It’s Easter, and that means there are smiling men on television telling young children about Jesus. The story of Jesus is in newspapers, online, and even in movies that are shown every year – proving, in some small way, that Jesus is, indeed, immortal, if only in reruns.
This year it makes an interesting juxtaposition against the backdrop of the Stoneman Douglas Highschool students who are changing the world by demanding action.
They refuse to settle for thoughts and prayers of past generations to quell their grief and shock at such an outrage. It has taken the naivety of children to scream long and loud that the emperor has no clothes because thoughts and prayers have failed to make any difference.
It also divides religious followers into those who rely on an interventionist God to actively remodel the world and those who think we have a right and responsibility to govern ourselves.
This second group still follows whatever teaching they wish, they can look to religion to guide their choices, their morals, to school them on behaviour – but they accept, without some effort, commitment and involvement from them to change the world, the world will not change. It’s time to put up or shut up, and no kid ever reacts well when told to shut up.
70% of Americans want gun control, and it seems the posse of kids who have finally said enough is enough are making a difference. These kids, led by Emma González, David Hogg, Jacyln Corin, Cameron Kasky and Alex Wind, can’t be silenced. The usual tactic of calling for respect for the victims by not discussing the atrocity is not working this time because these kids are the victims, and they’re the ones doing all the talking – and maybe that’s how it has to be. It’s hard to tell a child who faced a gun while at school that they're disrespectful for asking for such violence to stop, and finally, American parents and grandparents have stopped long enough to realise how crazy it is to have AR15’s in the suburbs.
I’ve rarely been more inspired than by these kids standing up and speaking their experiences. I had chills when I heard Naomi Wadler, during the March for Our Lives say, “I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead the evening news.”
Suddenly the Stoneman Douglas kids have opened a can of worms in America. The violence from guns that has touched so many is ironically the issue too big to ignore, and that fact may bring the country together. Gun violence knows no race, no age, no privilege and no political party.
In Australia, a ban on assault weapons has stood since 1998. That same year, the government bought back one million guns and brought in new regulations for every gun owner to require a licence and to have guns registered. There was an immediate reduction of gun deaths by 47%.
This causal effect is repeated all over the world.
I’m an Americaphile. It’s hard not to be these days with so many growing up on American media, celebrities, and the influence of their computer industry.
Finally, after so many tragedies, there is a genuine hope that the one giant anachronism of American culture, the acceptance of gun violence in amongst so much world-leading science and social culture, may finally be addressed.
This great leap forward may well occur under Trump’s presidency – who would have thunk it?