Tag Archives: March For Our Lives

Why not just ‘mend’ the 2nd Amendment?

President Gerald R. Ford thought he was appointing a conservative jurist to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975 when nominated John Paul Stevens.

Wrong, Mr. President. The justice turned out to be a liberal icon on the court. The retired justice has ignited a wildfire. He writes in a New York Times essay that it’s time to — gulp! — repeal the Second Amendment.

Justice Stevens is 97 years of age but he still has a razor-sharp mind. He’s a learned and brilliant man.

That all said, I happen to disagree with him on the need to repeal the amendment that says the “right to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

Stevens writes, in part: Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.

Read the entire essay here.

I don’t intend to suggest I can match Justice Stevens’s intellectual wattage. I just want to offer the view that the Second Amendment contains no language that I can identify that says it must remain sacrosanct.

With the March For Our Lives emboldening literally millions of young Americans to seek legislative remedies to the spasm of gun violence, I am going to cling tightly to the view that those remedies exist somewhere in the legislative sausage grinder. And those remedies can be enacted without repealing the Second Amendment.

I know what the amendment says and nowhere does it ban any reasonable controls on the purchase, sale or the possession of firearms. Gun-rights proponents keep insisting that any legislation that seeks to impose tighter controls on gun purchases launches us down some mysterious “slippery slope.” They fill Americans with the fear that the government is coming for their guns; they’ll be disarmed and made vulnerable to governmental overreach.

That is the worst form of demagoguery imaginable.

Surely there can be some way to allow “law-abiding Americans” to purchase firearms while keeping these weapons out of the hands of lunatics. This can be done under the guise of a Second Amendment guarantee that Americans can “keep and bear Arms.”

Bigger than Trump inaugural? Hmm

Let’s all wait for it.

Someone is likely to produce crowd-count estimates of the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., this weekend that well could deliver some startling news to Donald John Trump.

They well might declare that the March crowd was larger than the crowd that gathered for Trump’s inaugural speech in January 2017.

I have read some snippets from March organizers that suggest as much. Nothing yet from, say, the D.C. police about how many people were actually gathered in the nation’s capital to march against gun violence.

If it comes and someone in authority says that the president’s inaugural crowd was dwarfed by the March For Our Lives mass rally … well, I think we’re going to watch Donald Trump go apoplectic — yet again!

A sobering sign of today’s era

I was talking with the mother of one of the March For Our Lives organizers in Amarillo, Texas, when the thought recurred to me.

“You know something?” I said Saturday. “I never once — ever — had this conversation with my parents when I was in school. Not in grade school, junior high or high school. My mother never told me to to ‘stay safe’ when she sent me off to school.”

Indeed, Mom and Dad always assumed I would return home at the end of the school day. There never was a single thought that I ever remember that someone would open fire with a weapon in school.

Oh, how we have entered a new era.

The March For Our Lives event in Amarillo was just one of hundreds of other community events called to demand remedies to the gun violence that has killed so many children, teachers and others.

Violeta Prieto, the mother of Carla Prieto — an Amarillo march organizer — responded to me that neither did she have that discussion with her parents. And she graduated from Palo Duro High School just 21 years ago, in 1997. I reminded her with a chuckle that “I am a whole lot older than you are.”

We would take part in fire drills and those once-quaint “duck and cover” drills to prepare us to respond to a possible nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. It was the “cold war” back then. Those drills don’t seem quite so quaint these days in light of recent international developments … but, I digress; more on that another time.

Today’s students and their loved ones are facing a potential “hot war” in the fight to eradicate gun violence in our schools and other public places.

And while I’m on this topic, I must share with you that we have members of our family who likely are having — or will have — discussions with young children that we never dreamed of having. I don’t recall talking with our now 40-something sons about gun violence when they were in school; they graduated from high school in 1991 and 1992.

So … this is new to us. It is chilling in the extreme to wrap our heads around the potential danger facing our children in communities throughout the country.

I join them in their fright.

‘We are not anti-gun!’

Of all the public pronouncements I heard today at the start of the March For Our Lives, one of them stands out foursquare in front of the rest of them.

“We are not anti-gun!” came the proclamation from an elevated stage calling the crowd to order as the march was about to commence.

It came from one of the student organizers who had rallied hundreds of Texas Panhandle residents, summoned them to Ellwood Park, where they would take their march through downtown Amarillo, Texas, to the Potter County Courthouse grounds.

The March For Our Lives took places in communities throughout the United States. It was spawned by the Parkland, Fla., high school slaughter of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The “We are not anti-gun!” proclamation reveals a certain sophistication among the students who organized this march. The Texas Panhandle students clearly know the audience to whom they are preaching. They want an end to gun violence. They do not intend to argue for the confiscation of firearms. They know better than that.

They know they live in a community that supports the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s always fascinated me that the nation’s founders sought to codify certain civil liberties; they started with guaranteeing the right to worship, protest the government and a free press in the First Amendment; then came the Second Amendment, which establishes the right to “keep and bear arms.”

Texas Panhandle residents take their Second Amendment rights seriously. Well, at least a lot of them do.

Thus, the March For Our Lives organizers sought to tell the marchers — and some onlookers who had come to Ellwood Park — about their intentions in staging this march.

They want “common sense” legislative remedies that assure that the Second Amendment remains viable. They say they have no intention of lobbying for repeal of the amendment. They want to assure the right to own firearms remains written in our nation’s government framework.

I haven’t yet heard of any proposed solutions that deny Americans the right to possess firearms. I also applaud the organizers of our local event for making clear that they intend to retain that right.

They simply have seen too many young people — just like themselves — gunned down while they are studying in school, a place where one can presume they would be safe.

They aren’t. The students who marched today want our politicians to do what they to ensure safety and to end the national scourge of gun violence.

Responsible for deaths? Nope!

I have to share with you a comment that came to me today after I posted a blog on today’s March For Our Lives in Amarillo, Texas.

I don’t like doing this, but I feel the need to share with you a point of view that is highly critical of yours truly, and it also accuses me of something I’ve never before heard.

Here it is, in part:

The writer of this article, with his slant, is partially responsible to the moral decline that has lead to children being killed and rights having been eroded.

You are accountable as a public writer, and I hold you responsible for lying to our youth and ultimately getting them killed.

I do not know the author of this comment. That is, if I do know who it is, the writer didn’t reveal his or her identity to me.

The item I posted on High Plains Blogger offered a word of encouragement to the several hundred marchers who trudged from Ellwood Park to the Potter County Courthouse in downtown Amarillo. They gathered and marched to protest the gun violence that has taken too many young lives in our country; the marchers want change and they want it sooner rather than later.

I don’t mind criticism of the items I post. I welcome it if it is constructive and well-reasoned. Most of it is. This item, though, isn’t. It ascribes some really nefarious consequences to my little ol’ blog.

As for who is responsible for causing the deaths of young people, my inclination is to lay that blame at the feet of those who support unrestricted gun ownership, believing that the Second Amendment guarantees it. These weapons do have a way of ending up in the wrong hands … you know?

Maybe I should feel somewhat — more or less — flattered that the individual who responded to this blog thinks I have that kind of influence on our society.

I’ve never seen myself as having such stroke. I like to think High Plains Blogger is able to have some impact on elements of the human condition. But to suggest that it is partly responsible for the deaths of young Americans, well … that’s going a bit far. Don’t you think?

I have no real ulterior motive in sharing these thoughts with you. Perhaps you can read them in their entirety when you click on highplainsblogger. com — which I invite you to do.


With that, I believe I’ll go about the business of coming up with other topics on which to pontificate.

They marched for a cause that could make history

They came. They marched. Perhaps they have added even more sizzle to a growing movement among young Americans.

I’m guessing a crowd of about 300 or so Texas Panhandle residents gathered today at Ellwood Park in Amarillo. From the park they marched toward the Potter County Courthouse, where they would bring a message of fear, anger and perhaps a healthy dose of hope to those in power who are willing to listen to their message.

It is this: We are tired of gun violence and we are tired of being afraid in our public schools.

It was a March For Our Lives, carried out by the Texas Panhandle “chapter” of a movement spawned in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School slaughter of 17 students and staffers in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine’s Day. Parkland is the latest in a growing list of American communities scarred by gun violence on a mass-murder scale.

The students there went to Washington today to protest on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. They want legislative change. They want stricter gun regulations.

But as the organizers in Amarillo noted today while commencing their march to the County Courthouse, “We are not ‘anti-gun.'” They do not intend to confiscate guns from responsible owners of firearms. They simply want what they call “common sense change” in the nation’s gun laws.

Violeta Prieto was one of the marchers who came to Ellwood Park. She is showing support for her daughter, Carla, one of the Caprock High School honor students who organized the Amarillo march. One of her sons, a middle-school student, said he came to the march “because my mom made me.” He’ll get the message that’s being delivered; of that I am quite sure.

“I am afraid to take my kids to school,” Prieto said. “I cannot know what will happen” any day here children are in school, she said.

“I want more control and I want to end this easy access to guns,” she said.

Prieto is a 1997 graduate of Palo Duro High School, an institution with some gun-violence history of its own. A student at PDHS opened fire in 1992, injuring six fellow students before he was arrested. Prieto said her older sister, who was attending PD, remembers the incident “very well.” The shooting occurred a couple of years before Prieto entered the high school, “but I remember it, too.”

“I support my daughter all the way,” Prieto said. “She is our future. All those kids are our future.”

To be sure, not everyone at the Ellwood Park gathering was singing off the same page in the proverbial hymnal. I chatted briefly with a couple of young men, one of whom was carrying a Confederate flag, the other a “Don’t Tread on Me” banner.

I asked if they were there to “counter protest.” One of the young men, whose name I didn’t get, said: “Oh, no. We’re here for the same reason. We want to end gun violence, too. We just believe there’s another way to do it.”

He said the emphasis should be on ending the bullying, making schools more secure, safer and “enforcing the laws we have already.”

The young men didn’t march with the rest of the crowd. When the marchers started walking away, they went to their vehicles and drove off, presumably to the courthouse — perhaps to listen and make their own statements heard.

My wife and I didn’t stay for the march. I wanted to get a feel for the Ellwood Park crowd’s mood and its sense of hope. I saw a lot of smiles and expressions of guarded optimism that we well might be seeing the dawn of a new era.

Even here. In Amarillo, a community not known as a hotbed for community activism. However, times — and communities — can change.

A new day might bring a new era

As I write these few words, we’re about 15 hours or so from sunrise on a new day in the Texas Panhandle.

We intend to mark the day in a way I never thought would occur. We’re going to Ellwood Park sometime Saturday morning, look for a place to park our car and we’re going to visit with what I hope is a large crowd of marchers.

I’m not sure I intend to actually join the March For Our Lives. I do intend to bring my notebook, a pen and that trusty camera on my cell phone. I intend to talk to young people, some of their parents and perhaps an onlooker or two (or three) to get a sense of what they hope to accomplish.

The March For Our Lives is a national event that has washed over Amarillo. Caprock High School students are taking the lead on organizing the local event; they have the support of their teachers and, I’ll presume, their parents.

It’s not too much of a stretch to wonder if this march portends a new era, whether it signals an awakening among young students who feel endangered by the threat of gun violence.

By now you know that the March For Our Lives was spurred by the slaughter of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The students are outraged, enraged and, yes, frightened. To their huge credit, they aren’t letting their fear overcome them. Many of these Douglas High School students are going to march on Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, their high school-age brethren are marching in streets throughout the country. I saw a map on TV showing communities where March For Our Lives is staging demonstrations; the map was covered with dots denoting such activity.

The students here who’ve taken up this cudgel deserve high praise. I intend to offer it to those I meet.

Amarillo will join the nationwide march. We’ll need to get there early enough to find some parking near Ellwood Park.

I’m looking forward to the new day. May it signal an awakening.

Is history about to repeat itself?

The comedian Bill Murray is old enough to remember the Vietnam War and the extreme tumult it created at home.

He writes that today’s uprising among young Americans reminds him of that earlier time, when young Americans marched in protest against a war that had become the classic quagmire.

According to CNN.com: “It was the students who made all the news, and that noise started, and then the movement wouldn’t stop,” he said. “I think, maybe, this noise that those students in Florida are making — here, today — will do something of the same nature.”

“Those students in Florida” have lit a spark among young people from coast to coast and all the areas in the middle of the country. A gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Fla. He killed 17 people, most of them students. Young Americans across the land are frightened about the prospect of gun violence erupting again and again.

They are going on a collective march Saturday. They’re calling it the “March For Our Lives.” It will be sweep across the nation. Amarillo will be one of the locations where young Americans will speak their mind, they will honor the victims who have fallen not just in Parkland, but in other venues for too long.

The Amarillo event will begin at noon Saturday at Ellwood Park and will wind its way to the Potter County Courthouse grounds. Students will call — they will demand — for action to be taken in Congress and in state legislatures. They want laws enacted that could deter future slaughters from occurring.

Prior mass murders — Columbine, Sandy Hook, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Orlando, Aurora — brought forth anger and misery. Presidents wept in public at the tragedy. Legislators introduced bills to be considered. But nothing happened.

Parkland appears to have been a more effective catalyst, or so it seems. It has produced a number of eloquent spokesmen and women, who happen to be among the younger generation of Americans. They are coming of age. Many of them already are eligible to vote and are pledging to use that power to bring the kind of change they seek in the halls of power.

Does that sound familiar? Sure it does. Bill Murray remembers how it was back in The Day, when young people marched along streets, demanding change in U.S. policy. That change came about largely because of those young Americans’ persistence.

The “March For Our Lives” can bring equally dramatic results. It will require an equal amount of persistence among those young people. It also will require that the rest of us pay attention.

‘March’ could signal a turning point for Panhandle

A lot of Texas Panhandle students, teachers, parents and just plain folks — and that includes yours truly — are hoping for a big weekend.

They’re going to gather around noon Saturday at Ellwood Park in downtown Amarillo. They’ll troop a few blocks east and a bit north to the Potter County Courthouse, where some of them are going to speak to what I hope is a large crowd of marchers and supporters.

It will be part of a national movement called “March For Our Lives.” Students all over America are organizing this event in their respective communities. Amarillo has joined them. Caprock High School students are taking the lead in organizing the local event.

Why is this potentially a big day? It could signal a serious turn in community attitudes about gun violence.

The “March” has been spurred by the Valentine’s Day slaughter in Parkland, Fla., of 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and staff members. The gunman is a former student who got expelled for bad behavior. Police arrested him and the local district attorney has charged him with 17 counts of murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty — even if the shooter pleads guilty in an effort to avoid a death sentence.

The Texas Panhandle isn’t known as a hotbed of progressive political thought. The majority of residents here make different political decisions; they support candidates who adhere to a more conservative view.

The “March” on Saturday well might produce a counter-demonstration or two. The marchers are going to lift their voices to seek legislative remedies in the Texas Legislature and in Congress that they hope could restrict the purchase of firearms.

I think it’s important to note that, as one of the Caprock HS student organizers said, this march isn’t intended to be an “anti-gun” protest. I am not hearing any organizers calling for repealing or a serious watering down of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. I am sure that pro-gun rights activists certainly see any change in gun laws as an erosion of Second Amendment rights.

The “March” is sure to embolden young people here and across this vast nation with a sense that their voices are being heard on an issue in which they have a direct stake. Indeed, they see themselves and their school-age brethren as being thrust in harm’s way.

They need to be heard. Let’s hope the rest of us hear them when they march through downtown Amarillo and plead for an end to the national scourge of gun violence.

The ‘next generation’ is stepping up

I am not inclined to bemoan the future of our country based on the behavior of those who comprise “the next generation.” I have sought over many years to give my younger fellow Americans the benefit of the doubt that they’ll step up when it counts the most.

We are witnessing the next generation doing precisely that as it relates to its fear and concern over gun violence.

A lot of Panhandle students are going to march this weekend from Ellwood Park to the Potter County Courthouse. They are part of a national movement called “March For Our Lives.” I read today that national organizers are expecting as many as 1 million marchers from coast to coast.

The Amarillo march is being organized out of Caprock High School, with students seeking to generate interest in communities far beyond Amarillo.

The catalyst is that slaughter in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine’s Day. A gunman killed 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This massacre was merely the latest in a horrifying string of such mass murders.

It has energized a generation of Americans. Some of them have become media stars. They have spoken with remarkable eloquence about their fear and their desire to see political leaders take action against gun violence.

These young people have taken the point in organizing these marches. They are giving older folks — such as yours truly — greater faith that our country is being taken over by responsible citizens. They are energized by what they deem to be a crisis. They are taking action. They are engaging in activities that signal good citizenship.

These concerns about “younger generation” go back many thousands of years. Quotations attributed to the Greek philosopher Plato lament how badly children behave, how disrespectful they are of their elders and how “they riot in the streets, inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”

Today’s youngsters make me proud and affirm my faith that our country will find its way well into the future.