This has been another horrendous few weeks for those of us engaged in human rights activism. I believe that we all have a right to life, and a right to protect that life and the lives of those around us. In order to protect our lives, we must be allowed the means to do so. If we are denied the means to the basic human right of self-defense, we are denied the right to life itself.
I believe, also, in the ancient concept that those who would kill or commit serious bodily harm to another person, through their actions are giving up their own right to life. The United States is one of the very few countries in the world that allows self-defense. The Second Amendment of our Constitution is an acknowledgment of the inherent right of citizens to protect themselves, their loved ones, and those around them.
Within hours of the school shooting in Florida, children from the school were promoting a campaign to demand the removal of guns from private citizens. One cannot and should not engage in arguments with children who have been traumatized.
We want our loved ones safe. Whenever someone experiences a terrible loss, one of the coping mechanisms to overcome the pain is to try to protect others from the same situation. Following the lead of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has successfully instituted an acceptance of stopping scores of people who have demonstrated no sign of impairment, the cry of the bereaved has become, “I want to make sure that no one will ever have to go through this, again.”
Sadly, no matter what the cause of the anguish, others will most likely go through the same thing. There are still hundreds killed and maimed every year by drunk drivers. Interrupting the travel of thousands of completely sober people did not stop the carnage on our roads. There is truly nothing we can do to make sure that no one will have to go through the pain we might suffer. While it may comfort us briefly to think we are doing something to make a difference, that comfort, good in itself, is all we will accomplish.
There are real things we adults can do. Whether you share my philosophy or not, whether you want to ban or to protect private ownership of guns, there are many feelings that we share. There are many varied ideas about how to ensure our children’s safety in schools and other public places.
Let’s find a point on which we can all agree. If there is a catastrophe at a school, be it a shooting, a bombing (the greatest loss of life was from a bomb in 1927 when 44 students were killed in Bath Township, Michigan), or a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, many of the victims do not die immediately. Many of those who could be saved die from blood loss.
There is a simple, relatively inexpensive thing that we each could do TODAY in our school districts. There is a special kind of bandage that has been used for years in combat zones that will stop a lot of the blood loss. Staff, even students, can be trained to use this life-saver. Schools can purchase the product easily. It is available online, and a package of 4 yards costs approximately $40.
Some training is required to learn the most effective way of using the bandage. This is a course that could easily be included in a first aid curriculum. Recently, several members of the South Berwick Rod and Gun Association participated is such a program. (One can glean important peripheral information from any presentation. Stephen Whitney, one of the attendees, cautions that some of the similar products on the market are made from clam protein that could cause serious, possibly fatal, reactions in people with shellfish allergies.)
A little training, an outlay of money that could readily come under ‘petty cash; miscellaneous’ in most school budgets.
What if we could save just one life?