Thank you to all who attended our August group meeting to discuss the book #NeverAgain by David and Lauren Hogg. There were 12 of us who gathered at Carol Johnson’s house to talk openly about one of the most divisive issues right now: gun control/rights/safety/whaver-we-are-supposed-to-call-it. I was inspired by everyone’s thoughtfulness and willingness to listen to different perspectives.
For those interested in the book, it is a relatively quick read mostly focusing on these students’ experiences before, during, and immediately after the Parkland, FL, school shooting. One of the things that many of us appreciated was the straightforward way in which Lauren and David told their story, with lots of pragmatism and without much evangelizing. Their policy recommendations are the ones stated on the March for our Lives website (https://marchforourlives.com/policy/). We discussed the first one in particular: fund gun violence research by the CDC. We also talked about how some gun laws aimed at increasing safety can have unintended, counterproductive consequences, such as NJ mandating that vendors in the state sell only “smart guns” once such weapons become available in the US. This has led to a halt on developing fingerprint ID technology that would ensure that only a gun owner would be able to fire their weapon.
We also discussed the broader context that makes gun violence more likely. For example, limiting people’s access to health care can cause people with mental or physical health problems to slip into depression or desperation that ends with violence toward themselves and/or others. So, advocating for affordable health care for all and greater income equality is an action that can address societal problems that are the diseases leading to symptoms like gun violence. You can read more about how the social services failed the Parkland shooter here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/florida-school-shooting/fl-florida-school-shooting-consultant-report-full-20180803-story,amp.html.
We were joined by Michelle Thomas, leader of the Hunterdon County chapter of Moms Demand Action. She mentioned that the Parkland students are going to be in Morristown this Thursday, August 9, 12-3 pm. Please go to https://northeast-moms.ngpvanhost.com/ngpvanforms/22609to RSVP. All are welcome, not just moms!
This Tuesday’s Talking Tuesday Topic will be about this topic. Stay tuned!