The spontaneous movement led by Parkland, Florida students to address the long-simmering gun crisis in America – combined with the shock of the tragic murders of 17 of their fellow students and faculty- appears to have done more in a few days to change citizen’s hearts and minds than years of earlier anti-gun advocacy.
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Despite fake alt-right claims that the students’ demands for the banning of assault rifles calls for sensible gun laws were orchestrated by the liberal media, the public seems to have seen the purity of their pleas and the cynical nature of the National Rifle Association gun lobby and minds are being changed.
That shows up in a new survey of citizens in Republican-dominated Florida, where gun advocates and the NRA have held power for many years, tweets a senior political reporter at the Washington Post:
NRA, which has had strong approval numbers in recent years, is now significantly underwater in Florida — 35% "good," 50% "bad." pic.twitter.com/LHSBwLKSts
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) February 28, 2018
In case you can’t read the stats in small type in his tweet, here are some other highlights.
The questions the poll asks “Are NRA policies good for Florida?”
That breaks down to 81 percent of Democratic respondents saying they are bad for Florida, while 64 percent of Republicans still think they are good.
That is predictable but more telling is that 53 percent of independents think the NRA is bad for Florida while only 30 percent think it is good.
The poll reflects a sharp increase in donations to groups seeking sensible gun laws while individuals and companies have moved away from the NRA, which blindly insists all gun sales are good, even if they are to the mentally ill.
There has also been a rush by people who want to run for office in Florida in districts where lawmakers supported by the NRA are running unopposed.
Amanda Litman of the group Run for Something said there has been a 2.5-fold increase in people who want to oppose the 24 state lawmakers backed by the NRA running unopposed, reports CBS News.
“If they don’t have people running against them,” said Litman, “there is nobody to hold their feet to the fire for the positions they’re taking that put our kids in danger.”
Litman, who worked on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, said “People are fired up. They’re sticking with it – they’re changing their lives in order to change their communities because they care about solving problems.”
“They are pissed off at the status quo,” added Litman, “and they are not settling – they are so inspiring and they give me a lot of hope for the future.”
This inspiring movement is hitting the NRA where it counts, in the pocketbook.
“The student movement is forcing donors to cut funding to the NRA and pressuring lawmakers to stop taking money from the politically influential gun rights group,” reports Reuters.
Meanwhile, the teen activists have gotten large donations from celebrities including George Clooney and Oprah, as well as organizational help from groups including the Women’s March, that is expected to keep them active through the November midterm elections.
“It’s this perfect storm of young people whose authority to speak cannot be denied because their friends were just murdered,” Sasha Costanza-Chock, associate professor of civic media at MIT told Reuters, “have control of social media, the ability to speak to mass media, have celebrity support and organizational infrastructure.”
It is almost as if the biblical prophecy of the New Testament is coming true:
“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.”
That may be too much to hope for in our still very divided country but the fact is not everyone has to be on board for a change, just the majority of Americans who will not take no for an answer.
The time may finally come when the NRA money that never goes away will be pushed aside long enough to pass some laws that protect people and don’t just benefit gun owners and weapon manufacturers.
Let the children of Parkland lead us.