The Parkland Students Gun Laws Manifesto: OMG & WTF?


Awesome numbers have been reported fromSaturday’s #March4OurLives mobilizations and demonstrations, some reporting a million globally.

As partisan politics would have it, Saturday’s #March4OurLives was strictly about gun control. But reporters from wsws.org were on the ground in several venues including NYC, Chicago, and Washington DeeCee, and interviewed some of the young ‘uns in high school, as well as few adults with stories to tell themselves.  What they discovered was that most weren’t there as single-issue protestors, but were flipped out about endless war and the glorification of militarism, the ever-deteriorating conditions of schools, the ever-increasing financial precarity and inequality, the spread of rationally induced mental health issues due to fears of all sorts, including police brutality.  Now I won’t claim they hadn’t cherry-picked their published interviews, but I will say that the authors there have been over-the-top about the growing teachers strikes, and now…this movement built by Parkland students.

These are a few reports they’ve published since the march:

Hundreds of thousands of students march against mass violence in America’

‘Over 80,000 youth and students in Chicago protest against mass violence’ by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality at the University of Illinois at Chicago’

Students, youth speak about war, inequality at DC March for Our Lives rally’  and most recently:

The international significance of the March for Our Lives demonstrations’,

“The large turnout and prominent role of high school students is a powerful sign of political radicalization among a generation of youth whose lives have been overshadowed by war, state repression, and rampant social alienation and dysfunctionality produced by the extreme growth of social inequality.

The attempt by the Democratic Party and the media to present the protests as limited to calls for “gun control” is fraudulent. While the Democrats intervened as much as they could to block demonstrators from drawing broader conclusions, protesters who spoke to the World Socialist Web Site and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality readily connected violence within the US to imperialist war and the social crisis.

To the extent the Democrats’ calls for gun control won a hearing, it is because millions oppose the immense political influence of the fascistic National Rifle Association (NRA) and of the gun manufacturers who profit on the proliferation of military-grade weapons. In the United States, an 18-year-old can purchase an AR-15 assault rifle (the type used by the Parkland shooter) with fewer restrictions than required to obtain a driver’s license.

Regardless of the pandering from Democratic officials, the chasm between the demands of the demonstrators and the actions of the political establishment is stark. In the days before the demonstration took place, Democrats and Republicans agreed to pass a $1.3 trillion budget that will drastically increase funding for the military, the deportation forces and the police.”

Now in the Twitterverse I’d learned of the ‘Parkland Students Manifesto to Fix Gun Laws’ guest editorial at the Guardian (1185 comments) so I’d clicked in to read and…was immediately horrified, aghast, agape, agog…then at last: outraged.  The Manifesto’s bullet points; the first five I’ve listed are at least reasonable enough, save for my not knowing why the CDC isn’t currently permitted to do so, nor what their proposals would amount to.

* Ban semi-automatic weapons that fire high-velocity rounds

* Ban accessories that simulate automatic weapons

* Close gun show and secondhand sales loopholes

* Allow the CDC to make recommendations for gun reform

* Raise the firearm purchase age to 21

* Dedicate more funds to mental health research and professionals

But these we get to these two horrors:

* Establish a database of gun sales and universal background checks

‘We believe that there should be a database recording which guns are sold in the United States, to whom, and of what caliber and capacity they are.

Just as the department of motor vehicles has a database of license plates and car owners, the Department of Defense should have a database of gun serial numbers and gun owners. This data should be paired with infractions of gun laws, past criminal offenses and the status of the gun owner’s mental health and physical capability.

Together with universal background checks, this system would help law enforcement stop a potentially dangerous person before they commit a gun crime.’

Seriously?  The freaking Department of Defense should keep such a data base?  The same Department of Military Madness whose duopoly-driven wars have killed millions (including other people’s children) around the globe since the first Gulf War?  The same one that’s bombed dozens of nations since WW II as per William Blum? Have you forgotten about the survivors of those bombings and their mental health?  Please reconsider!

* Change privacy laws to allow mental healthcare providers to communicate with law enforcement

‘As seen in the tragedy at our school, poor communication between mental healthcare providers and law enforcement may have contributed to a disturbed person with murderous tendencies and intentions entering a school and gunning down 17 people in cold blood.

We must improve this channel of communication. To do so, privacy laws should be amended. That will allow us to prevent people who are a danger to themselves or to others from purchasing firearms. That could help prevent tragedies such as the Parkland massacre.’

Jeeze, Louise; there are already laws on the books saying that shrinks need to report clients who could pose danger to themselves or others, and is part of the APA’s Code of Ethics (except for military clients, ha…ha,).

But picture this, as you’ve noted that you’ve given up your white privilege to note that ‘black classmates weren’t given a voice by the media’.  Now surely you can see these things are so: i) that having the po-po in a therapist’s chair is quite an invasion of thought-crime privacy; ii) that having mental health issues  doesn’t imply ‘spree killers’ or homicidal maniac; iii) that we’ve learned from the families whose loved ones who were gunned down by the po-po: “never call the police if someone in your family is having a mental health breakdown!”, and iv) blacks and other people of color of the rabble class are often judged guilty on the spot by the po-po.  According to KilledbyPolice.net, Amerikan police have MSM reports of 295 people killed by police since Jan. 1, 2018; in 2017 1193 were killed.

Now the March organizer/spox at the link above, David Hogg’s father is former Fibbie, which may explain some of this last two bullet points on the DoD and the po-po/therapists ‘increased communications’, but it’s possible that he was one of the authors of the Manifesto, perhaps even the eloquent Emma González, as well.

And while I understand that this is well-meant, and better than arming teachers, but it’s smacks of potential danger to me:

* Increase funding for school security

Just for one compilation of cases and dangers, ‘Cops Rebranded as “School Resource Officers” Can Injure and Criminalize Schoolkids’; The over-reliance on law enforcement in the nation’s schools is reflective of a national attitude — one that is in dire need of adjusting’, mintpressnews, Feb. 5, 2018  One outtake after case examples:

“The Dignity in Schools Coalition, a New York-based organization, “challenges the systemic problem of ‘pushout’ in our nation’s schools and works to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.” The group defines “pushout” as “the numerous and systemic factors that prevent or discourage young people from remaining on track to complete their education and has severe and lasting consequences for students, parents, schools, and communities.”

Among those factors are “over-reliance on law enforcement tactics and ceding of disciplinary authority to law enforcement personnel.” As a necessary corrective to the presence of law enforcement in schools, the Coalition has created policy recommendations that encourage “Counselors Not Cops.”

According to Vox, the more nonwhite students a school has, the more likely it is to have a police presence; only the poorest students have more police in schools, and the biggest impact of police in schools is more “disorderly conduct” charges.”

One man on twitter observed:

“What this proposal will likely do is put anyone who sees a therapist or psychiatrist for any reason on a “watch list” and possibly bar them from buying a gun. Which is *exactly* why someone who is deeply troubled and contemplating murder will avoid seeing a therapist. In addition, the Parkland High teens are calling for greater school security. Turning our schools into day-visit prisons isn’t going to welcome students, especially those who are POC. I don’t want to teach in a school like that.”

I’ve read that Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school is considering using metal detectors, and has already, or is considering making clear backpacks mandatory.

 (I just deleted my prescriptive wishes for schools as veritable palaces of learning, but you’ll no doubt have your own.)

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

28 responses to “The Parkland Students Gun Laws Manifesto: OMG & WTF?

  1. I’m sure we can integrate Facebook and the Banking Oversight Committee w/ the DOD so as to provide the checks & balances™ necessary to help us sleep soundly. Just kidding. I don’ even know if there’s such a thing as the Banking Oversight Committee;-D

  2. On the day before the March For Our Lives, the Omnibus $1.3 trillion spending bill was passed. Accompanying the bill are Agency instructions, and in that documentation NPR reports that there’s one sentence “…noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.”

    I guess we shouldn’t hurt ourselves clapping too loudly for *that*. As the article notes, there’s plenty of skepticism about the potential to encourage CDC study of the subject.

    Viz the database and other editorialized changes, what are the chances these were “organically” generated by the students as against the tactical co-optation of the political class?

    • Politifact weighs in: Spending bill’s gun research line: Does it nullify Dickey amendment?

      Short answer, no, no it doesn’t. The article even references the restatement of the Dickey Amendment in the appropriations bill [large PDF].

    • good find, greyson smythe. guess those cdc folks don’t wanna get hauled before congress, called no-gun wimps, and stripped of the rest of their $ to research just plain vanilla ‘injuries’. ah, partisan politics is all, by by gum those D’s would give em zillions to fight the NRA-ing of amerika!

      but ya got me stymied here with this: “what are the chances these were “organically” generated by the students as against the tactical co-optation of the political class?” explain, please?

      • I mean the way that movements like Operation Wall Street or Black Lives Matter start out as people-driven movements but become taken over by political forces that render them meaningless or change their direction so as to support the status quo.

        • ah, thank you explaining, then. wasn’t it the rockfeller foundation that had offered dollahs to blm (as per orchestrated pulse)? we never knew who took them up on the offer, but i do see what you mean.

          i’ve been awake since 2:30 again, and am fading fast, but as soon as i have the time and energy i’ll bring some of the most interesting stuff that the c99ers have brought. i took them your CDC links, by the by.

        • sorry to be such a slow brain, but it just occurred to me that you’d meant ‘occupy wall street’ rather than ‘operation wall street’. guess i don’t see OWS that way, or what i take from your meaning. on a certain date, all remaining occupy encampments were shut down brutally, although i’ve forgotten what the fusion center op was called.

          • Yes, I meant Occupy Wall Street; apparently it’s a bad example of my point… Ixnay on the Ccupyoag allway treatsay, then.

            • otoh, i wonder how many BLM journalists other than shaun king the intercept has stabled? ;-) https://twitter.com/ShaunKing

              full-court press against assange is on: ‘Assange’s internet connection cut following ‘agreement breach’ – Ecuador’

              “”The action was taken following Assange’s breach of a written agreement signed with the Ecuadorian government at the end of 2017, in which he vowed not to send messages interfering in the affairs of other sovereign states,” the government said in a statement Wednesday. “The Executive remains open to the possibility of further sanctions in cases of future breaches of the agreements by Assange.”

              https://www.rt.com/news/422602-assange-internet-cut-dotcom-varoufakis/

              perhaps spain and puigdemont’s arrest, but not one peep on the twit machine from snowden or greenwald. #quitefitting

    • oh, and another hideous act was slid into that omnibus bill as well. i’d given all my notes to someone at c99% to see if he’d write it up, but i haven’t heard back. i just have more to feature than i have tie and energy for, so we’ll see.

  3. I suggest since no livable wage is available that next time there is such a march, it be attended by all who work for a so-called living as well as the students, and also retirees who currently provide for the younger members of their family from their so-called social security ( I guess that’s what the social part means to our overlords.)

    My goodness, isn’t that pretty much all of us? Oh no, guess I forgot a teeny-tiny group….

    them

  4. ha. this a.m.’s popular resistance newsletter contained an item with the title: ‘the US spends far too little on social welfare’, lol. zounds, ain’t that breaking news…? ‘them’ does fine, of course, not too much noblesse oblige going on save for the philanthro-capitalists like gates, pierre, rockefeller foundation…

    one commenter at c99% brought news that both oprah and the clooneys gave half a million bucks to the march, O questioned as to why none for BLM. well, duh; O for prez! as obomba always said, he’s not a prez for blacks, but just a black prez. O would be standing on his shoulders if she runs in earnest, eh wot?

  5. more on the funding of the populist march:

    ‘Who Is Funding & Organizing March for Our Lives?’, heavy.com

    “Much of the March for Our Lives event is being funded by donations. Celebrities like George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Oprah Winfrey all pledged to donate $500,000 each to the rally. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen donated $25,000. More celebrities may have donated less publicly, since many were tweeting about the event and talking about it on social media. Even the dating app Bumble donated $100,000 to the cause. Those donations can really add up and help with a lot of costs associated with the massive D.C. rally.

    It’s not just celebrities who donated. Philanthropist and businessman Eli Broad pledged $1 million to the cause, Deadline reported. In a statement he said, “This must stop. I’m personally donating $1 million to Everytown and joining the courageous students of Parkland and millions of Americans demanding commonsense solutions to end the gun violence crisis.” Eli Broad, 84, is described as the only person to ever build two Fortune 500 companies in separate industries. In October, he announced that he was stepping down from public life. He made most of his money in homebuilding through his Kafuman and Broad Home Corporation (KB Home). He was the first homebuilder listed on the NYSE. He stepped down as CEO in 1974. He also earned money from buying Sun Life Insurance in 1971 and transforming it into a retirement savings company called SunAmerica, which he sold to the American International Group in 1999 for $18 billion.

    Other business leader donations came from Marc Benioff ($1 million), Joshua Kushner (brother of Jared Kushner, $50,000), Gucci ($500,000), and the Miami Dolphins ($100,000).
    [snip w/ ‘Board members for March for Our Lives help determine how to use the funds, and more and more…]

    ha!

    https://heavy.com/news/2018/03/who-is-funding-paying-for-march-for-our-lives/

  6. “this student march brought to you by NAMI.” as long as things focus on 1) access to guns and 2) access to mental health care, nothing will change except more gov’t intrusion & snooping in the guise of “mental health.” Under the banner of public & mental health, the people who brought you MOAB & Agent Orange & DU will certainly *do something* about the guns they have flooded this planet with. Maybe they’ll blame the Russians for the 300 million plus guns floating around the US?

    “Walt Kurtz was a decent, humanitarian man, a man of wit & humor. Then he joined Special Forces and his methods became…unsound. Unsound.” and what was Kurtz doing when his “methods became unsound”? he was on a medical corps doing vaccinations in ‘Nam. you know, b/n the napalming & assassinations, a little humanitarian work lest the natives think the US wasn’t really there to help them. (I don’t believe the received narrative about the demise of UBL, but it is important that Uncle Sam wants people to think that it was a phony *medical crew* that got Uncle Sam’s (former?) asset.)

    a medical approach is great b/c under the authority of the medical professional, any problem can immediately become a criminal & legal issue. the doctor & his needles & prescriptions are the easiest thing in the world to weaponize. “I’ve got these guns cuz I’m a Black Panther & fuck Uncle Sam.” and here comes Mr. M.D. with a pill for that, under whose authority one might spend forever in a hospital or worse for some made up b.s. like “oppositional defiance disorder.” under capitalism, the hospital is just one more ward in the prison, right?

    and enough talk about guns. time to talk about guillotines. for that hydra-headed beast thrashing about in that cesspool on the Potomac River.

    • ooo-la-la, burn! turns out NAMI is teh National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of …___ fill in the blank.

      but yeah, this manifesto seems to be under your rubric of capitalism criminalizes mental health issues. go directly to…jail. speaking of which, a link someone over yonder brought: ‘Mass Shooting and the Myth of the Violent Mentally Ill’.

      but eeep, black panther reminded me i owe you a she-mail, and as we’d been discussing your favorite film psyop/cia/etc. deconstructor over yonder, i went and fetched his thang on ‘get me out of wakanda‘. (at 55 mins., but boy, i dinnae like it one bit) bin laden’s not dead? or still frozen in cold storage?
      thanks for the apocalypse now metaphor, too; bless your heart; brrrrr.

      but let’s hear it for napalm: ‘sergeant dow jones 27 year old…commanding his very own tank…

      and for the guillotine, it’s gotta be boots and the coup:

  7. OMG and ay yi yi: from popular resistance: ‘Shut Down Firing Ranges in US High Schools’, march 28; i wonder if they’d even read it!

    “One thousand six hundreed high schools have marksmanship programs affiliated with the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program and the congressionally-chartered Civilian Marksmanship Program, (CMP). Children are regularly taught to fire air rifles that are classified as lethal weapons by the military.

    The Army taught Florida gunman Nikolas Cruz, the mass murderer at Stoneman Douglas High Schoolm how to shoot a lethal weapon in his high school cafeteria when he was 14. Nik was a member of the school’s U.S. Army JROTC Marksmanship Program. JROTC stands for the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Nearly 2,000 high schools have military shooting programs. They should be shut down.

    The marksmanship programs typically use CO2-powered long rifles that shoot .177 caliber lead pellets at speeds up to 600 feet per second. They are lethal weapons. America is the only country in the world that teaches riflery in its public schools.”

    (please sign this petition, etc. goes to this site, oy and veh), part of which states:

    This campaign will not concentrate on the removal of all military programs from the high schools. Too many of our allies in the counter-recruitment movement feel that calling for the removal of all JROTC programs from the schools would be counter-productive.

    well tough nay nays and fie on your ‘allies’.

  8. “INTERSECTIONALITY is a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.”

    • most of us are pretty familiar with the concept, as per bell hooks, for instance, but thank you. but i reckon you may see this at play in the movement or the manifesto? forgive my slow brain, but i was just speaking about the concept of white privilege (sometimes even black privilege when evident) intersecting w/ class status over yonder.

  9. Well, intersectionality is more or less in the eye of the beholder, and for bell hooks it means “much more attention for ME and my particular subset of the big wide world of oppression,” and surprise! Her name doesn’t really come up in discussions of gun control, because more than 75% of the victims of gun violence in the USA are MEN, and so what if so many are black? More than 7000 black men killed by guns last year alone, and less than 50 in mass shootings! Ain’t I a Woman? Yes you are, bell hooks, and you’re also black when it suits your self-promotion, but apart from your brilliant career, you don’t really “intersect” with much of anything.

    • lol. well, i guess you told HER, jacob freeze. but no, i have no idea what she’s ever said (or not said) about guns. 7000 is a staggering number, but i suppose many would say, and have said that’s due to black on black crime, yes? i’ll add a comment by bruce dixon in a sec, but i’ve stuck in assange-world most of today… and searching my oeuvre here for more compelling evidence of the hits and lies about him.

    • ha, now i get ‘ain’t i a woman?’ she wrote a book by that name. (i checked her twitter acct). but i do remember a couple commenters here really like her, but me, i really don’t care for the $3 word: intersectionality. ‘where class intersects class, etc.’ sounds far less poncy to me. ;-) and i hate ponce!

  10. from bruce dixon at BAR:

    “Last weekend the March For Our Lives mobilized half a million on the DC mall and a few hundred thousand more combined in dozens of cities across the US. Lyft donated a million free rides to marchers, and a long list of celebrity endorsers wrote checks and cut spots. Broadcast and cable media gave free plugs letting people know where local actions were, and how to donate online. Former president Obama, who scorned the young people in the streets after the police murder of Freddie Gray warmly praised the young protesters against gun violence in Florida as ‘leading the way for all of us.”

    It’s not hard to see the hand of the Democratic party behind the tens of millions in corporate contributions and free media accorded the March For Our Lives mobilization. 2018 is a midterm election year, and November is only seven months away. The Democrats urgently need some big sticks with which to beat out the vote this fall, some issues that utterly discredit their foes without burning them as well. Being a party of capital themselves, Democrats have to be pretty picky.”

    https://blackagendareport.com/gun-debate-narrow-opportunity-democrats-wide-one-left

  11. from wsws:

    “On Tuesday UK Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan described Assange in parliament as a “miserable little worm” who should hand himself in to the British authorities. He said, “It is of great regret that Julian Assange remains in the Ecuador embassy. It is of deeper regret that even last night he was tweeting against Her Majesty’s Government for their conduct in replying to the attack in Salisbury.”

    Within hours of this provocative statement, Assange had his communications severed. In response, Assange tweeted, “As a political prisoner detained without charge for 8 years, in violation of 2 UN rulings, I suppose I must be ‘miserable’; yet nothing wrong with being a ‘little’ person although I’m rather tall; and better a ‘worm’, a healthy creature that invigorates the soil, than a snake.”

    In 2010, US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks revealed that Duncan was the focus of particular interest by US intelligence. It disclosed a 22 January 2010 cable, signed off by Elizabeth Pitterle, the US head of intelligence operations, stating that analysts were preparing “finished products on the Conservative leadership for senior policymakers” and speculating on the “political ambitions” of the former oil trader—then international development minister.”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/30/assa-m30.html

  12. Thanks for posting this. I had no idea, even from the alternative newssites I’ve read, that the focus of the marches was anything other than guns. I’m glad to see that a significant portion of young people are also protesting militarism, economic injustice, and related issues.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that registration involving DOD is a terrible idea.

    In regard to background checks, I never thought of the issue you raised, i.e. that it would cause potential murderers to avoid seeking help, which is an extremely valid point. My concern is: by what criteria will a mentally ill person be judged to be unfit to own a weapon? I don’t own a gun, don’t really believe in them as a safe and effective means of protection, but if I were under threat (as my internet stalker has made abundantly imminent for me) would I, as a lifelong sufferer of depression and anxiety, be denied a permit? What if I became homeless (another imminent threat) and needed a rifle for subsistence hunting? It seems like this measure would necessarily involve a heavy dose of arbitrariness. And I’m sure people of color and the poor and those with the wrong politics would be discriminated against, no matter how fair and specifics the guidelines would read on their face.

    • And this might sound crazy or like a no-brainer to many people, but I’ve always been on the fence about banning assault rifles. I know that should things get bad enough that an armed revolution would seem like the only possible, last-resort solution to fighting tyranny, a Red Dawn fantasy about a bunch of ragtag wolverines defeating the US military is just that, a fantasy. But on the other hand, perhaps free enclaves could at least be defended in some mountainous areas (ask the Taliban, though a bad analogy for “free” communities?) Or at least make it harder for the bastards? Maybe even turn the tide and the military and police might join the rebels?

      I remember reading a passage from Solzhenitsyn where he said, to paraphrase, that he often wondered had the citizens been armed and had the guts to attack the NKVD agents as they came to arrest random people during Stalin’s purges, would they have carried out their mass arrests with such zeal?

      I hate to think like this. I don’t really believe in violent revolutions. Not so sure about self-defense or defense of one’s loved ones in such a last-ditch scenario. But it has crossed my mind more than once whenever such proposals are advanced. But these thoughts are tentative and not my strong conviction at all. I would love to hear someone refute them.

      • i can’t refute your thoughts, just say how i feel, really. we have guns left over from mr. wd’s bird hunting days in NE; i never learned to use one, though i should at least know how to unload a gun, safetys, etc. although i know i could kill someone w/ my bare hands in defense of my loved ones, don’t want to kill someone w/ a gun. if i knew how to use one, i might have have put a deer out of its misery on the road.

        some folks over yonder at ian welsh’s are seemingly preparing for the great planetary shutdown, and a couple are mentioning using guns to defend their enclaves. our neighbor lazarus is on the same mindset, and has a whole freaking gun locker fulla rifles; dunno who imagines as coming to rip off his food and whatnot… but hell, we only have extra cuz we’re in the position to: home-canned, frozen, and big bags of dried foods up the yin-yang. but hell, i’d just say ‘help yourselves, but please share with others as well’.

        but yes, the arbitrary nature of mental health status is epic, and yeppers, dissidents won’t be gettin’ permits, oh no… that manifesto kinda sucked…or almost completely sucked, as does their list of funding sources (i think i put the long list in here, but…as ever, i’ve forgotten). ;-) let us know how you’re healing and all.

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