Why Stop With One Wall, Mr. President? We Students Have an Idea That You'll Love

Mar 2, 2018 12:00:00 AM


Mr. President, we heard that Mexico won't pay for your wall. Well, we have another suggestion. As high school students across the nation begin to speak out against gun violence and broken laws, we must confess that we’re rethinking our opposition to your plan to build a wall. Following another devastating school shooting, a local police commander shot dead, and a painful pause on immigration, we’ve been thinking. If we can’t break down walls that divide us, maybe building lots of them would keep us safer. We’d just suggest a few changes. Instead of building that wall between the United States and Mexico, why stop there? What if for every sanctuary, pro-gun-control city that is surrounded by neighbors with loose gun laws, we provide them funding to build their own walls? https://www.facebook.com/BetterConversationBetterEducation/videos/768990959966268/ Mr. President, you’d love this. It would keep the immigrants you complain about on our side and would allow your NRA assault rifle-supporting friends the freedom to use these guns on your side. It would also let people in welcoming cities like Chicago be free of dangerous firearms, fears and pain. Everyone wins. Even better, you could keep those federal court decisions, the ones that have shot down most of Chicago’s anti-gun laws the past few years, on your side too. This could include the 2014 decision that overturned our city’s attempt to keep all gun sales outside of Chicago. Don’t worry. We’ll keep President Obama’s ban on gun sales to the mentally ill, which you reversed one year ago. We know you dislike anything connected to President Obama. Look, we know that cities surrounded by states with strict gun laws, like New York and Los Angeles, have lower gun violence. In contrast, 60 percent of the guns used for crimes here in Chicago come from weak gun law neighboring states like Indiana and Wisconsin. On our side, [pullquote position="right"]children and police officers could be safer knowing that automatic and semi-automatic weapons wouldn’t rip through classroom doors[/pullquote] and bullet-proof vests as they try to do their work. Gang members would have access to much fewer guns. We also know that according to the Migration Policy Institute, most eligible DACA recipients are active students or workers (25 percent are both). Many are teachers. We’d gladly welcome them here while you'd keep your chief of staff who called them lazy, there. Additionally, a National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) survey indicated that 78 percent of immigrant sexual and domestic violence survivors were too afraid to report abuse. You’ve said you’re “strongly opposed to domestic violence of any kind,” but those #MeToo people do seem to annoy you. So, they could join us too. https://educationpost.org/dont-think-we-need-daca-my-students-prove-you-wrong/ Finally, your alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, released a 2016 study finding that “Immigration leads to more innovation, a better educated workforce,...and higher overall economic productivity.” We’d happily invite the immigrants you don’t want into our welcoming cities. We love innovation. As students, we believe that once we have facts, we need to speak out. As the survivors in Parkland, Florida, are showing us now, we can make a difference. On our side, we’ll support stronger gun control laws. What will you do? Children in our country are dying of gun violence more than in any other civilized nation. A loved local police commander was just murdered with a semi-automatic—a gun our city has tried to make much harder to get. It has to stop. So if you refuse to tear down walls, Mr. President, then let’s build them up. Maybe then, we can truly be more safe.

Cole Tansey

Cole Tansey is a Lincoln Park High School student in Chicago and co-founder of “Baskets Not Bullets,” an anti-gun student initiative to help keep kids off the streets and playing sports instead.

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