What's Tony Thinking

from The March for Our Lives


Almost everyone, it seemed, had a sign of some sort. Many were home-made. Mine, displayed right, was provided by an artists collective that was giving away posters outside Elliot Bay Books, near the March starting point, Cal Anderson Park.

Some of the homemade signs/messages that caught my eye: “What Part of ‘Well Regulated’ Don’t You Understand?” (a reference to the 2nd Amendments linkage of the right to bear arms to a “well-regulated” militia.) Also, “Girls Clothing in Schools Is More Regulated Than Guns In America.” Or, “You Can Be Silent, But I Don’t Recommend It.” A ten-year-old had a sign that read, “Dear GOP, In Ten Years I’ll be Voting and I’ll be Running for Office. You’ll be Making Sandwiches.” Signs with a line through the words, “Thoughts and Prayers,” replaced by “Policies and Change.”

Lots of students, which was great to see. Lots of teachers too, with their own messages. Here’s one (photo right). Other’s said, “Guns Are Not School Supplies.”

The March was very inter-generational. As noted many students, but also parents, teachers, and grandparents.

I was too far away to hear the speakers or music either at Cal Anderson Park or Seattle Center, but I understand Dave Matthews and Brandi Carlisle both turned up to perform. Pretty quality stuff. Matthews has lost family members to gun violence.

The spirit of the event was friendly, but with an edge of anger — not at anyone present, but at the events that prompted the March. “Enough” and “Enough Is Enough” were frequent sign slogans, along with “No More” and “Never Again.” And one that said, “How Much of This Shit Do We Have To Put Up With!”

After the March I caught the D Bus in Queen Anne west of Seattle Center and headed back to Ballard. It was packed. But a friendly and cooperative spirit prevailed. At each stop calls rang out to determine if someone needed to get off and where in the sardine tin they were. A dozen kids would climb out to make room for the person who needed to exit. Then a dozen kids would climb back on. Everyone was cheerful about it.

Will events like this help? I think so. Especially if the students can keep pressing. They are compelling witnesses. And if people do vote, especially the 18 to 25 year olds.

My sense is that the NRA is being de-legitimated, seen for the extremists they are. I know they are smart operatives and well-organized, but the call for “Common Sense Gun Regulation” has lessened the culture-war aspect. It isn’t “Ban Guns,” it is “Regulate Guns.” And in fact, there are lots of gun owners who are not NRA members or supporters. They too support action, common sense gun regulation.

I walked with my friend, Sally Bagshaw, a member of the Seattle City Council. As we walked we pondered that so many of the perpetrators (the Austin bomber being the latest) are young men who seem to have a history of being shunned or bullied. I wondered aloud, “Is that new? Or is it worse now?” Sally thought not. What’s different is easy access to guns and, in particular, assault weapons. And what’s also different — what was once simply “unthinkable” isn’t any longer.

The old saw, “Guns Don’t Kill People — People Do” is too simple by half. When a gun is easily accessible to a disturbed or disgruntled or deeply isolated person chances of it being used to kill are magnified many times over.

Reports are coming in that the crowd in Washington, D.C. for the March for Our Lives exceeded the turn-out for Trump’s Inaugural. Well, that will get his Twitter tweeting.


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