MLK’s assassination reminds nation of unaddressed gun violence

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MLK’s assassination reminds nation of unaddressed gun violence

of this country.”

President Lyndon B. Johnson thought so, too. Johnson wrote to Congress requesting stronger gun laws in the wake of RFK’s death. “Far too many [guns] were bought by the demented, the deranged, the hardened criminal, and the convict, the addict, and the alcoholic. So, today, I call upon the Congress in the name of sanity … and in the name of an aroused nation — to give us the Gun Control Law it needs.”Johnson passed landmark civil rights legislation during his tenure, but he could not make a dent on gun reform.

King would have been proud of The “March for Our Lives” demonstration. It demonstrated the collective power of children and teen activists to shame and to bring recalcitrant Second Amendment advocate lawmakers to their knees as the “Children’s Crusade” of 1963 did in Birmingham, Alabama. The Children’s Crusade braved arrest, fire hoses, and police dogs to bring to the nation’s attention their state’s unrelenting segregation laws.

I don’t know if MLK could have ever imagined an epidemic of school shootings. No one could. He did, however, speak out about America’s children being reared on a steady diet of violence, suggesting a link between watching violent acts in movies or television shows resulting in antisocial behavior or acting aggressively in life.

“By our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim, by allowing our movie and television screens to teach our children that the hero is one who masters the art of shooting and the technique of killing, by allowing all these developments, we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes,” King stated in 1963.

King’s assassination shocked the nation. The alleged weapon was the Remington 30-06 hunting rifle, a weapon easily obtained then like the AR-15 is today, and was used in the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl.

President Johnson redoubled his efforts to get sensible gun laws in place with each act of gun violence unlike President Trump, but the NRA was able to quickly mobilized an opposition team in Congress against Johnson to oppose gun reform legislation.

There have been seventeen school shootings since March of this year. The high volume of school shootings can be pointed to the NRA and its allies employing similar tactics used 50 years ago to obstruct gun safety legislation. No one, however, could have fathomed the NRA would use those same tactics against the safety of our children, too. But our children have spoken up, and they want sweeping new gun control laws now and not crumbs.

King’s assassination is a glaring reminder of what happens to a future generation when an important issue like gun safety goes unaddressed. In King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech he said “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.” I’m hoping lawmakers are listening this time.