2018-03-07 / Opinion

March, For All?


Jonathan Crimmins Jonathan Crimmins Some of the students at Brunswick High School next week will take their walk outside, provided the snow drifts from this week’s next Nor’easter have subsided. They are marching for the 17 souls lost in the shooting on Valentine’s Day.

The march even caused a letter to be penned from the Brunswick School Department superintendent detailing plans for a forum afterward where questions and answers can be shared about this topic. The letter even closes with a nod to being welcoming of alternative points of view.

In general, I think that an event like this can be a positive one. All too often people, kids and adults alike, go through life without really thinking about the greater world they live in. They don’t think about taking a stand on whichever side of the fence one comes down on. Apathy rules the day.

You have to be careful though. If apathy is a river then there are some strong currents that will try to pull you around. News outlets have spent the last several weeks working their agendas. National outlets, regional ones too, all making a play for clicks and views. Even those who profess to be local and legitimate sources of the news have played fast and loose with their reportage.

The deaths of these 17 students and the maelstrom of activity that has taken place over the last three weeks throughout the country has pointed those students who will walk out of class towards a very small number of deaths that occur each year. Those 17 represent a very small fraction of a larger number of deaths who gain no attention. Who garner no walk outs. Where is their justice? Where is their concern?

Let these statistics sink in for a moment.

The New York Times reported on February 15 that, on average, 23 students die per year in schools. That is a number that is too high, most would agree, but if we are going to cause a national uproar over that number then what about the 2,820 teens who died in automobile accidents in 2016?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported heavily on their website about the causes for the deaths. Alcohol and speed were major contributors as was, being a distracted driver. Of the distractions, cell phone use or texting was a major issue. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States.

Why is no one having a march for these students? Why is no one calling for common sense automobile control? Why is no one calling for a cell phone ban for people under 21 years of age? Or at least a 7-day waiting period for their purchase?

I spend a great deal of time driving every day to go to work. I also spend time every weekend shuttling my kids to different activities in my car. I imagine that many of you reading this column can relate to this. The question then is, given this information, where are our children safer? In school or in our cars?

Speaking of being in vehicles and having accidents, it was reported in the USA Today on Sept. 15, 2015, that NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reported that on average 134 people die in school vehicle related crashes each year. You are more likely, according to the reporting, to die at the hands of the wheels on the school bus going ‘round and ‘round than you are by a firearm in that school. But this does not make the nightly news cast or the early morning deadlines for the newspapers.

Again, where is the outrage at the large yellow vehicles? Where is the call for a ban on school buses?

Unfortunately, while there are some very serious discussions that need to take place around a number of issues, we the general public are being played like a fiddle by people who have definite agendas. Think about that the next time someone calls for a ban on something that they disapprove of. Then think about what they are not telling you.

I applaud the students of Brunswick High School for taking a step, any step, but when you are done with the walkabout and you get to the curtain, take a look behind it to see who is really pulling the strings.

That’s my two cents…

Jonathan Crimmins can be reached at j_ crimmins@hotmail.com

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