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Protesters protest in front of the Florida Congress in Tallahassee, Florida (United States) last, January 21, 2018. EFE
Protesters protest in front of the Florida Congress in Tallahassee, Florida (United States) last, January 21, 2018. EFE

[OP-ED] A Children’s Army is Fighting for Us

Say what you will about Donald Trump, but something is undeniable: the man has gall. 

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Just listen to what he said a couple of days ago at a meeting with the nation’s governors in the White House: “You don’t know until you test it, but I really believe I’d have run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.”

Believe or not he was talking about the Broward County school where a 19-year-old armed with a legally purchased AR-15 killed 17 students and teachers two weeks ago.

Modesty, of course, is not one of the president’s greatest virtues, but claiming he would have risked his life –even without a gun-- to protect the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School students and teachers, has provided comic relief of sorts to this senseless tragedy’s searing pain.

Trump is a bully who abuses immigrants, belittles women and disrespects African-Americans,  but bravery in the face of real danger seems to be another one of those virtues the man who occupies the White House is sorely lacking. After all, as he was immediately reminded of by a veritable deluge of tweets, five deferments – one for bone spurs in his foot and four for being a student -- allowed him to keep enjoying the good life in the U.S. while the Viet Nam war raged costing the lives of 60,000 Americans and two million Vietnamese. 

As MSNBC political commentator Joy Reed made clear in a tweet, talk is cheap: “Donald Trump, who refused to take firearms training and take live fire in Vietnam, wants elementary through high school teachers to get training and take live fire in mass shootings. Oh, and he wants the shooters to still be legally able to buy assault weapons bc the NRA says so.” 

Thanks to the courage and determination of Emma González, David Hogg and all the students who survived the Florida massacre, and with their honesty and determination have awakened the nation from its terrified NRA slumber, Trump has felt the pressure and started talking about raising to 21 the minimum age to purchase semiautomatic rifles, improving the background check system and the alarmingly stupid idea of arming teachers. Will the NRA’s grip on Trump and Congress, responsible for so many senseless killings and so much pain be finally loosened?  Or will greed, indifference and cowardice, so plentiful in so many of our supposed political leaders will prevail once again? 

“We are going to be the last mass shooting,” surviving student Emma González, 18, said in a passionate and memorable speech. “We are going to change the law. That's going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook, and it's all going to be due to the tireless efforts of the school board, the faculty members, the family members and most importantly the students.”

 Yes, it could happen this time. Our children are courageously fighting for their lives and ours -- and for the nation’s soul. And so must we.

 

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