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Kiss, kiss, no bang bang

I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

On October 4th last year, I posted a blog about the Las Vegas shooting, pleading for America to rethink its stance on gun laws. I can’t believe that I’m doing it again less than five months later. And while President Trump may have signed an order today to ban bump-stock devices that convert semi-automatic rifles into rapid-fire weapons, as used in the Las Vegas shooting, it’s not enough.

$21m will buy you a lot of loyalty if you give it to someone. Even if that someone is a billionaire already.

The NRA donated $21m or thereabouts to the Trump Presidential election campaign. And with every one of his words about the appalling tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last week, he showed that he is their man. Through and through.

The second President Trump spoke about ‘mental health issues’ rather than you know, stopping guns getting into the wrong hands, you knew that a conversation about gun control was going nowhere. Had the Parkland perpetrator (I refuse to give him the oxygen of publicity)’s skin been of a different hue, I have no doubt that Trump’s speech would have mentioned terrorist. But because he’s white, it was all “thoughts and prayers” and “mental health”. As, indeed, it was after the Las Vegas shooting.

When Sandy Hook happened and things didn’t change on gun control, the message was clear – there are parts of the American political landscape that think it’s OK to kill children, if the alternative would be to water down their precious ‘right to bear arms’, enshrined in the Constitution. After Dunblane, the UK banned handguns. We have not had another instance of a school shooting since. Because the Government changed the law. It’s what Governments do, if they have the political will to do so.

Will anything change? Probably not. And yet, there is hope. Something feels different this time. This time, louder than all the rest are the voices of the teenagers, the survivors who are saying: “Enough”. They are eloquent and articulate and angry. Very, very angry that their lives and those of their friends and fellow students are held in such low esteem by their rulers.

The March for Our Lives on March 24 is organised by students, children and young people, many of them survivors of Parkland. They want things to change and they are going to shout and scream and protest and lobby until they do. Wouldn’t it be amazing if just one of those students was inspired to continue the fight, maybe even into politics and actually manged to make the world a better place?

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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