This week was the long awaited #walkout for what we were told was going to be the victims of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. And as expected, it either quickly devolved into an anti-gun rally or was planned to be one from the get-go. Either way, there are a few points that need to be discussed that are being overlooked as the media portrays the infinite wisdom of the children in attendance through an array of clever signs containing talking points echoed across social media in the gun control community. This was not a walk out for common sense, but rather a complete walk out of our common sense.
Which brings us to the first grievance regarding this debacle, the cloak of “common-sense” reform. Tune into any one of the hundreds of speeches that took place across the country, and within a few short minutes, you’ll undoubtedly hear the term “common-sense reform” tossed around. What is this common-sense reform? No one quite knows, and that’s part of its appeal. To you it could mean a ban on all semi-automatic weapons, but to me it could mean ending gun-free zones. It’s a political blank check. A wolf in sheep’s clothing meant to get those hearing it to put their guard down. It also has the added bonus of making anyone against “common-sense reform” appear as though they are against common sense altogether. Fortunately, that is not the case. Those of us who maintain our reason and composure recognize the importance definitions play in a discussion of opposing viewpoints. It’s one of the biggest reasons the gun debate gets nowhere, with words like “assault-style,” “full semi-automatic,” and “common-sense reform” all being used without a set definition of what they actually mean – sometimes meaning nothing at all. And with such a deep-rooted issue, where one side claims the right to life and the other the right to defense, not having clear, concise definitions can make things nearly impossible. With both sides arguing for their rights, this brings us to the next glaring problem of this rally.
The entire anti-gun community’s argument is predicated on the fundamental misunderstanding of what rights are. They like to say things like “my right to live outweighs your right to own an assault weapon,” which implies that rights can impede upon other rights just by their mere existence. However, all rights stem from property rights, and one of the defining characteristics of a right is that it exists independently and universally and, therefore, does not rely or impede on another. You absolutely do have the right to life, as your body is your property, but my right to defend my property and life (by choosing to own a rifle, for example) does not cross paths with your right to life unless it you who is suddenly trying to take mine. Rights don’t change based on votes either, so although I admire the Second Amendment argument, its repeal would not come with the abolition of my right to defend my property, whether bodily or otherwise. Nor would the fact I have a rifle in my safe suddenly impede on any other person’s right to live as they see fit because you voted that it does. Again, we see the use of vague terminology coming around to make it appear as though their argument is derived from a universal and moral ethic, when in fact it is the opposite. This ultimately brings us to our final and most abhorrent criticism.
As with most things labeled under guise of a revolution, we’re being told this demonstration goes against the establishment. That the adults who have had control for decades have failed, and that it is these brave children who must come and overthrow the status quo. Nothing could be further from the truth. These kids argue for more rules from the establishment to be written. For one of the first times in history, we see people marching for their rights to be further whittled away. This march was organized and carried out by a myriad of establishment groups from teacher’s unions to the Women’s March organizers, with school children used as a bullhorn to funnel their message through to amplify its emotional response. These kids are not rule-breakers, but rather rule-defenders. They are doing exactly what they’re told in their government schools and falling in line with authority by parroting one another on the things they are told they ought to say and think.
And this is the biggest problem of them all, because all of this top-down messaging has rendered these kids unable to think, and therefore, unable to grasp reality. What we’re left with is an argument for common sense that lacks any sort of sense; a plea to protect their rights which don’t consist of any rights; all wrapped up in a “revolution” that fortifies the establishment’s authority. We should not be applauding these children and their organizers but calling them out for the real tragedy of not only dancing on the graves of the recently deceased victims, but also the graves of all the futures these children will miss out on by being manipulated into doing what they’re told, as opposed to what is right.
Thomas J. Eckert
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