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Let students march

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By David Davis

This isn’t about taking away guns or repealing the Second Amendment to the Constitution, but there are far too many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, extended family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, fishing buddies, church members and teammates who are hurting from the loss of those people.

People question whether or not the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland should be granting interviews and marching in Tallahassee or later this month in Washington, D.C.

Verbalizing trauma is cathartic for them and maybe, just maybe, they will force an open, honest and painful debate the nation needs to have. I would feel better about them protesting if the George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg families and Oprah Winfrey hadn’t donated $500,000 to the March for Life movement.

I don’t mind members of the film industry exercising their American freedoms, but I don’t want to see the students’ right to free speech hijacked by the impurities of money and politics. I don’t want the pure, unadulterated voices of the students to be sullied and I don’t want money from the opposite viewpoint to come pouring in.

The March for Life should not be about money. If it is a truly grassroots movement; if enough people truly believe in the cause, then money is not needed. Money does not measure up against passion.

The Washington Post reported that the application filed with the National Park Service indicates the “March for Our Lives” will be March 24, although a location hasn’t been determined. The rally, organized by survivors of Feb. 14 school massacre in Parkland will have “sister marches” in other major cities.

The event will include “student speakers, musical performers, guest speakers and video tributes,” according to the permit application, with 14 Jumbotrons and 2,000 chairs. I suppose it is just the advancement of technology, but there was none of that at Woodstock in August 1969 when nearly 500,000 people showed up.

The application filed with the National Park Service indicates the “March for Our Lives” will be March 24, although a location hasn’t been determined. The rally, organized by survivors of the school massacre in Parkland will have “sister marches” in other major cities, organizers said, according to the Post.

But all of that follows student protests in Broward County and at the state capitol in Tallahassee.

Following the rallies, Gov. Rick Scott announced a comprehensive plan to keep students safe in Florida, including suggestions to raise the minimum age to buy a gun, keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill and ban the sale of bump stocks. (See the complete list on page 9A).

So, what took so long, governor? Why not make a comprehensive plan after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando? Was because the victims there were mostly gay [who run counter to family values] and the shooter was not mentally impaired, but a Muslim.

Part of the governor’s plan exempt law enforcement officers and the military from the age limit? Does anyone remember the four Kent State students who were killed May 4, 1970, by the Ohio Nation Guard? It was ironic that the students were protesting because they didn’t want to get killed in Vietnam. And what about the deputy who stood outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while shots were fired? Being in the military or a law enforcement officer does not automatically make someone responsible.

While the governor’s actions are way past due, I’m glad he made them, but I’m still not voting for him when he runs for the Senate. It’s the same as waiting until after Hurricane Irma before trying to figure out how to make fuel available on I-75. Why not use a little foresight?

I just hope that just for once we will all climb down from our molehills and “we” will quit living and dying by what “I” want or what “I” think is right or what “I” think is true or what is good for “me.”

Instead, let us climb the mountain of compromise and ask ourselves: What is good for the community?