Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. – Luke 14:31-32
On Wednesday February 14, 2018, 19-year old Nikolas Cruz arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in an Uber at 2:19 p.m.and “began shooting at students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds,” according to a police arrest report that was released the following day Thursday. Police said Cruz carried out this shooting that killed 17 people (most of them students) using a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle.
Since this carnage, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School came out and chanted “stop shooting at us,” have organized rallies that include a nation-wide 17-minute student walk-outs last Wednesday, various vigils, and sit-ins and interviews in the press.
On Saturday March 24, 2018 the students these are culminating in the mother of all marches titled ‘March for our lives,” and among others, calls for stronger gun control laws that include amending gun access age to 21 years. It is expected that the marches, with about 800 other marches throughout the US and around the world, will rally support from other well-wishers.
Three of the students from Parkland Florida, (where the shooting took place) Jaclyn Corin, Emma Gonzalez, and Sarah Chadwick spoke with Rachel Maddow MSNBC talk show host on Wednesday. The three talked about the background to the marches and their activities since the shooting. They also brushed aside negative voices that have criticized them. The teenagers stress that politicians should make the change.
“We want more than thoughts and prayers,” as the answer to gun violence.
The Parkland students said they are looking for results that will make the gun reforms and that they will keep fighting until “we get what we want.”
Maddow ended the discussion with wishing the organizers success in the march and the goals for gun law reform.
Gray Panthers NYC, an NGO that is committed to confronting ageism as it affects those of all ages, is inspired by the powerful student-led movement to stop gun violence. It will be among many organizations and high-profiled persons that will join the protestors on gun violence.
“Older people must stand in solidarity with younger people – a core value of Gray Panthers. The safety of all from gun violence, particularly for students, must be assured. Gray Panthers stands united in our plea to Congress to address this public health crisis and to keep kids safe. Gun violence is now the third leading cause of death in children,” reads an invitation to members of the organization.
I am joining the Gray Panthers, which states that it is“opposed to politically-inspired bans on scientific research to identify causes and evidence-based policy fixes.”
According to Gray Panther NYC branch leader Jack Kupferman said “There is a call for a comprehensive solution to gun violence that must include adopting a universal single-payer medical system that guaranteesfully-funded, accessible medical care, including both mental and physical healthcare, for violence prevention and treatment of survivors.”
These activities require massive organization and coordination. Let us spin round and over to Malawi where Malawi Catholic Archbishop Msusa turned down First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s offer to renovate Providence Secondary School that turned down earlier this year.
According to the Archbishop, he told the First Lady that the school had already found donations from elsewhere, causing the First Lady and her entourage,that included two ministers, to turn on their tailcoats and head back home. The ministers, Nankhumwa and Msaka represented their ministries (local government and educations.
When organizing my parents 60th wedding anniversary, I had invited the former late state president, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika. Unfortunately for me, he called to inform me that he had received the invitation on the morning on the celebrations and being president could not just decide at last minute, get on a bus and go to a function. The lesson for me was that it requires a whole lot of activities before the president can move out of state house.
It can be rightly assumed that similar “before event activities” must take place before the First Lady leaves state house. It is there surprising that two ministries and the office of the First Lady, caused this embarrassment on the noble intentions of the First Lady Madame Gertrude Mutharika.
It can also be firmly confirmed that Madame Mutharika did not wake up on the morning of the rejected donation, gather bags of cement, nails and roofing materials, whisk two ministers in tow, and load into a minibus and take the rickety-rickety road trip to Chisitu.
This trip must have been known for some time – if not weeks, definitely some days. Is it possible that any one of the ministries, the National Intelligence Bureau or DPP operatives could have made enquiries from the Archbishop’s offices to test the waters, ask questions of the current needs of the school?
As for the office of the First Lady, perhaps a visit to the school on the heels of the unfortunate fire that gutted student’s hostels including personal items like clothing, books, suite cases and other small items; these are not the big things like bags of cement, roofing materials.
The call here is for relevance in giving; but most important is coordination and planning of a person of high profile like the First Lady. It is embarrassing for the First Lady to be treated this way; it is embarrassing for the Archbishop to deny a donation from the First Lady.
Planning and coordination are essential elements in high profile person’s events. If teenage students can organized global protest rallies, two ministries should be able to successfully handle an important donation by the First Lady.