Today it feels inevitable that the semiautomatically insane would themselves create their most powerful opposition from the survivors of their massacres. But it never occurred to me that this would come to pass until I heard the voice of Emma Gonzalez, an 18 year old survivor of the Marjorie Stonemason Douglas. “We are going to be the last massacre!” she commanded with a power that let me believe she could make it stick! As Emma and her schoolmates organize school walkouts and marches, I am praying with every cell in my body that they will succeed, and that I can figure out some tangible way to support them. Maybe we Elders should march in solidarity – the class of 1964 supporting the class of 2018? Maybe our presence would deter “Nazi counter-protesters” from driving into crowds. Or maybe we should send our ticket money to pay for some young person who can’t afford the fare? Is anyone else thinking about this?
I’ll bet Marjorie Stonemason Douglas is dancing all over heaven about how the kids at her namesake school are moving against the killers of their classmates. Ms Douglas was the force-of-nature journalist who led the fight that saved the Everglades. I heard her interviewed once not long before she died at 108 years old. She spoke of the Everglades as a “River of Grass” that supported the entire natural infrastructure of South Florida. Explaining this, her voice was hushed with age, tiny. But when the interviewer asked how she could possibly argue with the fact that draining the Everglades for sugar growing and condominiums would create jobs and commerce – Marjorie Stonemason Douglas came out of her chair. Her voice was one of the strongest, surest sounds I have ever heard when she shouted: ”
“It doesn’t matter that they’re making money off it!”
I’ll bet Marjorie would shout the same thing to the manufacturers of the AR-15, the gun that murdered children in her school (it’s always the AR-15.) I’m sure I heard echoes of Marjorie’s power in the 18 year old voice of Emma Gonzales and the other kids who have been speaking out.
“The arc of history is long”, said Martin Luther King, “but it bends towards justice.” And today I am looking for ways to align myself firmly with this arc bending towards justice for our young people who are standing up against the long and persistent injustice of being slaughtered in their schools.
For all my good and beloved gun-owning friends, my cousins who love hunting and my neighbors who have guns to keep safe in their homes and keep coyotes off their animals – I’m not talking about your guns. I’m talking about assault weapons, battlefield-capacity magazines, background checks so nut jobs can’t go on shopping sprees, restrictions so they can’t buy military weaponry out the backs of cars. It feels important to say this because as I get older, love and gratitude keeps showing me more clearly the middle ground where so many good and important things can happen. I was a hot head in my youth, but I’ve had the treasure of living long enough to grow out of it. Now I’m an old woman in the middle between no guns ever and all guns always. Let’s not let ourselves be split from coming together in this fertile middle ground.
Just as I’m ready to post, momentum is gathering. The organizers of the Women’s March are lending a hand. The beautiful stars of screen and human rights, George and Amal Cloony have donated money. A friend in the grocery store invites me to a march in LA on March 24. It’s rolling. But is there some further contribution we can make as old people, grandparents, grandPeople? What is it that only we who live long can give to support these heroic and heartbroken young people as they make this just and necessary and dangerous stand?