We remain stunned by the unbelievably brutal attack on innocent high school students in Parkland, Florida. Who knows why the individual, obviously disturbed, felt compelled to do such a violent thing thereby ending seventeen lives and damaging so many more. Hindsight cannot help too much now.

The trigger has been pulled and there is no going back.

In the wake of the horror, debate rekindled over gun control and the meaning of twenty-seven little words. They have been dissected countless times but the conclusion has remained largely the same. Gun advocates cling to that decision because parts of the Second Amendment provide quite a sturdy position from which to take a stand.

But so do parts of the First. Enter the students.

Regardless of one’s political leanings, the organization and determination of the kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School must be admired. Their collective response in speaking out was not a left-wing or right-wing reaction; it was a human reaction. And parts of the First Amendment provide quite a sturdy position from which to take a stand.

As clearly (or not, depending on interpretation) as the Second Amendment allows some to declare their right to bear arms, the First Amendment allows others the right to declare they should not. It presents a poignant battle during which each side feels offended by the other’s perceived inability to understand the point. Gun control is a gargantuan dispute.

I have no answers. Never having purchased a gun I have rarely given ownership or control a second thought. The right of anyone to own a gun was a given. But when gruesome gun-related events repeatedly occur they give one ample reason to reconsider based on common sense. It is a natural response. The same response Parkland students had after surviving the attack by a crazed individual whose weapon of choice was a gun. They had seen the same play out too many times, felt fed up, and are now letting the world know.

These kids understand the power of free speech. And they will use it.

These kids also understand the power of the vote. And they will use it.

Outraged by another tragedy where “thoughts and prayers” were substituted for realization and action, a handful of students spoke out. Inspired by their force, thousands more are swelling the protest. Lawmakers have largely avoided the gun control controversy, dodging and side-stepping their way around any resolution. This approach has worked for decades and may have continued as the preferred pattern, but the Parkland outcry grows stronger all the time.

Who knows the intention of the disturbed young man when he attacked students at the high school. What was he trying to prove? One thing he did prove, unwittingly, was the ability of a dynamic group of expressive young voters-to-be to consolidate their power. “Thoughts and prayers” go out to lawmakers now… they do not know what they are in for. Perhaps they hoped to continue the stalling? Pushed into action by the witnessing of death, children are forced to step up where adults never did. Something will happen now.

The trigger has been pulled and there is no going back.

Stuart M. Perkins


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105 responses to “Triggers

  1. I wish it were as simple as you say. But you are right. There’s been a paradigm shift. Things will never be as they were.

    • True, not simple at all and I don’t know what the answer is, but surely something can be figured out.

      • There’s reason for optimism. It all comes down to the ‘big business’ of government. So many profit from the status quo that I’m afraid there will be fierce and irrational resistance to meaningful change. I hope these youngsters can keep their idealism intact as they navigate this treacherous terrain. They are the future.

  2. CherishingFLo

    This is so real. The change that’s coming is felt.

  3. Garrie Madison Stoutimore

    I thought it would be my generation who would change the world. It’s disheartening to see that so many of us who were outspoken about change during the 60s and 70s are the same people who are so resistant to it now. I pray this younger generation who have so strongly articulated the need for reform do a better job than we did.

  4. Ginny Brown

    Beautifully expressed, Stuart. Thank you. Ill be sharing your thoughts today (with credit, of course).

  5. Well said, and powerful; thank you.

  6. This should be such a simple decision. The right to bear arms should not trump (sorry for that word) the right for peaceful existence and the right to live without fear. I agree with the argument that guns do not kill people, people kill people. But people with guns kill people more easily and people with semi automatics kill more people faster. Once the trigger is pulled, you can’t take it back, like removing a post. If my vote counted, I would vote for the right to BARE arms.

  7. Over one million children under the age of 6 are on currently on psychiatric drugs. There’s many teens and even our elderly on these drugs, too. If you want, read the warning labels on these drugs. It’s the drugs that’s the cause, not the gun. We need a major overhaul on our mental health institutions, Psychiatrists and Big Pharma, the Banks. It goes Deep…take a look. We the people do have the power & we need it by using our voting rights. See and will give you plenty of data on this. And read How to Press America’s RESET Button by Sean Burke. Great resources.

  8. Zyriacus

    Since the pen is mightier than anything else give your kids pens and train to use them properly and with wisdom.

  9. Thom Campbell

    Amen! The youth of our country give me extreme measures of hope! Beautiful writing as always!


  10. Karen

    Great expressive thoughts. Thank you

  11. I hope they can maintain the high level of energy behind their protest and carry that into the polling place. We need an engaged electorate more than anything in this country.

  12. I was shocked to hear a member of the Florida State Legislature state that these kids should “shut up”, they are kids, adults will make the decisions. Yesterday I heard on the news they have uncovered an association with this young man and a white supremacist group. Trump has opened the wood work to any low life organization that cares to crawl out.

  13. Reblogged this on Pastor Michael Moore's Blog and commented:
    Well said, Stuart, well said!

  14. Cathleen

    Wonderful commentary…..I agree with one of your readers ….I also thought our generation would be doing more to change the world….these young kids are sick and tired of their elders doing nothing…..letting the NRA push us around. Seems like too many politicians are owned by the NRA…..shame on them.

  15. Paulina Radzisauskas

    I agree, well said Stuart.

  16. Wow, I have been in the design business for decades and the words ‘paradigm shift’ make me nauseous. As well as the other sort of anti left wing comments.Wonderful commentary by you, we are attending a walk out tomorrow and I am posting pictures on my blog. Do you read stonekettle?interesting commentary from one with gun experience. Thanks for saying this.

  17. Thanks for this Stuart! Well stated.

  18. You are welcome. I have lots more to say about it all, but I’m not going to step into the quagmire 🙂 I’m amazed and proud of these kids. The rest I cover on my blog 🙂

    • I totally understand! You know how my posts normally are. Pretty tame. I don’t think I said too much here but I feel like you, just proud of the kids for standing up for what they believe in.

  19. I’d add: these kids know the power of social media. And they are using it.

  20. Dominic Sceski

    Emotions shouldn’t rule politics though. Human reaction or not, the youth of our country should by no means be the moral leaders. I’m 19 and I’m saying that.

  21. Yes it is so past time for change!! I applaud the students at Parkland and others that have joined them. There is hope for our future!

  22. I’d applaud any and all efforts toward US gun control laws. How many more examples are needed to demonstrate that people with anger or mental issues, and free access to military assault weapons, will crack and start blasting away?
    (A side issue to tackle sometime would be the TV shows and movies that glorify blasting away. But I fear a mob of opponents would rise up to protest any association between viewing and doing.)

  23. lisa robertson

    Bravo Stuart!

  24. Jeanette

    In a world where everything is at risk or depletion for the younger generation the one thing they will fight the hell for is their lives and they are doing it because of the lack of common sense of the older generation. Play with fire and you will be burned and these kids are ready to burn.

  25. One of the reasons for the second Amendment is to protect the first. Take away the people’s right to defend themselves against tyranny then a tyrant can take away our right of free speech. It has happened before.

  26. Linda Walker

    Amen Stuart! I applaud these young adults for standing up and letting their voices be heard!

  27. Re: Tim’s thought: Were Lincoln and Kennedy assassinated because someone thought they were tyrants? We here in Canada never think in terms of political assassinations as a solution to tyranny. It seems like a lot of real people are dying for the sake of a hypothetical situation.

    Tyrants are clever schemers. Step #1 would be surprise door-to-door visits in the night to confiscate weapons. One gets the impression that in the US this would yield enough guns to supply another army. I fear as it is now, so it would be then: citizens’ weapons would be four times more likely to be used against themselves than in their defense.

  28. Powerful statement! Thanks. This is all the more meaningful because your usual stories are gently and lovingly written. I think both are rooted in your strong core of human decency.

    • Hi thanks! True, like I commented earlier to someone else, I normally shy away from anything controversial, not my style, but I wanted to applaud these young people for their cooperation and coordination in trying to make changes they believe in. Thanks again!

  29. Reblogged this on The Fruitful Life and commented:
    Stuart, who writes “Storyshucker,” has posted a very well-written and thought out commentary on the recent school shooting in Florida, first and second amendment rights and how people–especially students are responding.

  30. Pingback: Triggers | The Fruitful Life

  31. I found myself thinking, as I watched the demonstrations in different parts of the country today: something may happen now. Because of these young people being dignified and mature about expressing their feelings and beliefs, and asking to be heard, this country may very well push the lawmakers into giving the people what most of them want–the right to continue to bear arms in defense of themselves and their property, along with sensible restrictions on the type of armament they can own as private citizens, and effective background checks before all commercial sales. This still does not stop private sales or thefts, or violence committed with other weapons. Only people can stop other people from doing these things.

  32. Tayla

    Stuart – Brilliantly and beautifully written!!
    As you well know, I am a victim of gun violence. When my son was murdered, it was by someone with a very dark heart but, as the man with the gun, he was in charge. Even so, I firmly believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in it because the horror I just described will never be completely abolished. As long as there are mentally-challenged people and others who are simply evil and want someone gone, they will find a way and a gun will not always be their weapon of choice.
    However, what these young people about whom you wrote want is only one thing – to be able to go to school without fear for their lives. That can be achieved when those in power do four things. First – require comprehensive background checks no matter where you purchase a gun. Second – change age to purchase weapon from 18 to 21. Third – BAN bumpstocks. Fourth – BAN assault weapons. There is no reason good enough to own one.

    These young people have begun a movement to make these things possible. May it continue.

    Stuart – continue to do what you do best. In this case, it’s writing a thought-provoking and heartfelt piece about an enormously important subject.

    • Thank you, thank you! I just think those young people should be encouraged to stand up for what they believe in. We should all be happy about that. Too much apathy in this world and it’s nice to see the energy for change!

  33. Thanks for what you have said here. As an Australian, I am appalled that guns are so freely available in the US, particularly the multi-fire ones. It’s so good to see the youth using their voices for the cause of gun control. Our gun control laws in Australia make a huge difference for good. I do hope Americans come to see that as the way forward.

  34. Reblogged this on Abbie's Corner of the World and commented:
    This blogger makes some interesting points about gun control. If you think assault rifles should be included in our Second Amendment right to bear arms, remember the tragic school shooting in Florida last month, and think again. This is why I marched in West Palm Beach yesterday.

  35. Went to march in Philadelphia yesterday. I have never needed an assault rifle! Reblogging

  36. The kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School inspire my hopes in a world of chaos and churn. Kudos to them and all young people speaking out so eloquently on this topic.

  37. The problem isn’t guns but crazy people. When the lefitsts emptied mental hospitals, they didn’t have a plan for mentally disturbed people. Though the trigger waspulled, we can take some valuable lessons from this tragedy. Mentally ill people who threaten violence should be taken into custody and given the help they need. Taking guns from law-abiding citizens isn’t the answer. There have been many cases when cowardly criminals have been frightened off by pistol-packing good guys. Don’t let emotional people tell yu we need more gun control. It’s crazy people we need to have controled.

  38. It’s so saddening to know that anyone can buy a gun and shoot school students, if the problem is mentally ill people, it’s even more of a problem that these people are allowed to carry guns around… It’s simply unacceptable, and frankly shameful

  39. lynnetteok

    Very well written! Thank you. Personally, I can’t think of any reason for someone to have an assault weapon. I understand military and (maybe) law enforcement. Those weapons have no other purpose than to kill as many as possible as quickly as possible.
    I know the situation is complicated, but that seems like a sensible beginning to me.

  40. **“Thoughts and prayers” go out to lawmakers now… they do not know what they are in for.**

    Great post.
    Thank you.

  41. I like the positive note. We need a plan and a will to change. My son wrote a poem on this posting his link here

  42. Stuart,
    A great post for our times. And a question that will be addressed one way or the other. I hope two things: 1) That the solution will be correct and not arrived based upon emotion. and 2) that it will be resolved without a major confrontation.
    But the reason we are here came about some six decades ago. One morning in my middle school home room in 1963, I and my classmates rose from our seats to say the pledge of allegiance to our flag and then the morning prayer. Instead was announced a “Moment of Silence.” This was the result of a Supreme Court decision that eliminated prayer from public schools. That had opened the way to a cultural shift that may never be reversed again. And when the moment of silence was completely silenced so too was witnessed the end of a culture of life and the beginning of a culture of death.
    When Cain rose up against his brother Able he had no weapon but his hands. Pride and envy was behind the death of his brother. We can ban any weapon and pass any legislation. But if the heart of neighbor toward neighbor is not altered, what is will remain.

  43. Wow…that is a powerful piece. Thank you. As an Australian I have watched these events unfold with disbelief and great sadness. Now there is hope. The children are indeed stepping up…all power to them.

  44. There was once a brighter day in this country..
    People young and old are depressed and confused.. medicated and left on their own to sort out the demons in their mind.. Sadly gun control will only put a dent in the real issue.. People are emotionally unstable and will find another weapon to vent their hate.. Hearts and minds must change.. I would love to see a million citizen march geared in that direction.. God help us..

  45. Beautifully written! Empowering and powerful at the same time.

  46. I was thinking about the First Amendment too when the students were experiencing the true gifts of democracy… the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. It was mesmerizing. I love your line, “Thoughts and prayers go out to lawmakers now… they do not know what they are in for.” I couldn’t agree more. Things are finally going to change. 🙂

  47. Thoughtful piece. I am convinced the 2nd amendment referred to having a ‘military’ bear arms. They were at war with England and wanted to break away to form their own country. Here’s to the students!!! Muriel

  48. It is very difficult for me to come to terms with having the right to bear arms. From an Australian point of view it is unthinkable. I find astonishing the power that the NRA has in promoting a gun culture. Arms are for wars. Surely the American people are not at war with themselves. And I must agree with one of the comments before . That law was written at times of war. Today’s world is entirely different. I only could pray that some sane people would vote against it and the life of so many innocent young people be spared. I am for ever dumfounded to see the horrors in your lovely country.

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