That’s how long it took from the first importation of African slaves into Britain’s North American colonies to the abolishment of slavery in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution (passed 1865).
Despite what is so obvious to us now, that human beings are not property, and despite our much-admired form of government that claims liberty as its most universal and prized gift—the plain fact is, we're hypocrites. Our nation doesn't insist on liberty for all; each of us insists on liberty only for him or her self.
We are slow to change. We are slow to do the hard work of fixing problems we ourselves create by our hypocrisy. This hypocrisy manifests itself every time we have another mass shooting and lawmakers spew that detested phrase “thoughts and prayers.” No wonder people get angry at God: those who offer prayers as though they’ve got God in their back pocket should be offering action. Their feeble attempt to make it look like they’re doing something—praying, I guess, which I doubt they are doing—tars their God with the same black lies they wrap themselves in. How dare they? If lawmakers truly were men and women of God, their faith would force them do something about guns.
Their alleged guidebook ("alleged" because they clearly are not guided by its principles) tells them flat-out that “Faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).” Lawmakers’ failure to take action on the problem of mass murder of innocents proves they do not have faith. “Thoughts and prayers” means absolutely nothing to them. No action = no faith; words do not and can not resurrect dead children. One of the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highs School in Parkland, Florida, said, "People keep saying your thoughts and prayers and all of these things, but it doesn't make a difference if nothing ever changes. This happens over and over again and people are dying, and it seems like it doesn't matter because, what are thoughts and prayers going to do when people are already dead?"
Furthermore, so-called patriots who demand “God-given liberty” forget/ignore/reject the fact that God-given life has to come first. There is no liberty without life; that’s why “life” comes before “liberty” in our Declaration of Independence.
Apparently, there is a national drive for students and teachers to stage a Walkout on April 20 (or March 14?). Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick said yesterday, “…unlike craven politicians and the NRA, teachers don’t get to hide from the victims of gun violence, or predetermine when the moment for hopes and prayers has lapsed into the moment for business as usual (an ever narrowing time span). We should listen to the teachers, who aren’t allowed to grow bored and move on.”
A Walkout. OK. I know we have to start somewhere, and I know a determined handful of people can force change because history proves that. But I also know that the drive to not only keep guns in lunatics' hands but also to sell even more of them (to a point where we're living in the Wild West again) gets its strength from many sources, and I'm not convinced a Walkout will cut off the snake's head.
First, like far too many evils in the past, owning guns masquerades as good, as "second amendment rights," and who would not be in favor of rights/freedom? So that's one source of sustenance for the gun lobby.
Second, people who have money want to make more money, and that means the gun industry has a ton of dough to spread around convincing folks in the first group that more guns = more freedom. This is genius. Gun-lovers buy more guns so they can be more free, so the industry keeps making money, so they can keep insisting with even more propaganda that guns equal freedom.
Third, we have a mental health crisis in this country. Stress is causing people to die years sooner than they would if they weren't stressed, and yet we tell "crazy" people to get over themselves and stop causing problems. We cut funding for mental health care.
The problem of too many guns in this country needs to be solved on many fronts all at once. I have marched in protests; I have walked picket lines; and, ultimately, the people with the power steam-rolled over me and everybody else and our sad little protest signs.
So what is left? Sometimes it takes 250 years for us to figure out we're wrong. Therefore, since the first mass shooting in America occurred in 1949 when a World War Two veteran, Howard Unruh, killed more than a dozen people in New Jersey, I guess we can expect change in 2199.
If anybody’s left by then.
Is that good enough for you?