Thursday, February 22, 2018

Stoneman Douglas town hall

I only caught bits and pieces of Wednesday evening's CNN town hall "discussion" about guns in the aftermath of the Parkland, FL high school shooting (You can watch it here).

The gathering was essentially an exercise in young people lecturing us on how the likes of GOP politicians and members of the National Rifle Association are complicit in the deaths of their fellow students. And as is custom in a lot of these "discussions," there was little diversity in the questions. That is, the statements/questions were all slanted towards banning guns as opposed to realistic solutions which will allow law abiding Americans to remain armed while also passing substantive legislation to prevent additional mass shootings.

I have just a few other observations:

- Florida GOP senator Marco Rubio was lauded for taking a tremendous amount of heat from those who obviously differ with his staunch pro second amendment stance. And while I concur that Rubio answered every question/comment/slander in his usual dignified manner, his mere presence shouldn't be applauded too loudly. After all, he's a sitting U.S. senator from the state where this latest mass shooting occurred. Appearances like this are part of his job. All that said, how many "progressive" senators today would make an appearance at a town hall gathering among a group of staunch pro life supporters?

- In the week since the shooting, many of the Stoneman Douglas High School students have been given a platform by major media outlets to convey their thoughts on the tragedy. And while the vast majority of kids have been of the mindset that guns should be banned and the NRA had blood on its hands, the "gun rights" folks need to be more measured in their responses. Factual refutations are completely appropriate. Character assassinations are not. For all the chiding this generation of kids receives for allegedly being "snowflakes," what the Stoneman Douglas students dealt with last week was more horrific than what many adults have ever endured. Let the kids vent.

- At one point Florida's Democrat senator, Bill Nelson, acknowledged that perhaps it was a mistake to not implement "gun control" measures in 2009 when the Dems had control of the White House, a majority in the U.S. House and a super majority in the U.S. Senate. However, there were a good number of moderate Dems in Congress at that point in time, so I'm still skeptical they would have been able to do anything of substance. Still, I wish they would have at least attempted to do so. Not only would that exercise have failed, the sole attention of Congress would have gone away from Obamacare.

- And finally, President Trump has thrown down the gauntlet by calling for legislation to more thoroughly address mental health, ban bump stocks and raise the age eligible to purchase a rifle to 21. He also indicated that he would be open to arming teachers, though that recommendation seemed rather vague. Does that mean all teachers should be trained to carry? If so, that's a non-starter for me. However, I definitely support some sort of "opt in" program where school employees who already have a conceal & carry permit be allowed to exercise their right. Such a law would also remove a school as a "gun free zone," which would likely be the most effective deterrent to mass shooters.


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