01 Mar Changing the National Debate!
This article was originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, preserved here now for historical purposes.
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Below is an article by Candidate for Boca Raton City Council Seat C, Kim Do. A relatively new resident with strong feelings about school safety and security. A single mother with two children in Boca Raton public schools and concerned, as are many of us, about the events of the last few weeks and the dangers that now lurk in every school nationwide.
Ms. Do is hosting a meet and greet event at the Biergarten Restaurant in the Royal Palm Plaza this Saturday, March 3rd from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.. BocaWatch encourages all interested residents to consider visiting with Ms. Do to weigh her merits. Ms. Do’s opponent, Jeremy Rodgers, has little, if any, personal stake in the school safety issue as all of his children are home schooled and generally out of harm’s way. Al Zucaro, Publisher
What happened at Parkland High School has changed the national debate on guns in America. We have a public safety crisis in our country that requires a systemic public policy approach that is inclusive of all stakeholders.
Our Florida students are leading the national debate: organizing demonstrations; flooding the statehouse in Tallahassee; composing songs; creating protest signs; confronting politicians running in 2018 and taking to TV airwaves with an intensity, and personal power reminiscent of the 60s. Even more remarkable their savvy use of social media has created a social movement with its first national march-March for our Lives for Gun Control on March 24 in Washington, D.C.
According to a recent CNN poll, 71% of Americans want stricter laws preventing those under 21 from purchasing any type of firearm. Last week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia ruled that assault weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment. Judge Robert King wrote for the court: …we have no power to extend Second Amendment rights to weapons of war. This decision applies only to the State of Maryland but it sets a precedent for the nation on assault weapons. The NRA estimates up to 15 million AR-15s are in circulation in the United States.
The message has been heard ‘loud and clear’ at the state level but with far less urgency at the federal level. The U.S. Congress is reconvening this week with a mid-term election agenda unwelcoming of a change in the status quo of the National Rifle Association. The business community has stepped up its support for strict scrutinv of gun ownership. For example, the airline and investment industries have reassessed their involvement in the gun industry in the wake of the Parkland massacre.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced a major action plan to keep Florida students safe including background checks; a ban on the purchase of gun stocks; and a proposed budget of $450 million for school safety including a mandatory law officer in every public school. Any element of his public safety package will involve local governments as first responders.
The Boca Raton City Council has proposed Resolution # 39-2018 urging the U.S. Congress and the Florida Legislature to enact measures to protect school children and communities from gun violence and to develop effective school security strategies.
What measures might the U.S. Congress consider in this legislative session? The publication The Hill suggests seven measures: background checks; age limits; bump stocks; ‘red flag laws that temporarily strip gun rights from people deemed to be dangerous; research by the Center for Disease control; an assault weapons ban; and arming teachers.
The National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne Pierre echoed President Donald Trump’s call to arm teachers to prevent school shootings. Educators vehemently reject the idea of arming teachers and so do I!
Our students are “teaching us well” and are the difference-makers: they have the moral authority to change the status quo. This is a watershed moment in America. Our state and federal policymakers must beware of the perils of inaction. After all, our children are watching so let us not betray them once again.
In the meantime, I recommend The School Crisis Guide to policymakers, educators, child providers, and law enforcement officials for resources on preparing for reacting to, and responding to school shootings:
Kim Do, Esq.
Candidate for Boca Raton City Council Seat C