WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? When Children Stand and Speak Out, As Politicians Duck and Hide On Gun Control Issues…

by William “Duke” Smither

Time Magazine
(April 2018)

“My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough…” Nine-Year-Old Yolanda Renee King (Eldest granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. during “March of Our Lives” movement, 03/24/2018)


The photo-inset, front page story-intro for the Richmond Free Press (February 22-24, 2018; Vol. 27 No. 8) read: “Fla. school shooting survivors hoping to be catalyst for tougher gun laws,” following the February 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

But the Debate Continues

It raised the curtain for yet another scene on the stage of America’s gun-control debate. It was bad. Seventeen people were killed. More were wounded. Fortunately, the carnage’s 19-year-old suspected perpetrator was arrested less than two hours later, about two miles away from the school. He was duly charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and an equal number of attempted murders.

I was impressed with the overall quick response by the area’s law enforcement team, despite the hoopla surrounding Broward Country sheriff’s department and the FBI’s reportedly lack of response to numerous “red flags and warnings.” Reports of the school resource officer  who remained outside of the school during the shooting, rather than actively engaging the suspect, wielding a military style weapon, only added to the already fueled gun control debate.

Yet, through it all, I remained more impressed by the coordinated responses and voices of the legions and multitude of the nation’s youth, flowing in the wake of the slaughter. According to the Richmond Free Press, “Bodies of the dead were still inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School… when the teenage survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre began speaking out about gun violence…”

The Children Spoke Up!

And, they continued to speak out, up to and beyond the national “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2018,  lauded by CBS News “…as among the biggest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War era.” Other national news reports cited the Washington rally’s crowd size, an estimated 800,000 attendees (following initial forecasts of 500,000), as being significantly larger than the estimated 600,000 attendees for Donald Trump’s January 2017 inauguration. By comparison, official estimates for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration were recorded with 1.8 million attendees.

We’ve been here before, with the crowd-size ‘debate’, as well as the gun control dispute. Five years ago, I recorded my observations  on “Gun Sanity Lessons Learned Or Unlearned From Australia’s Newtown Community…,” at https://backstreetdjeli.com, on January 25, 2013. Apparently, the questions within the article remain the same, today. Back then, it said:

According to Congressional Research data, of the 535 members in the 112th Congress (435 U.S. Representatives, 100 Senators), attorneys make up the largest voting bloc (37% of the House, 60% of the Senate). Surely, if that many lawyers, already familiar with this “reasonable person” tool, are acting in such a fiduciary capacity for the nation, shouldn’t Congressional productivity (processing and passing bills, etc.), currently zapped by grid-locking activities, be more reasonably vigorous when applied to major issues facing America, today?

Ask yourself: In the aftermath of the horrific Newtown, Connecticut bloodbath which snuffed out the lives of so many innocent children, is that really such a hard question to answer?

Enough Already!

It’s really not all that difficult. But, on March 24, 2018, perhaps the answer finally surfaced, somewhere within the eloquent prose put forth by several of the youngest among us, including 11-year old, 5th grader Naomi Wadler whose speech electrified the Washington crowd, and 9-year-old Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, who further shocked the “March for Our Lives” audience with her own version of Dr. King’s “dream.”

With conviction akin to a prosecutor, she said, “My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough…”

Shucks, the way I see it, when the politicians continue to duck and hide from the gun control debate, while the children are passionately expressing themselves in “grown-up speak,” enough is enough… 

ENOUGH SAID!  I mean, I rest my case.








About William "Duke" Smither (a.k.a., "Backstreet D'jeli")

William "Duke" Smither, author of “BACKROADS TO 'BETHLEHEM': Odysseys of the Maroon Warrior, in the Shadows of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” is a Frankfort Kentucky native; Richmond Virginia resident. Retired Public Utility Sr. Investigator and nuclear site worker, Married w/ 3 children and 6 grandchildren; U.S. Navy Viet Nam Era & Cuban Missile Crisis Veteran; Member of "Cuban Blockade Survivors" & The American Legion; B.S. Degree (Business Mgmt) w/ independent studies in Ancient African History and African-American History. Post-graduate studies in Criminal Justice Administration. Former Sports & Feature writer for the weekly Richmond Afro-American Newspaper, during Freshman year of college. Retirement activities include: Freelance writer, playwright, actor and director of faith-based community theater productions; founder of "Backstreet's Blog" ("Talking Drum Dialogues") at www.backstreetdjeli.com and former contributing writer for "BlackPast.Org," the international, on-line reference center for African American History. His debut novel, “BACKROADS TO 'BETHLEHEM': Odysseys of the Maroon Warrior…,” is the first installment of a possible historical-fiction trilogy. A second installment ["Passage(s) to Saint-Domingue...."] is pending completion.