Why I Was Not Enthusiastic About the ‘March for Our Lives’

Crowds of people hold signs on Pennsylvania Avenue at the "March for Our Lives" rally in support of gun control, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Washington.

By Michael Brown Published on March 25, 2018

A colleague wrote to me on Saturday, “I hope you’ll be writing some positive reports about the massive rallies for gun controls – it’s a pro-life position!” I wish I could, but I can’t. The “March for Our Lives” was hardly a non-partisan, pro-life event.

To be clear, whenever I write about guns and gun control — which is not often — I get blasted from both the left and the right because I don’t have a personal dog in the fight.

I have no problem discussing the possibility of new gun control laws. And I have no problem discussing the possibility of arming teachers. I’m all for whatever will save the most lives without violating our Second Amendment rights. Let’s have a constructive, honest discussion, and then let’s take action.

We all agree that we have a problem with gun violence in America. The question is: How do we fix the problem?

Two Shootings, Two Different Outcomes

The massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida sparked a national outcry for new gun laws to be passed. But this horrifically tragic event only took place because of massive failures in our existing system.

Simply stated, if our current laws had been enforced and if law enforcement had properly done its job, mass murderer Nicholas Cruz would not have owned a single fire arm. The system would have flagged him, any guns he already owned would have been confiscated, and he would have been the last person to get near that school.

Why, then, make this massacre the cause célèbre for gun control?

Barely one week ago there was another school shooting. But this time, the shooter was shot and killed by an armed-resource officer after wounding two students. (One of the students, 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey died Thursday night.)

As The Stream’s Liberty MacArtor pointed out: 1) “The Shooter Possessed a Handgun Illegally, Despite Maryland’s Strict Gun-Purchasing Laws”; 2) “Maryland’s Ban on High Capacity Magazines and Assault Weapons Didn’t Stop The Shooting”; and 3) “An Armed Resource Officer Stopped the Shooter and Saved the Day.”

Did this spark a national call for the presence of trained, armed resource officers on every campus?

To be sure, the casualties in the Maryland shooting were dwarfed by the numbers in Florida (one killed, one wounded, compared to 17 killed and 14 wounded). But those numbers might have been much closer had the shooter not been killed first.

Yet very few voices, comparatively speaking, were raised in favor of having trained, armed personnel present at our children’s schools. This was not high on the left’s agenda.

The March for Our Lives Was a Partisan Event

As for the March for Our Lives (along with the student walkout several days earlier), this hardly took place in a vacuum. And that, for me, is why I can’t be enthusiastic about the event, even though: 1) I’m glad to see people (especially young people) standing up for a cause; 2) I appreciate the grief and anger of victims of gun violence; and 3) as previously stated, I’m open to any constructive discussion about ways to reduce gun violence.

Unfortunately, the March for Our Lives is part of a partisan political battle (see the relevant comments of Parkland student Kyle Kashuv).

As noted by Jarrett Stepman, who attended the event for the Daily Signal, “It may seem painfully obvious, but it is worth noting the march in Washington was clearly a left-wing protest. … The pink hats from the 2017 Women’s March made a widespread reappearance, as did numerous anti-Trump or generally anti-Republican signs. The crowd was certainly not a representative slice of what the country as a whole thinks about gun control, nor did it represent the opinions of most young Americans.”

Protestors even held signs declaring, “Stop Making Laws to Control My Body. Make Laws to Control Your Guns.” So much for this being a “pro-life” event – at least, in the fullest sense of the word. (Was the march named to contrast with the annual pro-life, anti-abortion, “March for Life”?)

And that, again, is what concerns me: The debate about gun control is so highly politicized that it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion.

Seeking a Rational, Common Ground

On the one side, a March 2, op-ed piece in the New York Times claimed, “The students of Parkland are like veterans coming home from the bloody front of the N.R.A.’s de facto war on children. They’ve seen their friends, teachers and coaches gunned down in the halls. To them, powerful Washington lobbyists and United States senators suddenly look like what they are: cheesy TV spokesmodels for murder weapons. It has been inspiring and thrilling to watch furious, cleareyed teenagers shame and vilify gutless politicians and soul-dead lobbyists for their complicity in the murders of their friends. Last week Wayne LaPierre was reduced to gibbering like Gen. Jack D. Ripper in ‘Dr. Strangelove’ about a ‘socialist’ takeover and ‘hardening’ our schools. You could see the whites all around his irises. That look is fear.”

On the other side, on the day of the March for Our Lives, the NRA posted on Facebook, “Today’s protests aren’t spontaneous. Gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment and strip us of our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones.”

In my view, the truth is somewhere between these two statements. (Yes, I’ll get bashed from both sides for stating this; so be it.)

And that’s why I couldn’t get enthusiastic about the March for Our Lives. The important issues it raised and the passion it expressed were dangerously mixed with radical-left politics. And that is not the way to solve our gun-violence problem.

It may draw headlines, but it won’t solve our very real problems.

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  • Tex Taylor

    Once again, the Left of America who has controlled the culture in this country for at least 50 years, wants us to turn the blind eye to the coarsened culture that has created this phenomenon. These high school kids who have enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame which is now up, are little but pawns for Leftist political activists.

  • Jon H

    Tex,
    I agree. The left also has chosen to ignore the ineptitude of the FBI (We are profoundly sorry!! -can you believe this “apology” was accepted??), the Parkland school district, plus the Broward county sheriffs department, and chosen instead to vilify the NRA and law abiding gun owners. The law enforcement list is long (FBI -Charleston, Parkland) the US Air Force (Sutherland Springs), mental health reporting (Colorado, New Mexico). The left’s answer is always – lets have a discussion and then do whatever we want will not fly. GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCE is not a reason for more laws and regulations. Prosecute the laws we have now, fill up the jails with firearms felons starting today!

  • Arnold Kropp

    Go back to the 60’s and the hippie movement, the drug culture, the rise of feminism in the 70’s, the freedom of abortions marched on, entertainment dominating the culture and here we are in the 21st century witnessing its explosion as the youngsters of the 60’s became our leaders and regulators. We appear to be heading toward the return of Sodom: selfishness and “I’ve got my rights to live my life and to hell with you.” The Church as a whole has been sitting by watching, changing, adapting to the culture. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” has been changed to: “Do it to others before they do it unto me.”

  • tamkae

    Hard data shows that most of the deaths via guns is due to suicide and gang violence. Looking at the mass shootings in America, you can see that most of them stem from domestic violence disputes, bullying, mental illness, political ideology, etc. The violence in America is a cultural problem, not a gun problem. Previous generations had more guns per capita in their homes, with children being taught to use them in a safe manner, without the type of gun deaths we have now in America. With over 300 million guns in private hands in America, if guns were the real problem, you would know about it.
    Gun control laws are unique. In no other area of public policy are there proposed solutions to criminal acts that are aimed at people who haven’t committed crimes or shown any inclination to do so. Likewise, no other discussion of the misuse of free will focuses on inanimate objects, such as cars, where 29 people are killed by drunk drivers every day (also a criminal act). Every gun control measure taken is an infringement on our supposedly protected rights, as stated in the 2nd Amendment.
    As long as the public discussion revolves around taking away guns, rights, or property from people who use them responsibly, we will make no progress. There are serious options under discussion, however, that can keep our schools and public places safe. It is time to turn our attention to those options, rather than continuing to push the same tired gun control points that have been argued for decades. We cannot continue doing the same things, expecting a different outcome. That’s insanity.

  • Supertx

    We all know what this is, but how to proceed? I suggest we move forward in encouraging our local schools to come up with safeguards other than gun control laws in the meantime, rather than allowing an agenda to stop us from making some common sense changes.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    This is perhaps the most desperate effort to recruit democratic voters in modern history.
    The convoluted thinking that ignores the reality of “bad guys” vs “good guys” when violence erupts w/in the arena of the innocents is unprecedented. It is also the same kind of premeditated ignorance & stupidity it takes these days to vote democratic.
    That in spite of appearances to the contrary is not a partisan sentiment. It’s just plain common sense …!

  • Paul

    Michael, when you finally wake up and realize that Martin Niemöllers famous quote applies in this situation, maybe then you will stop peddling the falsehood that you have no personal dog in the fight.

    • eddiestardust

      Oh my gosh, May God have mercy on you. Do you live on Mars or something? Honestly, if you don’t realize that at any point in time, you could get hit walking down the street then you really need your head examined!

  • Chris in NC

    Was there even ONE person that spoke at ANY of these protests who thought that maybe, just maybe, at least a part of the problem has to do with throwing God out of our schools all those years ago?
    When I was a kid every house I would go in had a loaded gun sitting in plain sight. But nobody ever thought to take one to school and shoot the place up because somebody upset/offended them.
    Like most real problems in this world – if this mess could be fixed simply by people it would already BE fixed. But as long as everyone believes they have no need of God to solve this trouble I don’t see it getting any better.

  • 0pus

    “Young” is insufferable enough without adding in “self-righteous.”

  • NellieIrene

    You have hit the proverbial nail on the head. This movement is not espousing a “pro-life position” for all the reasons you list. It is an anti-GOP rant, as Kyle Kashuv, stated in the link you provided. Nothing more. Nothing less. Those behind this movement aren’t interested in protecting school children. If they were, they would be addressing the actual failures that allowed the tragedy in the first place. And ensuring that it never happened again by putting stringent security in place at schools around the nation.

  • Patmos

    The march wasn’t a march for lives, it was a courting of votes for the midterms.

    • Kelly B

      Bingo!

  • Bojaws Dubois

    Children traumatized over and over again while we do nothing. Biff yawns.

  • tz1

    This is like saying that because some idiots engaged in Gay-Bashing that we needed Obergefell and we need to destroy businesses that won’t cater to their weddings.

    Fr. Vincent Micelli wrote “The Roots of Violence” a half century ago. It was prophetic. Basically it was rejection of the TRUTH.

    But America has a VIOLENCE problem, not a gun problem. If it was a fire or toxin, would you feel better? Why do you not accept the mandate to defend YOUR self and family, which would require a gun?

    The rampant slaughter of innocents isn’t even discussed. How many dead children in the very county in clinics so far this year? I suspect more than 17.

    Can we have a common sense discussion on abortion? No. “What do we want? Dead Babies! When do we want them? Now – even 9 months!”.

    No, owning a gun is a pro-life issue. My life, and the lives of my dear ones need protection and I am NOT willing to give that up to the bloody abortion holocaust state proxy. Ask the souls of the German Jews in the 1930’s.

    Yet you have rendered yourself defenseless already – intellectually. You want to so badly split the difference that you reject common sense to give liberals the right to violate fundamental natural and human rights so you can virtue signal and feel good. Sell your soul if you want, but don’t confiscate mine in the deal.

    • Paul

      “Sell your soul if you want, but don’t confiscate mine in the deal.”

      Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, I’m living the result here in California of too many conservatives wishy washy on the second amendment.

      • tz1

        That is my point. As to California, if it doesn’t split into separate states soon, you should leave Sodom.

        • Paul

          I do hear that a lot, if/when God so leads we will follow.

          • Chip Crawford

            Don’t wait as long as Lot …

          • Paul

            If you think there are less than ten God fearing people in California then you need to check your bias.

          • Chip Crawford

            I actually don’t – either one.

    • RSK

      America has a lack of respect problem. Coupled with a penchant for violence reinforced by the media, games and movies, creates the volatile issues ALL AROUND not just those ending in gun violence.

      • tz1

        Exactly.
        “Common sense” solutions to treating the symptoms are often counterproductive to treating the causes. If you have cancer, then treating the pain until it advances until stage 4 is likely to kill you.

  • tz1

    I shall ask though I think I know the answer.
    How many students at the SAME SCHOOL committed SUICIDE in the previous three years?
    Why? I think more teens kill themselves than are killed.
    Should we do something about that?

  • Hmmm…

    Thank you, Mr. Brown, for taking up the difficult issues of the day and working diligently to understand them, God’s words concerning and our place as Christians in them. You are one strong part of why many come here for some sense about all of it, some moorings. Thanks to you and others, that occurs.

  • RSK

    Any problem with gun violence is SUBORDINATE to a problem with respect. Those marchers need to remember there are 4 fingers pointing back at them, who have a greater ability AND Responsibility to affect change in their schools than government or school administrators by befriending and encouraging each other instead of competing for looks, tech, popularity, etc, and bullying, and other detrimental behaviors.

  • Ian

    As a liberal, I actually agree with Kyle Kashuv: it’s important to look at all sides and dig to find the policies that would actually affect change. But also as a liberal, I’d like to point out how a reaction this big isn’t simply us not listening: it’s us tired of listening, and seeing no actual action.

    Every time there’s a shooting, we follow the familiar pattern of “Thoughts and prayers (the correct and kind response), talk about gun control vs. alternatives for a week… but then nothing changes. Not even the alternatives are passed, or a new study on the problem to simply gather more data to inform experiments & policy.
    This pattern has continued, and festered, until finally now all those frustrated feelings are rising up and saying “Fine. If you’re not going to enact your ‘reasonable’ solutions, we’re demanding our uneducated ones.”

    If you endorse the alternatives covered by this site but have yet to call your representatives to tell them to increase funding to mental health programs, or to pass universal background checks, or simply fund gun death studies, or better enforcement, or whatever constructive solution you believe in, then you’re passively contributing to the more extreme solutions that you so despise. I deeply regret how an initially nonpartisan movement has been so quickly associated with the liberal perspective that people feel safe to slap every other liberal cause onto their signs for attention; but that doesn’t mean you should write the whole thing off as crazy either. If you do, you might get what you most fear, sort of like how we got Trump for writing him off.

    • Jon H

      Liberals – you included – continue to ignore government failure federal, state and local. New “common sense” laws are nothing but liberal feel good measures. Government ineptitude proves that.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      “But also as a liberal, I’d like to point out how a reaction this big isn’t simply us not listening: it’s us tired of listening, and seeing no actual action.”

      Thanks for the admission. You’re not listening. Only it’s not because there was no actual action done. It’s because not only are your ears closed but your eyes are too. Why? Because any action you don’t deem acceptable you do not see as action.

      “This pattern has continued, and festered, until finally now all those frustrated feelings are rising up and saying “Fine. If you’re not going to enact your ‘reasonable’ solutions, we’re demanding our uneducated ones.”

      And you don’t even see that as part of the problem.

      “If you endorse … then you’re passively contributing to the more extreme solutions that you so despise.”

      You talk about “increase funding to mental health programs, or to pass universal background checks, or simply fund gun death studies” etc. BUT Liberals do NOTHING do reverse that which has been PROVEN to be contributory to school shootings

      The hypocrisy is perhaps most clearly and profoundly seen in Hollywood. Hollywood actors/actresses get on the stages, walk in the protests, and shout their message of Gun Control while THEY are the very ones making movies with gratuitous gun violence. Musicians do the same with their lyrics and videos.

      I could go on and on with example after example but here’s the short of it. There IS a Culture of Death perpetuated in this Society. It is the height of hypocrisy to talk about the Sanctity Of Life and march in the streets over 17 students sadly killed when Planned Parenthood alone brutally butchers 900 of the most helpless, innocent of human life so they can be sold off for parts EVERY SINGLE DAY and many, if not most, of them march in the same streets DEMANDING abortion on demand without exception.

      Now we have movements to abort those with Down’s Syndrome, movements to “euthanize” the elderly, terminally ill, and even the depressed!! Yes, there has already been at least one who was killed because they didn’t wanna live anymore.

      That’s just two. It doesn’t even address the consequences of the determined, earnest, ardent, steadfast effort to remove God from any vestige of the public arena. As if taking out the Ultimate Moral Authority who first gave Man “Thou Shall Not Murder” is a smart move.

      Nor does it address another thing that God’s Word teaches us and that is Personal Responsibility. And with that comes Accountability. That there IS coming a day when ALL will stand before the Judge and give an account for their lives. No, rather today, Liberalism teaches that it’s always somebody else’s fault. There’s always an excuse and people do what they because they’re victims.

      Evidence that’s true? Just read your own words.

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