The kids are all right
It’s always hard to know a particular moment in time is the turning point in a debate. In hindsight, marking the point is easy but in the midst of a change, it’s not always clear when the momentum shifts.
But what Harvey Weinstein and the #metoo movement have done for bringing awareness to sexual harassment in the workplace, the slaughter of 17 students in Parkland, Florida, appears to be a true defining moment in the national debate over gun control.
As it became hard for people to avoid seeing their wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, and daughters become the witnesses to sexual harassment, it is the victims of the most recent gun violence – children – who are drawing the attention and it doesn’t seem to be dissipating with the end of the news cycle, as has been the case in recent years.
“We are at the dawn of a children’s crusade to have common sense gun legislation pass on the floor of the United States Congress and be signed by a president,” US Sen. Edward Markey said in Roxbury Tuesday. “The children are the key. The children are putting the human face of innocence — who are being slaughtered because adults are not willing to take on the National Rifle Association.”
When little happened after 20 first-graders in Newtown, Connecticut, were murdered, gun control advocates said nothing would ever happen.
“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate,” political commentator Dan Hodges of the Daily Mail tweeted in 2015. “Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”
That view has held even while there have been more than 290 shootings at schools around the country since Sandy Hook, including more than 50 involving deaths. It held when a terrorist wannabe barricaded himself and others inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and mowed down 49 innocent patrons. It held when 58 people were executed by a gunman in Las Vegas.
But as adults have thrown up their hands, the kids have something to say about it and that something is #Neveragain. Students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the massacre, bused up to the state capital in Tallahassee to urge lawmakers to pass meaningful gun reform. Their reward was to watch the legislature, along straight party lines, refuse to debate a bill to ban assault weapons.
But they are children and children are not easily deterred. Many of those students are planning a march next month and students around the country will join them in what is being touted as A March 4 Our Lives.
But the gun lobby doesn’t give up easily either. Led by conservative conspiracy theorists, the kids are being labeled as actors, pawns, even plants by the FBI. Some right wing Second Amendment stalwarts are even suggesting the shooting was staged as a way to thwart President Trump’s gun rights agenda. Seriously.
“Everything they’re doing is right out of the Democrat Party’s various playbooks,” Rush Limbaugh said of the students. “It has the same enemies: the N.R.A. and guns.”
Sen. Jamie Eldridge of Acton and Rep. Juana Matias of Lawrence redraft the Safe Communities Act legislation to deal with concerns of the state’s police chiefs. (Eagle-Tribune)
Sen. Eldridge and Rep. Natalie Higgins of Leominster filed a complaint against the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. The lawmakers allege the conservative group should register as a political committee and disclose its donors. (State House News)
Sen. Stan Rosenberg, who is seeking reelection, said he is not going away. “I have a vote and a voice,” he said. (MassLive)
Howie Carr wonders if the state Cannabis Control Commissioner will prove as inept as he says the state Gaming Commission showed itself to be in spending $4.1 million to investigate Steve Wynn but failing to find the long trail of sexual harassment accusations against him. (Boston Herald)
An aide to state Rep. Randy Hunt of Sandwich was stabbed in Allston early Sunday morning in what the GOP lawmaker described as an “out of the blue” attack as he was leaving a bar. The 25-year-old aide, Matthew Liber, is expected to recover. (Cape Cod Times)
The Salem Historical Commission isn’t pleased that the Peabody Essex Museum punched several holes in the Phillips Library building in Salem to check for asbestos in advance of renovation work. (Salem News)
The Framingham City Council voted against a proposal by middle school students to rename two streets deemed offensive to Native Americans but will instead install a plaque in the Indian Heights neighborhood recognizing Native American history and culture in the area. (MetroWest Daily News)
Sandwich has a new town seal, 118 years after the original was first designed. (Cape Cod Times)
Scot Lehigh marvels at the perk of having an attorney who will pay out of his own pocket to settle things when a client’s dalliances with a porn film star get troublesome. (Boston Globe)
A new poll finds nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose President Trump’s proposal for a grand military parade on the Fourth of July, which his budget chief said would cost $10 million to $30 million. (U.S. News & World Report)
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a special advisor to the president, is reportedly at loggerheads with Chief of Staff John Kelly who is reportedly trying to limit Kushner’s access to classified information because of his inability to get security clearance. (New York Times)
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said he won’t seek reelection after 16 years in office. The surprise announcement came as defense attorney and former Roca official Shannon McAuliffe was preparing to run against him. (CommonWealth)
Lawrence firefighter Michael Armano said he will seek the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara L’Italien, who is running for Congress. (Eagle-Tribune)
Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose of Amherst said he is changing his party registration from Democrat to unenrolled. (MassLive)
The state Republican Party nixed its rule requiring the party to remain neutral in contested primaries — promptly opted to pour its resources behind Gov. Charlie Baker’s reelection effort. (Boston Globe)
Herald columnist Kimberly Atkins suggests Mitt Romney graciously accepted the backing of President Trump, whom he previously savaged as a charlatan unfit for office, because Mitt is fundamentally polite and nice. Globe cartoonist Dan Wasserman offers a less charitable view of our erstwhile governor.
Small businesses in the low-income Bowdoin-Geneva area of Dorchester are suffering because many remain cash-only operations in an increasingly cash-free economy. (Boston Globe)
#metoo hits the NBA as the Dallas Mavericks front office is described as a “real-life Animal House.” (Sports Illustrated)
Costco is shutting down its on-site photo printing operations at every story in Massachusetts except the one in Dedham. (MassLive)
Boston’s Conservatory Lab Charter School wants to become the first charter school in the state to give up that status and join a district system — but it’s not clear the Boston Public Schools are interested. (Boston Globe)
The state spent $100,000 on a small bathroom in the Transportation Building for the convenience of members of state transportation boards. (WCVB-Ch. 5)
Assumption College in Worcester said it will offer students free or subsidized rides with Uber to get around the city. The move comes as the Worcester Regional Transit Authority is losing ridership. (Telegram & Gazette)
As New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and a key business group prod the members of the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, Eversource Energy said it will ask the agency to reconsider its earlier unanimous decision to deny the transmission project a permit it needs to begin construction. (CommonWealth)
Boston officials said higher prices to park in metered spots prompted more turnover of the spaces. (WBUR)
Many residents reliant on home heating assistance have already exhausted their benefit midway through winter and advocates are urging state lawmakers to add money to the program which is facing federal cutbacks. (Patriot Ledger)
Arrests of undocumented immigrants in the Boston area were up 50 percent in the last fiscal year in the wake of President Trump’s hardline stance on the issue. (Boston Globe)
Attorney General Maura Healey and the City of Boston plan to appeal a court order that they make available to the press mug shots and arrest reports for police officers and public officials nabbed by authorities. (Boston Globe)
Alaska passed a law implementing criminal justice reform in 2016 but then reversed course on many of the law’s provisions amid concerns about rising crime. Other states are considering rollbacks as well. (Governing) Massachusetts lawmakers are currently trying to reconcile differences between House and Senate approaches to criminal justice reform.
A state trooper alleges Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. was part of a “nefarious plot” to destroy documents related to the arrest of a judge’s daughter. (Telegram & Gazette) The trooper also blisters the former head of the State Police in a filing in his federal lawsuit related to the case. (Boston Herald)
Talk about a femme fatale. Samantha Grenier, 28, is charged with tricking a man into marrying her while still married to another man. Grenier is currently serving a 15-year sentence in New Hampshire for child neglect. (Eagle-Tribune)
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, a former federal prosecutor, called for “heighted media scrutiny” of judges releasing defendants on bail after a Springfield man with a long criminal history, who was arrested on a sweep of an abandoned property, made $1,000 bail after a District Court judge denied prosecutors motion for him to be held without bail on a parole violation. (Standard-Times)
A report commissioned by NPR found the news organization failed to rein in misconduct by its former top news executive, Michael Oreskes. (NPR)
Northeastern University journalism professor and media critic Dan Kennedy, who has a sort-of-like/hate-with-the-passion-of-1,000-burning-suns relationship with Twitter, has been locked out of the social media platform for more than a week and can’t find a real person at the company to help him get back on. (Media Nation)PASSINGS
Rev. Billy Graham, who was a pioneer in using the media to spread the Gospel and who counseled presidents over the decades, has died at the age of 99. (New York Times)