Hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets on Saturday for the March For Our Lives. Roughly 800,000, including many students, rallied in Washington DC alone hoping to stop gun violence in the wake of last month’s massacre in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead.
This movement is truly inspiring, and the teens leading it are taking it upon themselves to demand meaningful change after experiencing a horrific tragedy. However, while these young leaders are driven, many are also misguided.
Much of their focus this weekend squared at the National Rifle Association, which has been depicted as the boogeyman after nearly every recent mass shooting. Alex Wind declared that if a politician takes money from the NRA, they have “chosen death.” Delaney Tarr insisted that if we move on, the NRA and those “against” them “will win.” David Hogg warned the politicians who are “supported by the NRA” and that “allowed the continued slaughter of our children and our future” to “get their resumes ready.”
Hogg and Sarah Chadwick specifically took aim at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) by pulling out a prop price tag to show how much money he has taken “for every student’s life in Florida.”
These students and plenty on the Left see the NRA as a literal terrorist organization. They say folks like NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch and every politician who has taken money from their organization have “blood on their hands,” when in reality they had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in Parkland or any other mass shooting. These gun-control activists rarely mention the 5 million law-abiding Americans who pay to be NRA members. Are they also supposed to be terrorists?
These rallies spent so much time blaming the NRA for something out of its control. Meanwhile, they spent virtually no time on those who actually have control: law enforcement.
In the days and weeks following the Parkland massacre, reports about all the missed red flags regarding the shooter surfaced. The FBI was warned multiple times, as recently as five weeks before the shooting, about the gunman in the making. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office reportedly received 45 calls about the shooter and his brother. An armed deputy who was on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School failed to go inside the building as children were dropping dead. Let’s just say Broward Sheriff Scott Israel surely “lacked candor” during that CNN town hall.
There are plenty of variables being debated about the Parkland shooting and what would have prevented it, including raising the age limit to buy guns, banning AR-15s, or arming teachers. Yet one thing is certain: law enforcement failed over and over and over again.
What’s so backwards about all of this is that these students have gone out of their way to defend Israel, who became their go-to gun control mascot at the CNN town hall. Hogg specifically shielded Israel from Loesch, who directly faced off with the Broward sheriff at that televised town hall, and blamed Florida Gov. Rick Scott for failing to protect his classmates despite the dozens upon dozens of calls Israel’s office received about the shooter.
At the end of her powerful speech, Emma Gonzalez told the country to “fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.” What she didn’t acknowledge is that it’s the job of law enforcement, both on a local and federal level, to protect our lives. These students will continue to demonize the NRA, Loesch, and Rubio, but others are far more deserving of criticism and should be held accountable.
If we’re going to have an honest conversation about gun violence like these Parkland students are demanding, we also have to be honest about the people who pull the trigger and those who have the power to stop them. If participants don’t face that the failures of law enforcement had a much bigger role in this massacre than the NRA did, then the March For Our Lives will amount to nothing.