Tag: guns

The kids aren’t all bad

Katie Cline, Editor-in-Chief

Yes, I have an opinion on gun laws. No, that’s not what this op-ed is about. Because no matter what I say, people will get mad. I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers, because that’s not my job. But I am going to talk about what I see happening right now in this country.

I was three-years-old when the Columbine shooting happened, and, growing up, just the phrase “Columbine” was bone-chilling. And I don’t remember talking about it. It was scary, the idea that I might have to hide under a desk and just hope and pray that I wouldn’t be shot and killed at school. It was a long shot in Jacksonville, Ala., of course, but that made it scarier—everyone thought it was a “long shot” in their hometown, too.

And now it’s 2018, and I’ve seen Sandy Hook where 20 children were killed—first graders. And I’ve seen Aurora, Colo. where people of all ages were killed in a movie theater—including a six-year-old. I’ve seen the Pulse nightclub shooting where 49 people were killed—because of their sexual orientation. And now, in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting where 15 teenage students were killed, I’m seeing more and more “close calls” and smaller attacks, like the one at a day care in Oxford where a man threatened workers with a gun. I had a conversation where my roommate and I had to stop and say, “Which school shooting are you talking about?” And those are words that I never, ever thought I’d have to say.

But here we are.

And the difference between the Parkland shooting and everything else? The students who survived are not staying silent. Emma Gonzalez has more Twitter followers than the NRA. Students across the country are organizing walkouts and protests. Schools are trying to retaliate. The government is only half-listening. But these kids are fierce. They won’t stop.

Because these are the kids who were told that they could grow up and be anything. They were raised on “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” and young adult literature that said, “You don’t have to take this. You can be something bigger than yourself. You can make a difference.”

That’s a lot to put on a child: “Go save the world.” But it’s given an entire generation incredible power. These “kids” are kids, yes, but they are so much more than that, because they’ve had to be. Because they have sat back and watched classmates die for far too long, and now they won’t let it happen again. Because that’s what Harry, Ron and Hermione did. That’s what Katniss and Peeta did. That’s what Tris and Tobias did. None of them asked for the life they lived, and neither did these students. None of the fictional characters they’ve grown up reading wanted to play the hero, but they did because no one else would. And that’s where these students are now.

Gone are the days of damsels in distress.

They’re going to save themselves.

So, do we help them do it, like McGonagall did? Like Haymitch did? Like Evelyn did? Or do we sit back and watch like Umbridge did? Like President Snow did? Like Jeanine Matthews did?

We better decide, because these kids are changing the world, with or without us.

Which side of history are we going to be on?

Alabama’s fight to bear arms

Any red-blooded Alabamian knows that there is a deep Southern tradition rooted in the fundamental right to keep and bear arms. 

In fact, most Americans recognize the significance of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. But for those of you who might not be familiar with the issue or the amendment itself, I’ve placed it here for you verbatim:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

So there it is. In black-and-white: shall not be infringed. Seems pretty cut-and-dry, right? Not so fast, says one Alabama lawmaker.

State Representative Mike Jones (R-Andulsia) says that the protections in the 227-year-old federal constitution is not enough for Alabama. 

In fact, he sponsored the Alabama Firearms Protection Amendment to amend Section 26 of the 1901 Alabama Constitution to add: “every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms and any restriction on this right would be subject to strict scrutiny.”

This bill was passed by the Alabama Legislature in 2013 and will be on the November ballot for Alabama voters to decide if the law will be amended.

Supporters say this will make it tougher for government to impose gun restrictions and that it addresses concern that federal courts might overturn current laws protecting gun rights. 

“If that were to happen, and the justice had a difference of opinion, than the law is today, then that means the state would be the ones interpreting gun rights, so we want have our constitution make sure it says it’s a fundamental right,” says Rep. Jones.

Now, I’ve followed politics for quite a while and I’ve yet to see any significant evidence that the government is coming to take our guns. However, I have to give mad legislative props to Rep. Jones on his foresight in sponsoring this bill.

What we see here is a classic exercise of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment gives rights not inherently expressed in the U.S. Constitution to the states.

Here, Representative Jones has “laid down the law” so-to-speak for the federal government—or anyone who attempts to alter Alabama gun laws for that matter. By placing this amendment in the Alabama Constitution it gives Alabama leaders legal standing to respond with “strict scrutiny” to any such actions.

At the end of the day, the law of the land (U.S. Constitution) will always supersede state law, and the Second Amendment likely does more to protect our rights to bear arms than anything else can or ever will. 

However, If I know the Yellowhammer state like I know the iron-sights on my 30-30, I’d say the chances of this amendment passing in November is right on target. 

Brett Johnson

Staff Writer