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I’m inspired by the courage, passion and honesty of students and dismayed by the cowardice of Florida senators unwilling to even take up debate and Republicans repeating NRA clichés about “freedom” and “good men with guns.” It was bizarre seeing a smiling Trump talk about the beauty of teachers carrying concealed weapons, horrifying to hear thunderous applause. What’s insane is now something for debate. If more people having more guns would make us safe, we’d be the safest country in the world instead of the least safe; 18 school shootings since the year began.

A teacher educates. A gun in her/his pocket couldn’t stop someone whose semi-automatic kills 17 people in five minutes. Rifles for hunting, guns for protection, school protection procedures, but why rage against what clearly would protect life: banning assault weapons, implementing comprehensive background checks stopping those who endanger life; domestic abusers who commit 50 percent of terrorist acts, white racists spewing hatred, men with records of violent instability?

Students asked what we should ask representatives: Who funds you? Whose side are you on? If you really wanted children safe, wouldn’t you increase rather than cut funding for education and community mental health? Protect air we breathe, water we drink? Support maternal and children’s health? Support rather than suppress NIH research on gun violence?

Unable to listen, NRA’s LaPierre raged against journalists’ “fake news” and called students “paid protestors” destroying country. Some governors threatened arrests. Clearly NRA demands total loyalty from those they fund.

Throughout history, good people have joined together for justice. Crandall Library will be showing four inspiring films “In the Public Interest” about communities rising up. On March 24, there will be a “march for our lives” in Washington. on April 20, a National High School student walkout. May we march, walk, fight for our lives.

Bernice Mennis, West Fort Ann