Friday, May 18, 2018

School Shooting Outrage - Is it greater because White kids are dying?

There was another school shooting today, this time at SantaFe High School in Texas. It's a tragedy and unless there is a massive voter turn-out in the November 2018 elections, then in following elections, to replace gun supporting legislators at the state and national level, nothing will be done.

Below is one of the Tweets that I've seen, demanding action on this.

This is signed by the Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health.  As I read it a question crept into my mind?  Most of the victims of the school shootings have been White kids. Is this now getting the attention it is getting because of that?

This was the front page of the October 15, 1992 Chicago SunTimes, following the killing of a 7-year old African American boy in Cabrini-Green.  The editorial writer says "It's everyone's responsibility" to keep this from happening.

I've a thick stack of news clippings from the past 26 years showing similar shootings taking the lives of Black and Brown Chicago kids on a regular basis.  While occasionally the editorial writers make this an issue, such as right now is happening with the 31 bullets campaign on the Chicago SunTimes web site, too few people have responded in ways that would change what's been happening mostly to poor kids.

I've been pleased to see that the Parkland High School students who lead the #MarchforourLives movement have been intentional in reaching out to urban youth and people of color to try to focus on the gun violence happening every day in big cities, and have encouraged a look at the root causes of these problems.  However, I don't see that on the policy goals on the MarchforourLives web site.

While many have been quick to applaud the rising youth leadership following the Parkland shooting, gun reform in America is a long battle against a deeply entrenched foe.  Addressing some of the root causes of urban violence, school shootings, suicide and domestic abuse, is an even bigger challenge.

With that in mind, I encourage organizers to read this 1980s article about 8 Stages of Movement Building by Bill Moyers.  His lessons apply to 2018 movement-building as much as they did 40 years ago.

I strongly support the first policy initiative on the #MarchforOurLives web site, which is "Fund gun violence research and gun violence prevention/intervention programs."  That covers a lot of bases, including the gun violence in our cities, the shootings in our schools, and the massive number of people killed via domestic violence or who take their own lives through suicide.

With school shootings becoming an almost weekly event, is this now a broad enough issue that the costs of doing nothing are now rising high enough that a majority of the people in the USA, White, Brown, Black and other hues of skin tone, will have an urgency for finding a solution?

Or, will we be looking at headlines like my 1992 Chicago SunTimes story twenty-five years from now?

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