Sunday, May 27, 2018

God bless the children.

Quick, crawl under your desk. Duck and cover. Get into a crouch. Put your hands over your head. Run to the hall. Lay on the floor and hope.

Until the 1980's, American schools conducted nuclear strike drills to teach faculty and students what to do in the event someone dropped "the bomb." Someone like the former Soviet Union.

Today, schools run drills to prepare occupants to deal with an assault by a gunslinging student or random armed assailant. And as we've discovered, a school shooting is infinitely more likely to occur than an atomic incident. The drills to minimize the impact of a gunman are also far more effective than pretending we can prepare to survive nuclear devastation by covering our heads with wood.

Pogo, the comic strip character, said, "We have met the enemy and he is us." We Americans have proven to be more dangerous to each other than any foreign power or even terrorists. It's ironic that our nation established Memorial Day in the 1860's to remember the well more than 600,000 who perished in battle during our Civil War that same decade. Tomorrow, when we honor all those who died to protect America over more than two centuries, we also remember how we massacred each other in our war between the states, North and South. Families literally killing kin.

So far in 2018, the number of U.S. students killed in school shootings is greater than the number of U.S. military personnel who have been killed in combat operations. Thankfully, the kids aren't willing to accept that. Students from the Parkland, Florida high school where 17 died from semiautomatic gunshot wounds earlier this year, continue to push for change that will help prevent gun violence and related domestic terrorism. To start the Memorial Day weekend, some of the Parkland students staged a "die-in" at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Florida. Lying in the aisles, they shook up the retail giant, persuading it to withdraw campaign donations from a Florida politician running for Governor. He has received donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA). The students are fighting to liberate our gun debate from the influence of heavy donors with financial skin in the game. Publix pulled its donations to the gubernatorial candidate within just one day of the  protest.

"Dying-in" at a retail store to push for change is as important as drilling at school to improve responses to random attackers. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." (Matthew 5:9)  God bless the children who are blessing our nation with their courage. Peace.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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