How can a background check be something we’re against?

IN MY VIEW
Nannette Bulabosh • Elkhart Lake

Seventeen-year-old Ciara Hafsinger posed this question to the huge crowd at Elkhart Lake’s March for our Lives last weekend. She and the other teenage speakers called for changes in our gun laws, including tougher background checks and a ban on high-capacity weapons.

The students also urged people to reach out to loners, speak up when we witness bullying, and oppose politicians who seem to value the NRA more than young lives. Several held signs supporting Rebecca Dallet for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The NRA has endorsed her opponent.

It was the kids’ turn to talk, and our turn to listen. And we did.

Thank you, Ciara, Saylor, Lucy, Ava, and Mary for speaking out with such passion and grace in Elkhart Lake's event. And thank you to the adults who provided a local platform for them.

Saturday's rally was one of 800 rallies around the world. The one in Washington DC included several minutes of uncomfortable silence. When Parkland, FL survivor Emma Gonzalez stood there saying nothing, tears streaming down her face, you could see her audience getting restless. Then she told us that this was how long it had taken the gunman to kill 17 of her classmates.

"Fight for your lives before it's someone else's job," Gonzalez said.

I had the sense, in Elkhart Lake, that the young people who carried signs, and marched, and spoke, are well aware that they are fighting for their lives.

They, and those of us who support them, certainly have a tough fight on our hands. "Imagine marching against our right to protect ourselves," wrote one Facebook commenter.

After I publicly thanked a local photographer for his wonderful images, one FB writer even went after me, writing, "people like you make me sick." He referenced my teaching career and two-year-old State Assembly campaign, and called me a hypocrite.

Ending mass shootings in our gun-crazed culture is not going to be easy, but I think the young people understand this. They are playing the long game.

Let's figure out how we can help.

And let's keep listening to them.


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