This has been a surreal experience. I wanted to write a column about the goals of “Never Again MSD;” specifically the laws the group wants passed.
Despite hours of investigation, I couldn’t nail it down. I honestly can’t find any specific proposal put forth by the group or anyone clearly speaking as an official spokesman. I found vague offerings.
“Run by survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. We are sick of the Florida lawmakers choosing money from the NRA over our safety. #NeverAgain”
— Never Again MSD, Facebook
They want a law against the NRA?
“We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives. ”
— NPR story
That’s what they want. But how? What laws will do that? What American school has ever been shot up by someone using an assault rifle?
“We have to vote people out who have been paid for by the N.R.A. They’re allowing this to happen. They’re making it easier for people like Nick Cruz to acquire an AR-15.”
— Cameron Kasky, reported as the founder of NA MSD
That’s a little more specific: vote out anyone taking campaign donations from the NRA. Except the NRA wasn’t who allowed the person allegedly classified as a “vulnerable adult due to mental illness” to pass a NICS check; that’s on the government which failed to report a prohibited person.
“The thing that caused me grief, the thing that had no right to cause me grief, the thing that had no right to happen in the first place, I have to do something actively to prevent it from happening to somebody else.”
— Emma Gonzalez
Fine. But what? Be specific.
David Hogg says he won’t return to school until gun control is passed. Does the Florida legislation not count, or does he demand Congressional action? And what specific law(s)?
Is Mr. Hogg speaking officially for NA MSD? Was he acting in an official capacity when — the group having adopted “Never Again” as a motto, with all its historical context — he posed for a B&W photo wearing an armband strongly reminiscent of the Third Reich?
(I’ve lived in Germany, and worked with someone who lived in Nazi Germany; that image creeped me out.)
“These AR-15s, they’re weapons of war. Going to school, you’re not going to war, you’re trying to get an education.”
“I’m not going back to school on Wednesday until one bill is passed.”
— Chris Grady
Again, what one bill? In this context, is he demanding a ban on AR-15s? Would that be Colt AR-15s, or any AR-pattern rifle? He speaks of “weapons of war;” does he understand that semiautomatic AR-pattern rifles are not generally issued by any country in the world to its regular troops?
“We’re just trying to just not let seventeen of us get shot in the fucking face again.”
— Cameron Kasky again
Fine. How? WHAT LAW(S) are you demanding? Speak up.
NA MSD supports the “March for Or Lives,” with equally indistinct goals:
“March For Our Lives is a movement dedicated to student-led activism around ending gun violence and the epidemic of mass shootings in our schools today. On March 24, we will take to the streets to demand that our safety become a priority. ”
— March for Our Lives
How? What are your specific proposals?
Vague platitudes. Smoke and mirrors; mostly wispy smoke. Nothing solid. I see a bunch of well-meaning children (“He had thought of the name, he later told me, ‘while sitting on the toilet in my Ghostbuster pajamas.’ “) trotted out by the media to spout convenient sound bites seemingly in support of anything on the victim disarmament wishlist, while avoiding getting pinned down on anything that can be rebutted. When someone else proposes something, one or another of the kids — speaking officially? not? — utters a sorta “me, too” without explanation.
I invite Never Again MSD to write a guest column which I will publish here unedited, in which you can get specific. Tell the world what you want and how you want to accomplish it. This your chance to speak directly to the gun owners you want to persuade. Make the most of it. I suggest you consider the following points, but do as you will.
- Who is your official spokesman?
- Who does not speak officially for your group?
- Are you aware of the historical context of “Never Again” and the Shoah?
- What new laws do you want?
- Purchase age limits?
- Weapons bans? How broad or narrow; which weapons? Why?
- Universal background checks?
- Expansion of prohibited person categories?
- Gun-free school zones?
- Armed personnel in schools? Who?
- Policies that allowed the MSD shooter to go unreported by authorities?
- “Fix NICS”?
You may send your column to The Zelman Partisans HERE, at info_@_zelmanpartisans_DOT_com, or to me directly at bussjaeger_@_zelmanpartisans_DOT_com.