Open Letter to Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Open Letter to Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Open Letter to Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Fayetteville, AR –-( Dear students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School:

You have experienced a horror that no one should have to go through. And the claims that have been made that some among you are hoaxers or actors are a disgusting attempt to add further injury, a desperate effort to glom on to the notoriety of a killer.

I am glad to see you participate in the political process. As a teenager in the 1980s, I was one of the few among my peers who cared about how our country is run, and I do remember all the work that people your age have to do to get ready for adulthood. Things don’t get easier as the years add up, so I hope that you maintain your commitment to be involved.

That being said, there are some things that you need to know about the political sphere:

It’s a Rough Business

No one who opposes you will care about your feelings. That’s not because the opposition is filled with jerks. It’s just the way politics works. The people on your side will exploit your feelings for the benefit of the political goal. In other words, unless the person talking to you is a relative or friend—and not even then, always—understand that your emotional states are commodities.

Disagreement is a Part of the Process

You may have noticed on social media that anyone who disagrees with someone else is likely to be called a troll. This is a stock accusation, and it’s worth exactly as much as the evidence provided to support the claim. A troll seeks to derail rational discourse. But disagreeing with your position isn’t trolling. It’s continuing the discussion. Ideas have to be tested to find their worth, and you’ll need to submit the proposals you are advocating for to the analysis of others.

Similarly, disagreeing with you doesn’t make a person identical to the ones who are calling you fakes. As I said above, you experienced a horror. I acknowledge that, but I disagree with what you want to do.

Gun Control Doesn’t Work

This claim may surprise you, but it’s at the heart of why I oppose what you’re trying to do. Take a look at one nation that is cited over and over as proof that we should impose strict gun laws: England. (Don’t quibble about England, Britain, and the United Kingdom. The data available are for England.) The homicide rate in that country has been basically flat since the late 1700s, hovering between one and two murders per hundred thousand residents. And yet, gun control didn’t become onerous until the second half of the twentieth century. Until then, the people of England could own and even carry firearms in a manner much like what we are able to do here in most of the United States.

But what about Australia? That nation imposed bans and restrictions in 1997, following the mass shooting in Port Arthur. But the homicide rate peaked in the late 80s at around two per hundred thousand, then began a decline that lasted until the middle of the last decade. The 1997 laws added no additional decline in the rate.

At this point, someone will declare that Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since 1997. That may be true, though mass killings have taken place since then, it’s worth noting that New Zealand didn’t impose new gun laws in 1997 and also hasn’t had a mass shooting since. A mass shooting is a horror, but so is any murder, and since the gun laws are not reducing the overall homicide rate, is it really such a gain to say that those deaths are now only happening one at a time?

Here among the states of this nation, gun control also fails to show any effect on homicides. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence publishes a scorecard of gun laws in each state. The more burdens imposed on gun rights, the higher the score. And yet, comparing their ratings with the homicide rates by state shows no correlation. Some states with loose gun laws have lots of murders, while others have few. Some states with strict gun laws also have lots of murders, while others also have few.

Which is to say, it’s not the gun laws. Bans and restrictions only burden the law-abiding. We can work together on things that do reduce violence—education, poverty reduction, and anti-bullying programs—but we can’t cooperate as long as demands to violate our rights are still on the table.

If you wish to discuss any of this, feel free to let me know. I am on Twitter @gregcampnc.

About Greg CampGreg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.

  • 14 thoughts on “Open Letter to Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

    1. Hogg and the others are being coached guaranteed. They push for GUN CONTROL, when the real problem was friends, family and law enforcement failures. The gun was nothing but a TOOL much like Mr. Hogg and the others are being used as right now. Cruz had said, done, shown that he was a viable threat and NO ONE did shit ! Now that he acted out his crime, it is the guns fault……….. BZZZZZZZZZZZZT, WRONG answer ! It is the shooter and those who did absolutely zero to stop him from pulling that trigger. Add to this mess a few Sheriff deputies that punked out and hid instead of doing the job they had signed up for, had been trained for and PAID to do, they HID or ran away !!!! They should be charged as accomplices, they willingly allowed it to happen and CONTINUE until 17 were dead. So, Mr. Hogg, place the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who FAILED to do what was needed to stop this, NOT the gun ! Stop being a TOOL, the whispers you are hearing are LIES !

    2. What every community needs is a phalanx of super heros to respond to every known and unknown crime immediately as it starts to occur. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be likely anywhere in the US at this time. Why doesn’t somebody do that? To believe that an area becomes safe by declaration as a Gun Free Zone is like putting the same sign in front of a liquor store, stop and rob, fast food place, etc only to here massive complaints amongst the criminal element about not being able to bring their guns in those establishments. Shouldn’t that type of discourse be expected? To further thwart those pesky ‘bad guys’, we could exchange the word ‘gun’ with the words ‘weapon of any kind’ to so dishearten the criminals that they might chose to leave their naughty behavior completely. Did I just hear a ‘yeah, that sounds right to me’ from Nancy or Throb? Maybe we need another sign: Idiots must sit down and shut up. How well do you think that sign would work in DC?
      By the way, who is that skinny kid from the Florida High School that has obviously studied every reporter or News anchors facial expression and body stance. He sure seems intuitive enough to be on CNN, ABC, CBS or NBC.

    3. OK, Gun Control Won’t Work! Got any Plan or Ideas on what might Work? I do, and these kids Got A Plan. Better to talk with them about your ideas then just complain about them. They are a movement, and they just might be coming to your State soon. I say let US All work with them, and maybe we can save a few lives. First part of my plan is to make every Government Building Gun Friendly, and take 60% of our tax dollars that they blow on protecting themselves and use to for our Schools and Kids. Let me see, last time a Government Building was shot up………. Now they had a shooting while practices for a Ball Game, but there were TWO arms DC Cops protecting them. Now that protection was a darn good thing that day, so how about protecting Our Kids Now.

      1. Furthermore… It turns out that a remarkably low percentage of states and police agencies report dis-qualifiers into NICS. There is a good reason for that, and an even better reason for eliminating “Background Checks” as a “do something” false flag operation.

        Background checks may make gun grabbers feel good, but they are easily bypassed by criminals, psychopaths and terrorists that want firearms. They just steal them, or use straw purchasers.

        Police agencies spend most of their time responding to actual criminal events, responding to domestic disputes, managing civil needs like traffic control and handling paperwork. NICS related data collection efforts are a tremendously inefficient way of burning up man hours for both officers and administrative staff – and they do nothing to help stop crime. Being practical, most police officers and agencies see this as a waste of resources that could be used better actually stopping crime.

        Criminals, psychopaths and terrorists are not stupid. They know that they will have more time unopposed where government policy prohibits defensive firearms, so they go to schools and other sensitive places where they will not be readily stopped. This is why school shootings were practically unknown before the 1994 Federal Gun Free School Zones Act.

        Repeal this dangerous law, and “Fix NICS” by eliminating it and using the funds for something more effective like actual crime intervention and facilities hardening.

    4. A very good article, in my opinion.

      That kid Hogg looks like someone who is in serious need of mental health intervention before he goes postal. Or it may be just like the difference between being a military weapon and looking like one. He isn’t a nut job but he looks like one so maybe he should lose some of his rights, like the right to assemble, the right to free speech, the right to vote, and, of course, the right to own a firearm.

    5. Ask those students how differently the day may have gone had that coash, Mr. Aaron Feis, been allowed to carry his own handgun at school every day. Well concealed, so no one else kneew but him…… do these students who lived really think the man who wilfully placed HIS OWN BODY between the bullets and as many of his beloved students as he could, would have been content to do that and leave his own handgun in its holster? If he had time to throw his body to protect some students from gunfire, don’t you think he’d have had enough time to draw his own handgun a d FIRE AT THE SHOOTER? One round, whether it hit or not, would almost certainly have made this wimp of a kid give up his mission to continue killing.
      But no, you guys would rather disarm everyone that was NOT killing your peers. Instead, the solution is to ARM the responsible adults who volunteer to step up and make the extra sacrifices to protect the likes of YOU GUYS. WHY did Mr. Feis have to die without firing a shot at the killer? WHO decided that HE had to die to “keep the children safe”?

      Put an end to all the Certified Defenseless Victim Zones across the nation, anad allow people like Mr. Aaron Feis to carry their own personal dfensive weapon at school, like he did everywhere else. Who knows, the next life he could have saved may have been YOURS. He couldn’t save more than one or two of his students, his body wasn’t big enough. His own handgun COULD have saved them and a whole lot more. It seems Mr. Feis was one of the first to put himself into harm’s way when the shooting began. Don’t let HIS bravery and life go for naught…. learn from HIS death, the direct result of his being deliberately disarmed by current laws.

    6. Hey, Hogg you are nothing but a shill for a corrupt media and Demon-Crap party you’re no hero, you’re nothing but a two bitt opportunist.

    7. Dear Students, I hurt right along with you. As a gun owner, I do believe there should be stricter gun laws, However, for the past 30 years the way you are going about it is all wrong. I watched the town hall. This was not a discussion on how to prevent, but a planned attack on guns, legal gun owners and the NRA. Have you even looked into what the NRA actually does. A lot. Your local leaders, including the school system and your local sheriff chose not to take advantage of what the NRA can provide, free of charge.. Now your want to attack, yes 8000 vs 2 is an attack. That will not work, ever!
      I am for making it harder or impossible for people with mental issues to get guns. Question is define mental issues. Where is the line drawn? Does this included the honest, law biding citizen that takes anti depression meds to prevent migraines. To the left it does. Legal gun owners with Conceal Carry Permit must go through a course to get that permit. They go through a through background check. I had to resolve a 31 year old traffic violation before I could get mine approved. This by the way, was an error in the filing system at the court house. No fault of mine

      If you want stricter gun laws, I promise you will need the support of gun owners. You may have blew that chance with your town hall attack. Marco Rubio, Dana Loesch, and the NRA were there to help, so why were they attacked?

      1. @MBH, Do you believe that there should be stricter baseball bat laws, hammer laws, swimming pool laws, paperweight laws, under the kitchen sink cleaning chemicals laws, and chain saw laws, too?

    8. I appreciate that the simplicity of your argument. My greatest two concerns in this political debate are, first the inability to disentangle identity from opinion, thus civil disagreement becomes interpreted a a personal attack. My ideas are from me, but they are not me. I’m a lot more than a slogan or a tag-line. The second, and probably the most insidious, is the propagandized premise that we are debating. The story touches on the concept of violence at the core of the issue. “Gun-violence” is a logical fallacy. Object violence does not occur, thus it cannot be prevented. Firearms are an instrument used in committing violence, as are hands and feet, knives, bats, etc. violence is part of the human condition, as it has been since the dawn of humankind. Some are more noble and evolved than others, and as such eschew violence–as has also been the case since the beginning, yet we focus energy on preventing something that cannot exist, by taking actions that have been demonstrated to have no effect on violence of any kind, consuming vast financial and emotional resources that could well be directed to programs and actions that might actually help to prevent circumstances like a school shooter or the far more likely urban neighborhood shooting. The very outlets that are discussed in the story, strengthen the family, employment opportunity and training, childcare programs, true parity in behavioral health care, and a global refocus on personal accountability. The talk be foisted as solutions are demanding that I capitulate my rights, those that facilitate self-determination, to solve a fallacy with solutions that have never shown any impact whatever.

    9. Greg Camp, well-stated, unfortunately, as all readers at this site know, anti-rights people are generally devoid of the ability to reason and use rational, logical thought processes, and lack facts to support their emotional pleas to “do something”.

      Our solutions to the “do something” are ones they will not believe nor accept, even though they are are “common-sense” and reasonable. Number one on the list is to eliminate GFZs that are proven time and again to not work.

    10. Yeah go ahead get tougher gun laws but who do you all think it is going to hurt, not the damned criminal hell no, just the law abiding citizen that who. I am tire of hearing how we the law abiding citizen who are trying to protect them selves, their loved ones, and friends. NO ALL OF THE LIBERAL IDIOTS AND DEMOCRAPS ON THE HILL WANT TO LIMIT US THE LAW ABIDING CITIZENS, BUT NOT THE CRIMINALS OH NO NOT THEM. WELL CHILDREN AND LIBERALS AND DEMOCRAPS WHEN THE SHIT HITS THE FAN YOU ALL WILL BE FIRST TO SCREAM, BITCH, AND WONDER WHY THE HELL NO ONE WILL COME TO YOUR AIDE AND THAT IS BECAUSE YOU PEOPLE TOOK AWAY OUR RIGHT TO DEFEND OUR SELVES AND YOU IDIOTS TO BOOT.

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