Paris, March 24, 2018
“J’accuse!” is the title of an open letter by the influential writer Émile Zola, published on 13 January 1898 in the newspaper L’Aurore. In the letter, Zola addressed President of France Félix Faure and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer who was sentenced to lifelong penal servitude for espionage.
J’accuse the adults of America of behaving like children, cuddling their guns close to their chests, their thumbs in their mouths, accusing the children of Stoneham Douglas High School of “politicizing” the murders of their classmates on February 14. I applaud the students of that school, the survivors, for acting like adults. While the politicians make excuses and the journalists predict that the March for Our Lives will peter out, the children who saw their classmates and teachers lying in pools of blood will carry on.
The world has truly turned upside down. These children will not give up. Their demands are not difficult to satisfy. They want background checks and a ban on assault rifles. What could be simpler? But to our nation’s representatives and senators, that would mean having to go against the dictates of the NRA, to stop accepting campaign donations from the NRA, and to risk the NRA’s opposing them in the coming elections.
J’accuse our politicians of cowardice. Cowardice in the face of fire. When the students came to Washington on March 24, the president retreated to his golf club in Mar-a-Lago. Former Senator Rick Santorum told a reporter on CNN. “How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations so that when there is a violent shooter, you can actually respond to that.”
Unfortunately, this is typically the response of those politicians who have spoken on the subject. The rest of them are just lying low, hoping the issue will go away. Even those in sympathy with the students carefully edit their remarks, reminding their public of the hallowed sanctity of the second amendment. These politicians aren’t stupid. They know perfectly well that the second amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That was clearly meant to allow citizens to own and employ firearms, but at that time, the most even a trained “Minuteman” could do was to fire three rounds a minute. That would have given the students or their teachers ample time to tackle and disarm the shooter had anyone attempted such an act.
J’accuse our president of derelition of duty, According to Article II, Section 2, Clause I of the Constitution, the President of the United States is “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” On March 24, our president was absent without leave, playing golf in Mar-a Lago.