Perhaps it will take our students to jolt the perpetually extreme positions of elected officials, specifically but not exclusively Republicans, in this nation on issues of guns, rampant murders by the dozens in schools, by the dozens on streets very near to Oak Park.
We believe we may have reached a reset on an issue which has devolved into the most irrational of all the irrational debates and logic stomping that has come to mark our shared political lives in America.
The murders of 17 in a public high school in Florida has brought to light a spine, a common sense, a B.S. call-out that has been buried in the intense, hateful rhetoric of the NRA, its gun manufacturing backers and those like Donald Trump who marinate in its venom.
Astoundingly articulate teens in Parkland, Florida see through it all. And with their plainspokenness in representing a generation that has been raised with the specter of school shootings, with their mastery of social media, and with a candor that cuts every politician bought and controlled by NRA cash, that reveals right wing media flaming their common-sense responses and exposes the obvious: A vast majority of Americans favor both the Second Amendment and stringent restrictions on who can and cannot buy firearms, favor limits on specific weapons, add-ons and steroidal-sized packaging of ammunition.
Now that energy has spread throughout our nation. We saw it last week when some 600 students at Oak Park and River Forest High School walked out to voice their repudiation of the idea this gun culture is unsolvable, unchangeable. We applaud their efforts, we applaud the school administration for getting out of their way, and we look forward to what comes next.
This common-sense whirlwind has also reset gun debate in Springfield. There Sen. Don Harmon has renewed his 15-year push for a measure licensing gun dealers in Illinois. It passed the Senate last year, then stalled in the House. If it were to clear the House this session, it is hard to see how Gov. Bruce Rauner, being primaried from the right by the fully despicable Jeannie Ives, could sign it. More reason for bringing a Democrat back to the governor’s mansion. (Yes, even though we still believe Mike Madigan is a pox on our state.)