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Sunday, February 18, 2018

What makes this one different?

I'm not going to name him.   As we are all aware now, several days ago a mentally disturbed individual walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire with a AR-15 rifle. 

It's a Sunday now, 17 people died and this shooting currently ranks 3rd or 4th in the history of school shootings as the most deadly.  I state currently because sadly, unless things change, their will be another.

My heart goes out to the families of course.  I have listened to the same old debate about "Now is not the time to discuss gun control."  I have heard the same old arguments about how it's our society that is somehow at fault.  Or the parents.  Things like this follow the same old tried and true pattern.   A tragedy happens, the politicians offer "Thoughts and Prayers", and then it drops. 

This one seems different.   Maybe it is. 

We had kids in the hall shooting video's.  We had live tweets.  Some have criticized them for this, stating, not wrongly, that they have tried to find a place to hide.  That these actions put them at greater risk.

What we have is a first hand account of horror.  Of young lives being taken.  Some of these video's were graphic, hard to watch....and you should watch them.  You should be shook up, shocked, angry, scared and wondering how this can happen.  And happen again....and happen again.

So what makes this shooting different.   Perhaps it was the mother screaming at Trump.  Maybe it was the kids themselves standing together and saying "This ends here."  Maybe its the times we live in, where anger seems to be at the forefront. 

Maybe because we live in a age where everyone is connected.   Republican politicians said the wrong things at the wrong time, following that script we all know so well.   Before they could say "Thoughts and Prayers" they were being attacked by the children that survived the attack.  Being asked very publicly why they were not being better protected.

At this time on March 24 they are talking about a March on Washington to demand change.  

This "change in the weather" does not seem to be organized by any group, their seems to be no organization behind it.  Just a bunch of pissed off kids who frankly have had enough.   It's about time too.

A cartoon that was savagely mocked
Even those on Facebook, whose lives seem fixated on one or two things, seem to understand their is a difference.   A stupid cartoon created and posted by a group called "Defending our second" went viral for all the wrong reasons.  Instead of making their point the group found itself on the defensive as many pointed out the budget for better defending the school had to come from somewhere, the issues of arming teachers (mostly safety) and that teachers often had to pay for their student's school supplies.   "Where," they mocked "would you get money for a Glock?"  It actually caused the site to go dark and when it came back up, the cartoon was removed. 

When you have young girls and boys who just lost friends, family and teachers calling you to task after a tragedy, it has a chilling effect on those that want to defend the right to bear certain types of arms.

The gun used was also the problem.  The AR-15 is a military style weapon whose only purpose is to kill as many people as it can in the shortest time frame.  It's been used in Orlando, Vegas and a dozen more places...and now Parkland. 

Frankly the right doesn't seem to know what to do here.  They are used to being on the defensive when it comes to this sort of thing.  Just not this style of attack, lead by children!  When a group of men in China attacked a train station, the right try to state that "People kill people, not guns."   Only to be met with "Imagine how many would have died if they had AR-15's?"
It seems that the children of this tragedy are changing the narrative.  That's not a bad thing.   Again it's a little change but something I've noticed.   Many posts are now going with the hashtag #massacreprevention instead of the old faithful #guncontrol.   It's a unique wording and speaks volumes about the change in narrative on the left.

All through Twitter and Facebook, I saw the following.   Again, I'm not sure where it started but the sentiment seems to be ringing very, very true. 

The children of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School led the charge.  Posting and tweeting and calling out the highest leaders of the state of Florida.   These kids are naming names and their anger might be enough to start a fire.

I  just hope they actually do bring about some sort of lasting and positive change.  I'm sure a few politicians on the right are going to change their tune.  You will see that in the next two weeks if the intensity of this anger keeps up.   To a politician, the pool numbers mean everything, and Donald Trump's egotism and issues have only exasperated a complex and sensitive issue for them.

Their is at least one Republican donor who has changed his tune already, and he is a good sized player in the state of Florida at least.  Al Hoffman is a critic of President Trump and a backer of the "Traditional Republican" party, having raised money and contributed to the Bush family.  His name does carry some weight and if he can persuade others to his way of thinking, expect some quiet and painful movement.

That however is part of the small civil war that has been going on within the Republican Party since 2012 and will continue for the foreseeable future.  It's also a battle that Donald Trump is currently winning (sort of, it's complicated) and really should be discussed somewhere in the future. 

Personally I think this time is different.   I think this time we will not follow the same old script.  This time I hope I'm wrong when I say this.

I don't expect anything to change.   

How that will affect things come November?   I can honestly say I don't know.


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