It always amazes me how something can be identified as a major concern and everyone jumps on the bandwagon to address it — complete with candlelight vigils, rallies, town hall meetings, protests, the works.
But then other problems just as severe do not receive such attention, sometimes getting pushed aside altogether.
A perfect example of that involves the selective outrage over the recent shooting at the Florida high school which claimed 17 lives. Since then students in that state and all over the U.S. have appeared at the forefront — on the CNN cable TV channel and various other high-visibility public settings — demanding gun-control legislation they think will prevent such tragedies.
No one can question the passion of these young people — especially in an era when they tend to live in their own little worlds with cell phones, video games or computers. So it is refreshing to see them coming together for any cause, and their sentiments on guns are certainly genuine and heartfelt.
Yet at the same time I suspect the students are being used to some extent as political pawns by the gun-control forces in this country. Those forces obviously recognize the emotional impact these innocent youths can add to the issue while also generating more negativity for the National Rifle Association.
This suspicion has been bolstered by the fact that the students have not just been raising awareness of school violence, but engaging in activism. From coast to coast, teens have been walking out of classes, stopping traffic and making spirited speeches calling out legislators for inaction on gun control.
This included a recent trip by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, where the 17 people were killed, to the state capital in Tallahassee to call for an assault weapons ban. They went there by bus, with students in Florida shown outside one of the vehicles holding eye-catching, professionally printed signs stating “Gun Control Now.”
For one thing, it makes me wonder who is paying for all of this. Could it be some Far Left or Fake News organization seeking to capitalize on the recent tragedy to advance their agenda of taking away citizens’ gun-ownership rights? Just another move toward turning America into a communist or fascist country where people won’t be able to protect themselves (see Nazi Germany)?
I do not wish to discount the severity of the recent shooting deaths in Florida or any other campus where such senseless acts have occurred.
And I definitely am not opposed to citizens hitting the streets to draw attention to some cause near and dear to their hearts, whether it is gun violence or another issue.
However, my question is why don’t we see the same kind of fervor for other life-threatening conditions in this nation such as, say, the continuing opioid epidemic?
One recent study showed that drug overdoses are killing more people each year than gun homicides and car crashes combined. Shockingly, 142 people per day die of overdoses, two-thirds of them involving opioids. This means that during the 17 days since the 17 people died in the Florida shooting, a staggering 2,414 fatal overdoses have occurred.
Despite that, no one is targeting Big Pharma as they are the NRA — all the pharmaceutical companies that are flooding the market with these deadly substances.
Meanwhile, what about those mass shootings where known terrorists have been involved? Has anyone hit the streets or airwaves to condemn the radical Islamic leanings responsible? The anti-gun forces always focus on the weaponry used in such cases as part of their ongoing anti-NRA rant, but never the ideology behind the violent actions — because of political correctness, plain and simple.
In instances where terrorists have driven vehicles into crowds to kill people, no one has called for restrictions on car sales as protesters have with guns. After all, the same dynamic is involved — misuse by one or two sick individuals of a consumer product that many others possess responsibly.
And, of course, you’ll never see young people nor any other citizens rallying in response to the many cases in which illegal immigrants, including gang members, have killed innocent Americans. No protests against sanctuary cities that harbor such criminals.
In making gun-control a higher priority than these other problems that are just as severe or more so, the advocates are undermining their own credibility.
If we want to tackle all the deadly menaces in society, then fine. But let’s not let our outrage be governed by which one happens to be the left-wing flavor of the month.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.