SAN FRANCISCO — I could not help but notice the young man wearing the bright and bold Second Amendment T-shirt as I walked toward Pier 37 in Fisherman’s Market.
The T-shirt also said “No negotiations and no compromise.” It seemed odd that he would wear this shirt right after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida as the nation was shaken after 17 kids and adults were murdered by a deranged male with an AR-15 assault rifle.
I cautiously approached and said “I do not want to take away your guns, but we need responsible gun laws that are enforced in this country. He was a nice gentleman but stuck to his word of no negotiation and no compromise.
Why should a sicko like the kid in Florida have the right to purchase a gun? The man said his fear is that the police will call sane people insane and deny them gun ownership. I then questioned why people need weapons intended for war. His fear is that the government will want to ban assault weapons today and hand guns tomorrow.
We have a gun problem in this country, but it is not just a gun problem. We have more pissed off people who are willing to shoot up schools, churches and movie theaters.
We must also change the way we live. Back in the day if somebody said they wanted to shoot their teacher or boss we laughed and moved on. Now if somebody makes a threat we must report it. Times have changed.
Society is different.
Here are my solutions. Suburban schools must act like they are in the hood. Detroit and Chicago schools already have metal detectors and a police presence because they know the building could be attacked by gangs or other criminals. Suburban schools act as if nothing can happen to them.
I walk into high schools all the time and tell a dude standing near the front door I want to go the office and just walk in. They don’t check you. You have the run of the school.
In the hood you get patted down or walk through a metal detector. That’s part of the process.
Mental health is an issue. So many institutions have closed and people are looking for help. A clinic closed a few years ago near Lafayette Park. A few days later a former patient jumped off a bridge onto the Lodge.
Politicians say the same, tired things. It is not the right time to talk about this. They are bought and paid for by the NRA, a gun lobby that pays millions to politicians for their support. If I had this kind of bank and clout we’d have a Terry Foster national holiday and my statue would be up somewhere in Washington D.C.
No new gun law or money for mental health will completely eliminate mass shootings. But we can negotiate and compromise to help reduce the carnage.
Now is the time to talk about it. We are losing too many good kids and adults while we wait.