always supported hunters and hunting and even earned a "Marksman" certificate from the NRA when I was kid at summer camp where I enjoyed my time at the rifle range.

What I am condemning is a mentality that values guns over people and the craven corruption of our government that allows itself to be bought by lobbyists and the insane idea that AR-15s and other mass murder weapons are legitimate for civilians.

The Founding Fathers of the Constitution were highly intelligent men who were guided by the values of the Enlightenment. At the time they crafted the Second Amendment, state militias functioned as the National Guard does today, and even a trained soldier could fire only three shots a minute with a musket.

Were they to travel to the present and see the mass slaughters committed in our classrooms, I have no doubt they would have hurried back to their time period and reworded or even deleted the amendment in question.

That, however, is in the past. The present calls for our support of these amazing high school students who are indeed, marching for their lives. Despite the resistance to young people speaking their minds, they aren't going away.

Even if our leaders are too corrupt to hear their pleas, the children of our country have claimed the moral high ground and will be immortalized by history.

Daniel A. Brown is an artist, writer and former public school teacher living in Arroyo Seco.

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Robert Andreoli

The author of this piece in his first sentence parrots one of the biggest lies in the anti-gun arsenal of lies by proclaiming there is a “epidemic of gun violence in America”. Lets take a close look at that using the FBI published Uniform Crime Statistics.

When the numbers are broken down to there basic elements it turns out that in a population of 33O Million there are only about 4000 actual homicides by firearm. That’s about 0.000012% of our total population. That’s less than1 per 100,000 of the population. Hardly an epidemic. And to carry it even further, only about 400 of those homicides are committed with a rifle or shotgun. And to break it down even further the majority of the homicides are criminals killing other criminals in their ongoing drug wars..

The author then gushingly tells us how wonderful it is for a bunch of know nothing teens to stand up and read scripted speeches supplied to them by the anti gun lobby.

This pretty much sums up these children. Burt Prelutsky:

But even more troubling than their basic ignorance is their arrogance, which we have all seen on full display with the recent anti-gun demonstrations. Thousands of youngsters who have never even bothered to read the Constitution have shown up at venues around the country and on TV to lecture their elders on the danger of guns in the hands of law-abiding people. They are so incapable of thought, they never even pause to wonder if gun-free zones might not be an overwhelming temptation to the demented among us who are out to bag their limit of innocent victims. ... Because they are whizzes when it comes to computers and phones that do everything but cook their meals and do their laundry, they regard themselves as superior to those who managed to not only drive stick-shift cars but to repair them. The fact that they grew up using these modern tools has somehow convinced them that they're as smart as the brainiacs who invented them. It would be like you or I thinking we were the equal of Thomas Alva Edison because we'd mastered turning on a light."

The author of this letter then attacks the NRA with a bunch of nonsense that has no factual content. Nothing but his personal opinion because he doesn’t like the fact that the NRA and it’s six million members and millions of supporters have the audacity to stand up for their beliefs and constitutional rights.

It’s obvious that this writer knows very little about our constitution and second amendment and next to nothing about firearms. The AR15 (Armalite Rifle) is no more a killing machine than any other self loading firearm. It is not an assault rifle nor is it a weapon of war. He also seems to think that the un-organized militia has something to do with the National Guard. And suggests that because they only had muskets when the 2nd amendment was written that the 2nd is no longer valid. Using that logic he should have written his letter on parchment paper with a quill pen and ink and had it delivered by a guy on horseback.

He then ends his letter by claiming that our political leaders are

corrupt because they wont do the bidding of these scripted and mislead children.

Robert Andreoli

Arroyo Seco

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