The recent killing of Florida high school students has shocked the country’s conscience and galvanized young people especially. Students are planning a national march and school walkouts. America’s youth are demanding real change, and we the people must rally behind them.
In a televised interview, Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Florida shooting, called out politicians who take “blood money” from the National Rifle Association. And to the NRA, she said: “Disband, dismantle….Don’t you dare come back here.…The fact that you had so much influence for so long in America just goes to show how much time and effort we still need to spend on fixing our country, and gun control is just the first thing right now.”
The government is in the grip of an utterly corrupt group of billionaires and corporations and the politicians who serve them. There are roughly 11,000 corporate lobbyists based in Washington, D.C. The NRA is one example of such lobbyists. From 2010 through mid-February 2018, the NRA donated $111 million to political campaigns of federal candidates. The NRA speaks for a US firearms industry with annual revenue of $11 billion.
And the domestic gun industry is just one element of the $1 trillion a year military-industrial complex. In the world of harnessing government to protect profits, the gun industry is a small player compared to the big military contractors, or the financial, pharmaceutical, and energy industries. We are practically governed directly by the corporations.
Having our country at the mercy of these corporate giants is the root of the violence problem. Since colonial times, America has been ruled by a wealthy elite that relied on violence to accomplish its political and economic goals. They used violence to rob the Native Americans of their land. They used violence to keep the slaves in bondage. And they have cultivated a culture of militarism and the glorification of violence to serve their purposes. Our rulers have proscribed peace, and sanctified mass murder. It’s no wonder the violence spills into our daily lives and threatens even our children.
To stop the slaughter, we must end the culture of violence. To do this, we must push the corporations aside and put the people in charge. We must join with the youth to build a powerful movement that demands that the government act in the interests of the people, not the corporations. Save our children! Save our country! Stop the killing!