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Some politicians, pundits, and lobbyists launched vile attacks on the student survivors of the mass murder at a school in Parkland, Florida. That seems counterintuitive, since we usually exhibit sympathy toward innocent victims. The critics have contended that the students, who are not old enough to vote, have no right to address gun law issues. It has been suggested that the students should learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) instead of trying to prevent the need for CPR. It has been suggested that the students are trying to rewrite the constitution in crayon. And the students have been called every derogatory name in the inventory.

“How To Win Friends and Influence People,” a book by Dale Carnegie, has sold more than 30 million copies, and it is still selling. Carnegie did not recommend making humiliating, belittling or disparaging comments about people.

People who are born in America become citizens at birth. They are entitled to constitutional rights and protections, including the First Amendment rights to free speech, to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances. There is no minimum-age stipulation.

The activism of non-voting students has an antecedent. Non-voting activists campaigned successfully for women’s right to vote.

There is valid reason to own firearms for hunting, target shooting sports, or to meet a legitimate need for self-defense. There is also an imperative reason to prevent mass murder. We cannot achieve a good solution by attacking the firearms manufacturers or the National Rifle Association (NRA), or by attacking the student activists and their supporters. It is time to review Dale Carnegie’s message.

Wisdom can be expressed on an electronic computer or with a hammer and chisel or, perhaps, even with a crayon.

Jack Stevenson is a retired infantry officer, civil service and private corporation employee who now reads history, follow issues important to Americans and writes commentary from his home in Pensacola, Florida.

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