Kathryn - In 1995 I went to technical college to learn mapping and land surveying, I thought it would be a good thing to know in order to compliment my fairly general degree in geography. In my class there was one guy who seemed a little “off”, kind of like the potato salad that has been sitting out a bit too long at a picnic, it’s probably harmless but you never know. One day in the hallway he said to my face “I know how Marc Lépine feels”.
For those who don’t know, in 1989 Marc Lépine walked into a technical college in Montreal, entered an engineering classroom with a semi-automatic rifle and told the men to leave. By the end of his rampage 14 women were murdered, 14 others were wounded, 10 women and four men.
Being one of two women in my class I was taken a back. Was this some stupid joke or was this a legitimate threat? I continued to go to school with trepidation and there was no further incident for a couple of weeks. Then one Monday we showed up for class and the guy wasn’t there. “Where is he?” one of my classmates asked the instructor.
“Well he won’t be back to join us” the instructor said. “He was arrested this weekend for breaking into his old high school and going berserk in the biology lab. He took the pickled organs and smashed them against the wall, broke equipment, and trashed the place.”
I have never stared down the barrel of a gun, but I have stared into the cold grey eyes of someone who I believe could pull the trigger. I have been scared to go to school and I stand with the students from Parkland and around the world who say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! END GUN VIOLENCE NOW!
Catherine - Kathryn and I are guests in America and we appreciate the opportunity to be able to travel around the country, meeting amazing people and seeing gorgeous countryside but there is one thing really wrong in the US and that is the ease in getting firearms. Kathryn and I have discussed in length about avoiding writing about guns or politics on our blog as we want to keep the content fun and enjoyable. But #enoughisenough.
We have driven through and seen the signs for #lasvegasstrong, #orlandostrong #msdstrong and now #austinstrong (although that was bombings versus gunfire). All these amazing cities with warm, friendly people that have to live with the grief of their friends and family being killed. When the conversation comes up about guns, almost everyone we talk with has been affected. A nephew, uncle, neighbour or friend being killed by a gun.
Gun violence in America is out of control yet many people still feel that the right to bear arms is just that, a right. Even the teens leading the March for our Lives Movement are only asking for what I would consider the bare minimum of changes
- Banning of assault weapons
- Raise age to purchase gun to 21
- Cooling off period after purchasing a weapon
- Mental health check before gun purchase.
To me these are common sense and definitely do not infringe on anyone’s “right to bear arms”. Maybe The forefathers were talking about tank tops and not guns? Did anyone think of that?
Yesterday Kathryn and I took the train to Washington DC so we could participate and feel the energy within the March For Our Lives rally. We had planned to make signs but living in an RV we had limited craft supplies. I wanted my sign to say “whatever happened to Kung Fu Fighting”. We have included some of the signs we saw at the March.
The children all had amazing speeches. The most heartwarming and tear jerking was Samantha Fuentes requesting we sing happy birthday to Nicholas Dworat as it would have been his 18th birthday. Emma Gonzalez’s speech was epic. She had over half a million people stand in silence for over 3 minutes. That moment in silence plus her speech was the 6 minutes and 20 seconds it took to kill 17 people at MSD in Parkland. Stories of children holding their best friends as they bled to death, young people having guns held in their face and told if they say anything they will be hunted down and killed. Martin Luther King Jr's nine year old granddaughter spoke about a dream of no guns.
These are strong, young adults who have nothing to lose. The best time to advocate for change is when there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. I wish them luck fighting the machine. It won’t be easy and their work has just begun.