Desmond McGrath
An Open letter to the Stoneman Douglas student paper, The Eagle Eye
By Desmond McGrath
April 1, 2018

Re:Parkland students guest edit Guardian US: Our manifesto to fix America's gun laws

Foreword: attempting brevity, I have not dated or acknowledged the Hyperlinks, but have chosen each one with great care and they should be read or watched to understand the context.

Dear Eagle Eye staff;

I am deeply saddened and outraged by what happened in your school, something that will stay with you for the rest of your lives, lives that the fallen will never know. Your outrage is sincere, and your youth and innocence as it existed before February 14th 2018 is lost forever in a haze of gun smoke, the smell thereof that will haunt you forever. I shall attempt to suggest that there is a different kind of smoke and mirrors that was at play before the incident that would appear to spontaneously combust with calculating organization since the tragic event.

Guest Editing?

Are you actually espousing your own opinions in this piece or were you merely asked to edit and add punctuation marks to someone else's talking points? This brings me to bring up my observation about the fact that there are 10 female photos displayed, 7 identified and credited to Ali Smith with three banner photos above, uncredited and unidentified. Accidental oversight, Ali Smith's personal preferences or despite male students being amongst the killed, wounded and on your own editorial staff; calculated so that any principled arguments by a male such as Kyle Kashuv or myself against your manifesto could be summarily dismissed as a misogynistic attack to trivialize any points we might make without debating the merits or facts?

Your Manifesto Points:

Below are your manifesto points and I will make specific comments. Before I do so lets just reflect historically and suggest that had a similar manifesto been imposed by the minions of King George III before 1776; What if America Never Existed? would be a sad reality. Belief on Liberty diagnosed as a mental illness, Doctors paid informants of the Crown, "Sons of Liberty" prohibited from owning arms, no one armed under the age of 21 (Washington's army having an average age of 20 to 25) and citizenry prohibited from owning a "Brown Bess" or bayonets, (the 'assault' weapons of the day). Every gun owner registered and listed in King George III's version of the "Domesday Book," individual citizens disarmed quietly.

It was King George III's attempts to disarm the colonists that was the final catalyst that really lead to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights; You should not so fecklessly toss the oldest written constitution still being enforced in the world into the dustbin of history so that an all-powerful central government can run amuck without fear of reprisal from "We the People." The very freedoms you take for granted can so easily usurped by those who believe "The purpose of government is to rein in the rights of the people." The true purpose of the right to bear arms is to act as a check and balance to those who believe "If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the government's ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees." (both statements by William Jefferson Clinton). One does not bear arms against a deer or a rabbit but to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
  1. Ban semi-automatic weapons that fire high-velocity rounds.

    "Civilians shouldn't have access to the same weapons that soldiers do. That's a gross misuse of the second amendment." You paraphrased the Clintons, Serial Rapist and co-Abusers of Women

    -Firstly, you are not civilians, the inherent design of the Constitution is that all of you are Citizen-Soldier/Law Enforcement where you are inheritors of the Constitution that surrendered limited powers to the Federal Government. In the Warren v. District of Columbia court case it was ruled that "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." It is your primary duty to protect yourself.

    -The Second Amendment did not give the citizenry the right to bear arms, it preexisted the Constitution and predates Anglo-Saxon Common Law; it was on that basis that King John was forced to sign the Magna Charta at sword point. The Second Amendment merely prohibited infringement. Period! Meaning no exclusions from owning the same rifles or handguns as the military or police. If the Second Amendment were ever repealed, it would only vaguely legitimize governmental attempts to infringe upon the Right to Bear Arms, because nowhere in the Constitution is any specific power granted to regulate arms. Regardless the right to bear arms would not be diminished, because it was not granted by the ruling class nor any artificial artifices of man, it's our inalienable right predating the Constitution. If you do not understand that concept, it's not your fault, blame your teachers. United States v. Cruikshank, '[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed...' meaning it shall not limit the right of the people to self-defense arms that are less lethal than that of an invading army, your own central government should it get out of control or the lawless segment of society that no amount of gun control laws will control or inhibit the violence thereof.

    -Automatic weapons like the M16 are already prohibited and "We the people" are limited to the AR15 semi-automatic version, the most popular rifle in the USA.

    -17.5 million semi-auto rifles have been sold to civilians in the United States between 1986 and 2015.

    -Semi-autos are roughly a third of all civilian-owned firearms in the U.S. (about 100 million of about 300 million); do you suggest that 100 million the gun owners be criminalized by a central government whose limited powers were granted by "We the People"?

    -As of 2013, 60% of all gun owners gave self-defense as a major reason they own guns, compared to just 36% of owners who say they hunt, 13% who mentioned "recreation" and 8% specifically mentioning target shooting.

  2. Ban accessories that simulate automatic weapons.

    -Turning a semi-Automatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon is already illegal as was Angela Davis's sawed-off shotgun in 1970, it did not deter her.

  3. Establish a database of gun sales and universal background checks.

    -If you properly learn your history you will learn that all tyrannical leaders from Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong to the Fidel Castro/Che Guevara murder syndicate have effectively used these methods as a precursor to confiscation and disarmament as individual enemies of the new Marxist/Socialist state are identified, isolated and exterminated for nothing more than their vocal opposition to dictatorship. So go the guns, so goes the freedom of speech, the same freedom of speech you are using to curtail guns!

  4. Change privacy laws to allow mental healthcare providers to communicate with law enforcement.

    -Privacy Laws have already been compromised under the affordable health care act (aka Obamacare) where the IRS has gotten involved in your personal health care

    -Doctors in general, not just mental health care professionals are increasingly asking about gun ownership; But to ask Doctors to forsake Doctor- Patient confidentially becomes a slippery slope, what next? Imagine Lawyers starting to betray client confidentially. The point is that healthcare professionals should not be informants or apparatchik of the central government this is what happened in Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany or Mao's China.

    -It did not require a mental health professional (Despite your school allegedly having a Psychologist, Audrey Wong) to determine the threat that Nikolas Cruz posed, a bail bondsman (someone who has met more than his share of felons) from Mississippi recognized that and alerted the FBI. It was the FBI and Broward County Sheriffs Department that failed to act on the threat. How would communication from a mental health care provider change that, given two law enforcement agencies had direct evidence?

    -I also find it Ironic that the Media anointed spokesman David Hogg is now complaining about students' rights being infringed by forcing them to wear transparent backpacks, while having no problems with forcing the gun ownership status and doctor/patient confidentially of "We the people" to be made transparent to an all-powerful government. Is this because he has been regurgitating the talking points of others and only woke up when his back-pack was exposed? He should watch Maurice Ogden's "The Hangman". Are you telling me that you are more concerned about what a fellow student or teacher might see in your backpack than the government looking into the minutia of your life.

  5. Close gun show and secondhand sales loopholes.

    -Again, given that you are essentially talking about regulating the sale of "arms" (a right that shall not be infringed) between two lawful citizens where will the morass of regulations stop. Again, a privacy issue just like the transparent backpack.

    -For example there have already been crackdowns on children operating Lemonade Stands using the very police resources that you suggest that should be used to protect schools and money to pay for your education.

  6. Allow the CDC to make recommendations for gun reform.

    -Are you suggesting that Gun ownership is a disease that needs to be corrected?

    -The CDC already collects way too much information that exceeds their mandate that has nothing to do with disease control, check Item 7.

    -However, data that has been collected by the CDC shows that Gun Violence against teens has been significantly declining for decades.

  7. Raise the firearm purchase age to 21.

    -I am assuming that by virtue of you being in high school that you are all under 21, and also assume that none of you pictured (in the article I am responding to) currently own a gun; does that give you the high moral ground to suggest a minimum age limit that someone else should own a gun? At what point would you consider yourselves adults?

    -The 26th Amendment, passed and ratified in 1971 lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 on the predication that you were mature enough to make informed decisions What you are referring to is known as the age of majority and if you think that an individual less than 21 is not mature enough to own a gun, an equal argument could be made for restoring the age to vote to 21, increasing the age to own and drive a car to 21 and doing the same for the age of consent to make your own decision to have an abortion. You are either an adult or you are not, pick an age you all feel comfortable with to undertake all these adult decisions and get it over with!

    -Looking at the CDC statistics:

    1. In 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 235,845 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. 9% of the fatalities are caused by 16 to 19 year old teens texting and driving, which is outlawed in most states.

    2. In 2013, young people ages 15-19 represented only 7% of the U.S. population. However, they accounted for 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.

    3. It also states that 7 Children age (0-19) die each day due to gun violence however 2/3rds' of the perpetrators are 18 or older. Over half the shooters are over 21.

    -Based on these statistics raising the age to drive to 21, would save more lives than raising the gun buying age to 21.

  8. Dedicate more funds to mental health research and professionals.

    -60% of all mass shootings and 90% of all suicides are committed by those with mental illness. Agreed, but consider that 98% of all mass shootings occur in Gun Free Zones!; No amount of mental health research can alter that fact unless the mental health of those who promote "Gun Free Zones" be examined.

  9. Increase funding for school security

    "We believe that schools should be given sufficient funds for school security and resource officers to protect and secure the entire campus. As a school of over 3,000 students, teachers and faculty, Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school was only supplied funds to hire one on-campus armed resource officer by the state.

    Without backup, this officer's hesitation proved to be disastrous and allowed for the senseless deaths of people who were killed on the third floor of the 1200 building.

    Though this idea has been proposed in the past, these funds should not be appropriated from the already scarce funding for public education. Governments should find resources to secure the millions of children that attend public schools without taking away from the quality of education that is offered at these institutions."

    -From talking with former Stoneman Douglas Parents, whose children attended the school in the early 2000's there used to be an office of the Broward County Sherriff next to the principal and students like Nikolas Cruz would have been well documented in the justice system as being a problem before 2009 when Zero Tolerance was the rule and he would have never been allowed to buy a gun in the existing background check system.

    o Read "Task Force on School Safety", Report Number 00-32, October 1999

    -What you downplay as a single officers hesitation was, according to many sources, a failure by all 4 Broward County Sherriff's deputies to enter the building and "Mr. Peterson also told other law enforcement officers who raced to the school to stay outside. Coral Springs officers, the first to arrive on the scene, pushed into the building anyway. By then, the gunman had already fled." Why did he tell them to stay outside?

    -Scot Peterson could have had the element of surprise on Nikolas Cruz but did nothing. By comparison when two heavily armed Jihadists opened fire at the Garland Texas Integrated School District Culwell Center and injured an unarmed Garland ISD security officer, an off-duty traffic officer working security used a Glock .45 handgun to shoot dead the two men wearing body armor and armed with assault rifles, while not wearing body armor himself.

    -You claim that Scot Peterson was underequipped, yet his training dictated that he, as the first officer on the scene, engage the shooter on the understanding "every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed." Scot Peterson was allegedly wearing body armor. There was no body armor reportedly associated with the alleged suspect Nikolas Cruz who some students say they recognized during the shooting, despite your teacher, Stacey Lippel stating the shooter "was in full metal garb – helmet, face mask, bulletproof armor, shooting this rifle that I'd never seen before." Very Curious?
Funding "Follow the Money":

Yes, you are "firsthand witnesses to the kind of devastation that gross incompetence and political inaction can produce", but are you directing that anger in the right direction? Perhaps the issue is not inadequate funding but rather misdirected funding with the goal of reaching opposite results?

Apparently a $53 Million Dollar Grant was given to the Broward County School in Oct 2016. Why not do some real investigative journalism? File access to information requests and find out how much money changed hands from the federal government to your county for the Promise and other programs? Programs that in the failure to report smaller crimes makes the Broward County Sherriff's office look like its getting crime under control while breeding the fatal consequences like Nikolas Cruz. How many other potentially violent offenders have been ignored who will cause future violence in your school district or others?

There are 271,517 students enrolled in 327 schools in Broward County, the average salary of a sheriff's deputy in Florida is about $50,000.00, an extra deputy could have been added to each school for 4 years if you count summer breaks. What was this $53 Million actually used for?

The intent of PROMISE is to safeguard the student from entering the judicial system.

It worked very well and allowed Nikolas Cruz to enter your school!

Clearly the program worked very well and it safeguarded Nikolas Cruz from entering the judicial system so he could enter your school with the intent to kill and change your lives forever! It worked so well that:
  1. School Psychologist Audrey Wong may have safeguarded Nikolas Cruz from entering the judicial system, her name is never mentioned anywhere, despite Nikolas Cruz having IEP Individualized Education Plan which involves psychological assessments. The IEP should have prohibited Cruz from buying a rifle. Was it ignored as part of the Promise Program and deliberately not made available to be referenced in the current background check system?

  2. School Security Specialist Kelvin Greenleaf safeguarded Nikolas Cruz from entering the judicial system.

  3. The Broward County Sheriff's Department safeguarded Nikolas Cruz from entering the judicial system, and can't even decide if it had 23, 39 or 45 complaints to go to the Cruz home.

  4. Mississippi Bail bond agent Ben Bennight was not constrained by the Promise Program and alerted the FBI.

  5. The FBI safeguarded Nikolas Cruz from entering the judicial system, despite Bennight's tip and that of at least one other the month before the tragedy, they did nothing. Were they too busy trying to get President Trump into the judicial system and keeping Hillary Clinton out if it?

  6. Deputy Scot Peterson safeguarded Nikolas Cruz by guarding the door "Mr. Peterson also told other law enforcement officers who raced to the school to stay outside. Coral Springs officers, the first to arrive on the scene, pushed into the building anyway. By then, the gunman had already fled." Thus increasing the numbers of dead and injured.
I find your Manifesto Frightening:

To be honest, I find your suggestions in your manifesto (even your choice of the word "Manifesto" suggesting some Marxist connotation) frightening, suspending privacy rights, allowing the government to register all guns and identify gun owners as a subset of society. Do you actually trust the Government?

Remembering first hand "How the Nazis Used Gun Control" and the classification of society by subset, my friend Philip Riteman was 13 years old and tattooed with serial number 98,706 as a Jew and was the only member of his immediate family to survive Auschwitz. You need to listen to his message: HERE note his quote at 2:49 "Twenty million Christians died nobody talks about them"

"Remember Evil is always around, make sure, don't let yourself (be) brainwashed, think for love you conquer the world, by hate you will only destroy the world and you destroy yourself.... don't teach them to hate, better to love than hate, any time, even if you don't like them, don't hate them.... even if you don't like them, you don't have you invite them to your house for dinner.... you should make sure that it doesn't happen to you guys."

Did you watch the whole video or are you not interested? Is your mind made up and you don't want to be confused by the facts? Why are you marching in Washington and not protesting in front of the Broward County School Administration or Sherriff's offices? They are the ones who failed you!

Angela Davis, Communism and the Promise Program:

I find it so ironic that one of the featured speakers at your alleged (clearly well organized by others) march in Washington, Angela Davis, was the second black woman to ever be on the FBI 10 most wanted list for smuggling arms she had purchased into a courtroom in 1970. A sawed-off shotgun (Illegal weapon) she owed was taped under the chin of Judge Harold Haley who died tragically when his head was blown off. What is even more tragically ironic is the fact that Angela Davis's underlying Marxist/Leninist ideology remains fixated on what she terms the "prison industrial complex," and when she lectures, she tells her audiences to envision a world where there are no prisons at all. This is the same Ideology that is at the root of the "Promise Program" fomented by former Attorney General Eric Holder, former President Barack Obama, Obama acolyte Robert W. Runcie and Sherriff Israel, that saw the $53 Million to go to the Broward County Education in Oct. 2016 as hush money to turn a blind eye to individuals like Nikolas Cruz!

I find it even more incredulous that David Hogg claims Parkland HS Has Become A Prison; "Hundreds" Of Racist Police! Given that it was the NCAAP, Holder, Obama and Runcie who used that very premise of racial profiling to roll out the Promise Program "During the 2012-2013 school year, Broward County had the highest number of school- related arrests in the state of Florida. The Fort Lauderdale-Broward County NAACP says black children in Broward County have been suspended, arrested and expelled at two-and-a-half times the rate of their white counterparts for the same infractions." In effect he is defending the very program that in the misguided attempt to eliminate the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Pipeline, created the Schoolhouse to Hospital and Graveyard Pipeline.

Why are you and your fellow students cheering the likes of Angela Davis and not holding Sherriff Israel's and Robert Runcie's feet to the fire?

Have you been educated to support the Constitution or been indoctrinated to destroy it?

I am assuming you watched all of Philip Reitman's video, if you did not, shame on you. Did your teachers teach you to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic or did they suggest that its just an old archaic document like so many university academics describe the Magna Charta, and encourage you to march for its destruction? Using Philip Reitman's words, you live in the best country on earth; The only true exercise in genuine liberty the world has ever known, the written Constitution thereof is the oldest still enforced in the world. You had a shooter come into your school because a political agenda deliberately turned a blind eye to him using a program funded by your parents hard earned money absconded in taxes to support that very political agenda!

Consider Malala Yousafzai (read the link) who was constantly threatened and was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen – her "crime," to have spoken up for the right of girls to be educated. Your access to education is protected by the second amendments guarantee that every citizen maintains the right bear arms free of infringement to defend all your other unalienable rights.

The future of the Republic depends on you. You can either sleepwalk into slavery being led along by the wolves in sheep's clothing or you can be like Malala and demand the truth. Start to ask questions, rather than blindly protest someone else's agenda. You can either support the Constitution or follow pied piper Bernie Sanders who has forsaken his journalism career suggesting women fantasized about being raped and small town politics suggesting the "abolition of compulsory education" to become the new Moses. The new Moses, leading you to the promised lands across the Florida Straight to Cuba or even further to Venezuela where hungry child gangs use machetes to fight for 'quality' garbage because there are no educational opportunities and despite very strict gun control, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro is giving guns to upwards of 400,000 of his supporters in hopes of squashing opponents' demands for free and fair elections.

Weaponizing of Government and Lawfare:

If you fail to believe that your own government has not already been weaponized against you, listen to Weaponized Government – Catherine Engelbrecht; Her crime, organizing a citizens group to ensure the integrity of the voting process, see echoes of Maduro?. And you are worried about transparent backpacks? If you fail to believe that there is an organized agenda to give violent individuals a pass in school systems, consider the story of Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, two Brentwood High students killed by the violent gang MS-13 on Sept. 13, 2016; a class-action suit has been brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Trump administration alleging the school went too far in cracking down on MS-13.

You can hide from a bullet but not from an idea fired from a high-powered propaganda machine.
    "The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. ... How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!" – Mark Twain
To paraphrase the late P.K. Devine of Newfoundland – You can find a way to protect yourself from a high-powered rifle bullet but you cannot dig a hole deep enough to hide from an idea fired out of a high-powered propaganda machine, especially when you are unwittingly carried along with it to try and legitimize the message.

Desmond McGrath
Lifetime Member of the NRA and adopted Cajun.

© Desmond McGrath


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Desmond McGrath

Desmond is a Petroleum Engineer by training with a BSc. (Honors) from Montana Tech as well as two technical diplomas in the area of Hydraulics, Instrumentation and Petroleum Technology... (more)


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