The mass shootings keep coming and innocent people keep getting gunned down. In fact, every day 110 people are killed by guns. On Feb. 14 it will be the five-year anniversary of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, when 17 people were murdered and 17 others injured.

Yet, the politicians do nothing. Today’s Lean to the Left podcast episode looks at that through the eyes of Gabrielle Zwi, a young woman who wrote a song she created from her own experiences. It's called "Guns to a Playground Fight."

Late last year Gabrielle, a 22-year-old singer-songwriter, educator, and community organizer based in Rockville, MD, graduated from Columbia University, having safely made it through elementary and secondary school without being gunned down in her classroom.

The day after the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people, including 19 third and fourth grade children and two teachers were killed and another 17 wounded, Zwi was moved to write her folk-pop protest tune which examines what it means to grow up as a member of the “school shooting generation.”

Gabrielle's song was released December 9, just before the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting – you know, the one that Infowars founder Alex Jones claimed never really happened and since has been ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion to the families of victims there.

Her song was released in partnership with Lives Robbed, an organization founded by the parents and grandparents of children whose lives were lost to the shooting at Robb Elementary. All of the profits from streaming/downloads and associated performances are being donated to them.

The shootings never seem to stop. Less than a week into 2023, a six-year-old student allegedly shot his teacher with a handgun at a Virginia elementary in what police described as an “intentional” shooting. He reportedly used his mother’s legally purchased handgun to shoot his 25-year-old teacher, who led her students out of the classroom after being shot.

Take a listen...

Show Notes

Here are the lyrics to "Guns to a Playground Fight":

“Guns to a Playground Fight”

Gabrielle Zwi


I’ve never lived a single day

In a world without mass school shootings

With Columbine in ninety-nine

You’d think by now I’d be desensitized

Sandy Hook when I was in seventh grade

How naive was I to believe things would change

(They never change)

‘Cause that’s the America that we live in

That’s the America we grew up in, don’t you know?

That’s the America that we fight for even though

They fight back at us as they chant “pro-life”

Bringing their guns to a playground fight

I graduated college just last week and I think about how

I was lucky enough to make it all the way through

With just bomb threats, and shooting drills

And hearing from friends at Magruder and Great Mills

And seeing it on the news, and the grief and anxiety

But never the real thing

No never the real thing

And that’s the America that we live in

That’s the America we grew up in, don’t you know?

That’s the America that we fight for even though

They fight back at us as they chant “pro-life”

Bringing their guns to a playground fight

And my friends, they never hear the end of it

And I fear we’ll never put an end to this

How many lives of children will be lost to it?

How many times?

How many times?

‘Cause that’s the America that we live in

That’s the America we grew up in, don’t you know?

That’s the America that we fight for even though

They fight back at us as they chant “pro-life”

Bringing their guns to a playground fight

Bringing their guns to a playground fight

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Show Transcript

[00:02:21] Gabrielle Zwi: Thank you so much for having me. 

[00:02:23] Bob Gatty: It's a pleasure. Tell us Gabrielle, why did you write this song?

[00:02:28] Gabrielle Zwi: I, really wrote it as just a way to process my emotions and what I was feeling at the time. So I, was a human rights major in college with a minor in music. And I had actually just three weeks before the shooting at Robb Elementary turned in a final project about school safety like a, comparative study of different countries.

[00:02:54] And a big part of that project, interestingly, was the ineffectiveness of police who are stationed in and around our schools in protecting us from perceived threats and from actual threats. And what a demonstration of that we saw three weeks after I turned in the project. But yeah, really thinking about how I graduated and how such a big part of my reflection on my time as a student was the fact that I had never experienced a school shooting and that for several of my years as a student in high school and college, I was very involved in the gun violence prevention movement. Not because I had experienced anything personally, but because I had friends who had experienced, whether it was school shootings or gun violence and domestic violence in their homes and families.

[00:03:52] So yeah, that, that's what led me to write the song. And then, like you said, I wasn't really planning to release it. It was just for me to process and then a few weeks before the new school year started in fall 2022, I was scrolling on TikTok as one in Gen Z does. And I was seeing all of these videos of teachers showing, these kind of like life hack tips kind of videos on how to quickly barricade your classroom with objects you can find in your classroom, a chair or a stapler. And the response to these videos was so jarring to me. Everyone was like, oh, wow. That's so cool. I'm gonna use this in my classroom. I'm gonna try that out before school starts next week. And the only comments pointing out how ridiculous it was that these videos existed and, the response to them and everything were comments from accounts in other countries being like, I, they couldn't even comprehend.

[00:04:56] And it was when I saw all of those just gaining popularity on the app that I, just realized how universal the experiences I wrote about in the song were. I knew that, but that's when it really hit me as the new school year was about to start, and that's when I decided, that I definitely should perform and release the song, just put it out there to see if it resonated with anyone who grew up in Gen Z and had similar experiences to me, or even later millennials.

[00:05:28] But also if it could catch the attention of those who didn't have these experiences and help to show them that perspective, if that's going to lead to their helping at all. 

[00:05:45] Bob Gatty: Okay. When you decided to release it and make it public, what's been the response that you've experienced? Gabrielle? 

[00:05:54] Gabrielle Zwi: Honestly, not a lot of response so far. The song, when I tried to post about it online, actually, I found that when I include the title of the song, it just doesn't get, there's no views on the post.

[00:06:09] I think because Facebook and Instagram and whatnot have these key words that they I forgot what the word is that they do, but they don't really show the post to people if they think it could contain sensitive content. And so then I found that if I just don't include the name of the song and say, I have a new song, here's the link.

[00:06:30] Then it gets views and it actually, cuz I can see the analytics and it's not that see it and ignore it, but it's that when I was including the full name of the song in my, in the Facebook post, when it initially came out, for example it, just wasn't getting onto people's feeds. But anyway, yeah.

[00:06:48] In terms of the response from those who have heard it it's mainly been where I've, had the opportunity to perform the song so far. 

[00:06:57] Bob Gatty: That's right. Yeah. It was the algorithms of the social media platforms that, I guess flag certain words that were preventing your song from being picked up.

[00:07:14] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah. So I, I've seen a lot more of the response in, terms of when I've been performing it live. And I've gotten to have conversations and in person with the people who heard me play it. And a lot of people my age and even some teachers have expressed that the song really did reflect their experiences and that they were glad that I performed it, but also sad that I had to, if that makes sense.

[00:07:45] Bob Gatty: Yeah. Oh yeah. 

[00:07:46] Gabrielle Zwi: And then a lot of people who didn't grow up with those experiences. I think, I'm trying to remember. There was this one line that two people were saying particularly stuck out to them. I think it was just the fact that I was born in the, like the year 2000 as were most of Gen Z and that Columbine happened in 1999.

[00:08:13] And so, Like we've literally there, there were school shootings before Columbine, of course, but that was the, first defining event of what has been referred to as the school shooting generation. And so for them to see that, like for, so many of us, there has never been a world that we've lived in without school shootings just being a part of our potential reality or part of the, context of our lives of students. Yeah, there was a particular I'm entirely blanking on the line that people were pointing out to me, but Yeah. But online the song actually hasn't spread that far yet. Okay. But I am working on that. 

[00:09:02] Bob Gatty: Good, yeah. Good. You're making appearances on shows like this one, so Yeah. Hope hopefully, that'll help. I've got one or two listeners and I think they'll probably check it out. And you're a, much brighter face than what I usually. On this program. Usually it's a bunch of old guys sitting around talking and so anyway, how about performing the song for us? Can you do that? 

[00:09:36] Gabrielle Zwi: Sure, yeah. 

[00:09:37] Bob Gatty: All right. So ladies and gentlemen, here is Gabrielle's Zwi with, her song. 

[00:09:45] Gabrielle Zwi: Guns to a Playground Fight. 

[00:09:47] Bob Gatty: So tell us about the title. Where'd the title come from? 

[00:09:50] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah, so I, the title came from the chorus from the, last line in the chorus. And when I was writing that I, I initially I, didn't start with this at all. I basically had the rest of the song written before I figured out the, way to end the chorus.

[00:10:09] So it came from the phrase, gun to a knife fight or knife to a gunfight and then the idea that a playground fight is this silly inconsequential usually an argument.

[00:10:28] Bob Gatty: So you were working on the song, you came up with the closing line to the song and you decided that would be the title, but a playground fight guns to a playground Fight. Did you see some kind of a situation where that occurred?

[00:10:47] Gabrielle Zwi: So I, it wasn't based on any sort of actual situation where someone had brought a gun to a playground. Okay. But basically the phrase, bringing a gun to a knife fight where you know someone is leaving their opponent at a disadvantage ah, to, to the fact that they're bringing in a gun.

[00:11:07] And it's basically bringing their guns to a playground fight. I'm referring to the politicians who are bringing their disproportionate power, 

[00:11:19] Bob Gatty: ah, 

[00:11:20] Gabrielle Zwi: to this situation. Okay. And being a playground fight it's not only that they're bringing this onto kids who have no way to, not no way, but who, have who have a much harder time fighting back in the matter and advocating for themselves and know, making the policy changes that are needed to protect them. But that in a playground fight, it's usually oh, this person. I think they stole my stickers or my it's, about something so silly and stupid. Okay. And so I thought that so much of what is happening in the, delays of action being made in Congress around this issue are about things that. The, way that they go about it. If saw the videos, for example of the, recent votes for the speaker of the house Yeah. . It's, it looks like a playground fight. It, it looks like something where you could see some elementary school kids getting into a fight about the silliest things.

[00:12:32] Not speaking about things in a manner that's going to be meaningful. So bringing a gun to a playground flight has that double meaning in terms of the power imbalance and the fact that they have, so much that. So, much power yet are not using it to protect the children who are on the playground.

[00:13:00] Yeah, but also playground fight, referring to just the ridiculousness of it all. And that line comes after they fight back at us as they chant pro-life. And when I wrote this song, it was right it, was in late May and early June. It was when the abortion of in the Supreme Court go in and everything was happening and of just putting together the fact that they're claiming to protect life. And the fact that they're absolutely not doing that by focusing on things that are so unimportant instead of. Like the desk hole that is right in front of them. 

[00:13:52] Bob Gatty: Got it. Excellent. Okay, so let's, hear the song.

[00:13:56] Yeah. Guns to A Playground Fight by Gabrielle Zwi.

[00:14:01] Gabrielle Zwi: Lived a single day in the world without mass school shootings with nine desensitized in seventh. How to believe things would change. They never. That's the living, that's the

[00:14:25] miracles. Fight for

[00:14:29] the bringing them guns to the playground to play.

[00:14:34] Graduate college just last week can think about how I was lucky to make it all the way through with just and from and great. And seeing it on the news and the grief and the anxiety.

[00:14:53] But never the real thing.

[00:14:57] That's

[00:14:58] for though.

[00:15:00] And my friends, they.

[00:15:04] Fight for

[00:15:05] bringing the guns to a playground, bringing the guns to a play ground fight. 

[00:15:14] Bob Gatty: All right. Thank you very much. That was beautiful. 

[00:15:17] Gabrielle Zwi: Thank you. 

[00:15:19] Bob Gatty: Now as a member of Gen Z. What was it like Gabrielle, growing up, going to school and having to undergo active shooting drills? Oh. What did that do to you psychologically? Gabrielle? 

[00:15:34] Gabrielle Zwi: I'm not sure if I'm qualified to, to answer that question. Because it's all I've ever known. Yeah. I don't really have a base of comparison. I don't know. It was, it's just a part of, 

[00:15:50] Bob Gatty: so it was just something you got, you, there's something you just got used to? 

[00:15:54] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah. I mean it's, that's the America we grew up in, don't as I say in the chorus it's just, it's what I've known being being born post Columbine.

[00:16:07] It's what so many of us across the country know. It's just a as regular as a fire drill. Or sometimes we have like extreme weather drills. But yeah, it's you're like conditioned to know in any classroom that you sit in where are you going to run if something happens?

[00:16:34] Where are you going to hide if something happens? It's if you're in the bathroom, you stand on top of the toilet seat so that they don't see your, feet under the stall. It's it, just, I don't know. It, becomes a part of the reality of being a student, even. School shootings make up such a small amount of gun violence and the fact that it won't happen to the large majority of students in the United States.

[00:17:03] It's the fact that it can happen that we're all living with and, growing up with. So yeah, so to answer your question, I really don't know because I, don't know any, anything different from that. 

[00:17:21] Bob Gatty: Hey, that's just incredible to me. That, that's just your normal, that's just normal going to school. Okay, guys, we're going to have a active shooter drill today.

[00:17:34] How did they do it? I What did the teachers say and how did it, walk me through how 

[00:17:40] that happens.. 

[00:17:42] Gabrielle Zwi: I know it happens differently in different schools. In some schools they, really go overboard and have fake gunshot noises and they, it's not our, my school thankfully wasn't like that.

[00:17:55] It was it, was treated as a drill. We were told about it ahead of time. And it was just so that we would know what to do. And because of that, of course everyone knowing it's a drill, there are always some kids who don't take it seriously. And the same with the fire drill and things like that because they know, oh, it's not real.

[00:18:13] It's this time that sure. We, get to not be doing our math assignments and we're just chilling in the corner of the classroom with the lights turned off. So I'm gonna make some little joke with my friend next to me and giggle. But I know that in some schools they definitely use the drills in a way that could be traumatizing to young students. Sure. There, there've been articles and, videos on that online. But yeah, that's, it's just treated the same way a fire drill is, I think, with the same frequency in the year maybe twice a year or once a quarter depending.

[00:18:51] I, I've lived in a few different school districts. Yeah. And then addition to the school shooting drills, there's also drills for a bomb threat, which my school did have. When I was in high school there were several bomb threats that were called into the school. And so then we had to put those drills into action, and thankfully, none of those threats ended up being acted upon, or if if someone was doing something with those threats, then the situations were resolved before anything happened. But yeah and, those, they like bring us all to a specific location instead of locking us down in the classrooms and it's this whole thing. But yeah that's, basically how they went. 

[00:19:35] Bob Gatty: How old were you when the first, when you had to go through the first one? Do you remember? 

[00:19:40] Gabrielle Zwi: In, kindergarten, definitely kindergarten.

[00:19:43] Yeah. 

[00:19:44] Bob Gatty: Yeah, I guess it 

[00:19:45] would've been right 

[00:19:46] Gabrielle Zwi: From as, as early as I, honestly I don't think we had anything like that in preschool.

[00:19:54] When I was in preschool, actually, I, it was in I went to a Jewish preschool in a synagogue, and They have security for all sorts of reasons. Sure. Cuz of what has always been happening. Yeah. With threats to synagogues, but I don't recall anything like that in preschool, of course I, don't really remember things, but I, in elementary school we, 

[00:20:20] Bob Gatty: okay, so when you were in kindergarten

[00:20:23] Gabrielle Zwi: and the way they were described to us over the years changed and the way that we responded to But yeah it's, I think they were referred to as code red. Okay. And so there were different codes for different things. Okay. And, Code Red, I think was the one where all of the lights are turned off. The windows are blocked, and we have to stay quiet in a designated area of the classroom until it moves to like a, I don't remember the different colors anymore, like until it moves to a yellow and then it moves to a green or something like that.

[00:20:55] Yeah. And then there were other codes. if, a student, I, if there's a medical event, and it just means that the students, you stayed in the classroom because they need the hallways cleared or th there were different codes for different things. And school shootings was just one of them.

[00:21:10] Bob Gatty: Okay. So did you have to like, crawl under the desk or what did you have to do? 

[00:21:18] Gabrielle Zwi: It depends on what classroom we were in. Usually we would all just be gathered up in an area that was out of view from Windows. Okay. If we were in a classroom that we were able to do that in sometimes in, in certain classrooms there were like doors that joined it with another room.

[00:21:41] And so we would be moved to the other room. I'm trying to remember I think it, like the art room had basically windows everywhere, but then we would go to the classroom next door, and then if you were in gym, then you would go into the locker rooms. It was it, there were just different drills for different rooms.

[00:22:03] And the thing about that is when you're in a school where you're. Middle school or high school where you're in a different classroom at each point of the day, it's this weird feeling of you, you're never really prepared for the classrooms, that you never did the drill in. And they're not gonna have you do the drill for every period because there's eight or seven periods depending on what school you go to.

[00:22:24] Sure. So as prepared as you think you are from having to do school shooting drills elementary school in, those situations where you're in middle school or high school and you think, what if I end up in a room where I don't know what to do, then yeah it's, this added level of anxiety.

[00:22:47] So I hadn't thought about that part of it before. But yeah, that's basically how it goes. 

[00:22:53] Bob Gatty: Yeah. Did it scare as a little kid? Were you scared?

[00:22:56] I don't think so so much, simply because it wasn't really on my radar, thankfully. Okay. And that is not the case for so many kids now. I think it wasn't until Sandy Hook when I was in middle school that it really became so visible and so like at the forefront of our minds for me and many of my peers.

[00:23:22] Yeah But yeah, for students, of course, students in elementary school who have had to face these situations and those who were in elementary school when Sandy Hook made the news and all of these other schools I, can't even imagine. Being, being at that age. 

[00:23:45] Yeah. 

[00:23:46] Gabrielle what what, are you planning to do going forward with all of this?

[00:23:53] Are you gonna do more besides your song? Are you're going to I, know you're involved with some organizations that. . 

[00:24:03] Gabrielle Zwi: Oh, yes. Yeah. So in a couple weeks I'll be participating in the Mom's Demand Action advocacy day, going to our state capital in Annapolis, Maryland. And I believe co-occurring actions and meetings and rallies will be happening in other states on the same day.

[00:24:23] maybe it's on different days. Yeah. I, was really a lot more involved in gun violence prevention work when I was in high school, and then I stepped away from it because I haven't been directly affected by it. And it it's, IM, it's important to have the voices at the forefront, be those who are directly impacted. And I got really involved in advocacy in other areas where I am directly impacted, if that makes sense. 

[00:25:00] Bob Gatty: Like what 

[00:25:02] Gabrielle Zwi: disability policy L G B LGBTQ related advocacy. And yeah, so I, I am autistic and I have several physical disabilities. And I'm also part of the LGBTQ community.

[00:25:18] And so I think like when I was transitioning from high school to college I definitely jumped a lot more into those advocacy spaces. Because of the fact that I have lived experience in those areas. And definitely as a human rights major. And before I transferred from my community college, when I was a public policy major I, focused a lot more on those areas.

[00:25:48] And so that was when, I wrote the song and when all of this happened, it was like, Not that I, had been out of this space for a while and then that happening right as I was graduating is what brought it back for me. Okay. And I had been supporting these organizations from a further away, if that makes sense. And through intersectional work with the, work I've been doing for the past four years. But yeah, so I've attended several rallies and other actions over these past six months and just really tried to, with the, platform that I have on social media. and the organizations that I do work with to highlight the work that's being done by organizations like Lives Robbed and March for Our Lives and Students Demand Action and so many more.

[00:26:57] But yeah, so I'll be at the Mom's Demand Action advocacy day at the end of January, and I'm hoping to do more work in this space, especially as I. Now stepping in through the role of a teacher an educator. I work in afterschool programs at the public school system where I grew up. And so while I'm not a teacher during the day, I'm still in those classrooms.

[00:27:26] I'll, be there in just an hour and a half actually. Teaching ukulele to elementary schoolers, Yeah. Okay. I think definitely as I step into this role as an educator which I'm, planning to do a lot more of starting next year. I, definitely see myself getting much more involved in gun violence prevention advocacy as I was before.

[00:27:52] But yeah, when I was in high school one thing when the March for Our Lives happened friends and I organized a network. Since we live in the DC area, we organized a network of houses to host middle school and high school and college students to come to the march of our lives because when you're under 18, which many of those people were you can't get your own hotel room and you probably don't have the funds for it anyway.

[00:28:18] And so we housed around 400 middle school, high school and college students from all across the country in student houses in the DC area. And after doing that, there was just a lot of other. I've done a lot of performing at the March for Our Lives and Student Demands Action and other organizations rallies before the pandemic.

[00:28:44] So yeah, I think a lot of what I've done with the movement so far, has basically been background organizing and then performing, not this song, but other songs that I've written at rallies and protests. 

[00:29:02] Bob Gatty: Okay. Where did you go to college? 

[00:29:05] Gabrielle Zwi: I went to Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, which is a community college, and then I transferred to Columbia University in New York.

[00:29:13] Bob Gatty: Oh, okay. And you graduated from Columbia? with a degree in human rights. Cool. Excellent. Now you said in a note that I saw that you're no stranger to activism As a Jewish, Brazilian American, a member of the lgbtq plus community who is autistic and disabled, you say your life is inherently politicized.

[00:29:41] What do you mean by that? 

[00:29:43] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah, I that life in general is poli, it's that the, I don't remember who I'm quoting now, that the personal is political. It doesn't matter. Yeah. But gosh. 

[00:30:00] Bob Gatty: The thing is Gabrielle Yeah. You if you're if, you're a member of the LGBTQ plus community, you're autistic and disabled, you've got some things going on in your life that other people attack.

[00:30:21] Yeah. Yeah. Politically, right? 

[00:30:25] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:30:27] Bob Gatty: I live in South Carolina much to my chagrin. I live in South Carolina and I read today that the state legislature. on the first day of the state legislature in South Carolina, there's about a half a dozen bills that have been pre-filed all attacking L G B T Q people.

[00:30:50] In one way or another. Yeah. Now you're also Jewish and there's a lot of anti-Semitism going on in this country right now. 

[00:31:03] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah. There's, really a lot of overlap. the gun violence movement and Yeah. LGBTQ especially when you think about the shootings that have occurred Yeah. At nightclubs and other queer spaces, the shootings that have occurred at synagogues.

[00:31:19] Yeah, that there's, definitely it's, not just school shootings and it's not just mass shootings, but that gun violence kind of permeates like every. almost every community that you can think of in the United States. Every marginalized community. In different ways. In, very different ways.

[00:31:38] And so that it, really is like almost any issue is it's an intersectional issue. And so when I stepped into. a, way, I guess I would say from being so focused on gun violence advocacy, gun violence prevention, advocacy and into L G B T Q advocacy and disability.

[00:32:03] There, there were still so many things that are like inherently connected. Even just. For example I, this past semester I was an app, a policy apprentice with a disability rights organization called Respectability. And some of that work was related to emergency response and how disabled people were integrated into like emergency response strategy.

[00:32:33] So like when there is a school shooting, For example and, most of this when we were talking about and working on, was in regards to natural disasters and evacuating homes and and getting medical supplies and things like that. But when there is a school shooting, when you have a student in a wheelchair, for example they are often left out of the plans even, with fire drills and with other things.

[00:32:57] They're often an afterthought. Students in wheelchair students with other mobility issues. And then when you think about autistic students Especially in schools where they don't have a designated program for students with learning disabilities or students with intellectual developmental disabilities such as autism.

[00:33:17] They're also often an afterthought in school shooting drills and preparation. 

[00:33:25] Bob Gatty: So did you experience that yourself? 

[00:33:27] Gabrielle Zwi: Yes. Yeah, but I was I. Mainstreamed into the typical classroom. Okay. I was never I, did have some classes where I was like, pulled out and was, in a learning disability class for one period.

[00:33:46] But unlike my brother, I was never in like a, dedicated program or part of the school. My, my brothers also has autism. just in a very different way than me. But yeah, so I've never personally experienced what it is like for students in those programs during a school shooting.

[00:34:13] But I remember being out on the playground and seeing that, and definitely knowing that like with many other things students with intellectual and developmental disabilities there's an assumption of incompetence often, and so I've definitely witnessed that a lot of things aren't described to my peers as as thoroughly as they should be because teachers or administrators try to tiptoe or quote, dumb down some sensitive topics. Yeah. And you can see the confusion and panic of some students when we're all lined up during a, bomb drill on the basketball court or wherever it is, depending on the school. So yeah. But de definitely just that. just consideration to emergency planning is just one of the many, ways that disability and gun violence are interconnected.

[00:35:26] But yeah, but I remember what, when I was doing the project actually for perceptions around school safety for that, the. One of the classes I took during my final semester of college I did interview one of my friends who uses a wheelchair, and she was talking about specifically in regards to fire drills the fact that her needs were not like considered until she really pushed for them.

[00:35:56] And that's not something that she should have had to do. . You know what? If there was a student before her who just didn't know how to advocate for themselves and what had happened, if there was a real fire, a real shooting, there wouldn't have been any preparation. . Yeah. 

[00:36:11] Bob Gatty: Okay. So Gabrielle, one last question for you.

[00:36:15] You mentioned earlier the conflict between the folks in Congress who oppose any kind of restrictions on guns. And.

[00:36:31] What do you think should happen in Congress to curtail these shootings that are taking place? 

[00:36:39] Gabrielle Zwi: So many of these shootings are taking place not, all, of course, but so many of them are taking place with legally obtained weapons. And really the results have shown that by banning assault weapons, by making them illegal by, or at least by preventing the manufacturing and sale of new weapons.

[00:37:04] That it will decrease, not eliminate, of course, but decrease gun violence. Because when you put more barriers in the way to someone carrying out a plan or even just formulating a plan of gun violence it is more likely to be deterred. Yeah. And as I'm entirely blanking on the years, but that there was an assault weapons ban Yeah.

[00:37:32] And saw that gun violence or mask gun violence, decreased a lot. And then it was taken away. And I just, it's just so obvious to me. I don't know. And then just in terms. . I don't think that guns should be banned overall. There are a lot of people who want to ban all guns, and I understand their reasoning behind that.

[00:37:56] But I think that like a car, you need to get a license, you need to get insurance for, if you kill someone in a car crash, you, there are all of these things that you need to do for, so many things in, our society in America. That you don't need to do in order to obtain and use a gun.

[00:38:16] And especially in the case of a six year old obtaining a gun and bringing it to school when, we think about what are the things that we should require responsible gun owners to do because there are so many responsible gun owners out there who the NRA has targeted and tried to say everyone else is against you.

[00:38:38] We're the only ones trying to protect your rights. There are so many things, so many reasonable common sense things that you can require a gun owner to do in order to prevent so much tragedy, especially those who have children in the home in terms of keeping their gun locked away and keeping the all of these different things that aren't in effect in some states.

[00:39:02] Sure. But yeah. And, it's not just about the rules, but about how they're being enforced. Yeah. . Yeah, I actually I lost my friend to gun violence two years ago. Not to a school shooting, but the shooter was 18 years old and a senior in high school. And I just is the fact that like an 18 year old had a gun and that is a legal adult who can't drink yet, but the fact that an 18 year old had a gun and used it to kill my friend and his girlfriend it's ju it to me. It's just my, it's it's baffling because I, can't imagine myself at 18 making any, type of decision like, to to end someone's life or even if, that wasn't just to, to use something with that capacity.

[00:39:59] And I think that many 18 year olds should not, I. should not I, don't know how to explain what I'm saying right now. It just 

[00:40:10] Bob Gatty: How about the six year old that shot the teacher? 

[00:40:13] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah, no, that's exactly . It's just and then 

[00:40:16] he used his mom's legally obtained handgun. Yeah. Because apparently wasn't locked away.

[00:40:23] Exactly. Yeah. So he got it, took it to school, shot his 25 year old teacher. 

[00:40:29] And a six year old can't buy a gun. But that's what I was saying with the fact that those who are gun owners, in order to, it is just that there, there need to be rules in place and mechanisms for enforcing those rules for those guns to be owned responsibly.

[00:40:45] Yeah. If you let your six-year-old drive your car, even if you don't let them, but if you go home and leave the keys on the counter and they pick them up and drive the you're gonna get in trouble for that. Yeah, obviously, yeah, you can't there are things you need to do, licenses, you need to take a driving test.

[00:41:00] You need to show that you're a safe and responsible driver before you have access to the car. Exactly. Yeah. So there's just so much. But I, guess what I was thinking with the 18 year old who shot my friend the fact that an 18 year old can go out and buy a gun, and this happened in Virginia and yeah it was originally reported as a car crash because they had crashed into my friend's car. And the first thing that my friends and I heard was that our friend died in a car crash. But then two days, I think it was like two days later, we found out that the car crash was intentional so that my friend and his girlfriend would get out of their car and then they were shot.

[00:41:45] And it's. I, don't know, at 18 years old, being able to buy the gun and to go through all of that within the same day that you, make the plan to buy the gun is, just wild to me. You can't decide that you wanna start driving the car and immediately buy a car and drive it. There's so much that you have to go through in order to prove that you're responsible, have insurance so that if you cause harm there, A way to at least attempt to, to rectify that or to, help with the damages. Sure. Yeah. So 

[00:42:21] yeah. 

[00:42:22] Bob Gatty: What are you planning to do with your you've got a degree now from Columbia University that's, pretty impressive just in and of itself.

[00:42:32] So what are you planning to do with all of that? 

[00:42:36] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah, so I currently serve on the Human Rights Commission of the city of Rockville, Maryland. Which is an appointed position in my city's government. And I actually, I was appointed when I was 18. So before I was at Columbia and that was being in that role is what solidified my decision to go to Columbia for the human rights major because there's only five schools in the country that have that major.

[00:43:00] But yeah. And then I also more recently was appointed to the county's committee against hate violence. Okay. Which we deal with a lot of the I hate crimes, but also things that are called bias incidents, which are okay when it's, it, it would be a hate crime, but then there's no technical crime attached to it.

[00:43:22] But yeah, I just really, enjoy the work that I'm doing in both of those roles. And those are both volunteer positions. Even though that they're appointed and everything and I would just like to do more. Work in that space of education and advocacy, I'm, really open to a whole realm of possibilities of what that could entail.

[00:43:45] Of course, I'm doing a lot of advocacy through music. I'm teaching music and after school programs and that like e even, when there's, things that aren't directly advocacy regarding for example, issues of violence. Being a part of these afterschool programs that keep kids in a safe and educational environment where they're learning social emotional skills and all of these different things that keep them from.

[00:44:24] other, I, I don't know how to explain what I'm saying very well. But that, yeah, I'm real, I'm really interested in a lot of different things being an educator being a musician, being a civil rights lawyer. So I am 

[00:44:41] Bob Gatty: a civil rights lawyer, so you're gonna go get, you're gonna get a law degree now?..

[00:44:44] Gabrielle Zwi: That my, that used to be my plan actually, Uhhuh for the first three years of college, my plan was to go to law school and then I realized that I just, I have so many different interests and I also was getting all of these new diagnoses and everything. And I decided, so after I graduated college, I'm taking kind of these two years to explore a whole bunch of things.

[00:45:09] Hopefully that will help me figure out what I'm doing after that, whether it. Law school or getting a master's in teaching or music therapy. There's, I'm just interested in way too many things. Oh, wow. And so last semester my main job was being, well before that, during the summer after graduating, I was the community engagement director for Joe Vogel, who is the first Gen Z legislator in the state of Maryland.

[00:45:36] So I was working on his campaign and he, is very, Involved in gun violence prevention, advocacy. And then during the fall semester, I was a policy apprentice at the Disability Rights Organization respectability. And then this semester I'm doing music full-time and so I'm teaching ukulele and songwriting in the afterschool program, but also just doing a lot of performing and individual lessons and things like that.

[00:46:05] And then, yeah, so I'm just doing a different thing basically. Each trimester of the year. And then hopefully that's gonna lead to me figuring out where I'm applying to for graduate school or for a full-time job. But yeah, I don't know, but the, thing that's been constant through all of that and through the past, I guess almost four years now, is that in addition what I'm doing as my career or whatever, that as a volunteer, I'm working on the Human Rights Commission and working in I guess like small what's the word? But the thing that has remained constant through all of these different trying out of jobs and through really the past four years has been volunteering on the Human Rights Commission and volunteering with other organizations in a smaller capacity just in advocacy work and bringing that voice as a young person who is now an adult and a college graduate and whatnot into rooms where it's not often present. And I think that's, I'm hoping that's something that I'm doing with this song, especially as it's of on the folkier side and a lot of my audiences aren't Gen Z and they're much older and haven't experienced these things 

[00:47:31] Bob Gatty: Okay, so where can people find your song?

[00:47:35] Gabrielle Zwi: So guns to a Playground fight can be found anywhere you listen to music. Whether that's YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, or Apple Music. And to find the link to all of those places you can go to my website, And that webpage has the song's lyrics, it has links to where you can hear the song, and it also has links to the organization Lives Robbed.

[00:47:58] How you can donate to them and learn more about them. 

[00:48:00] Bob Gatty: Okay. And GabrielleZwi, that's Z w i, correct? 

[00:48:04] Gabrielle Zwi: Yeah, so it's G a b r i e ll e Z w L I v e s r o b e d, . 

[00:48:13] Bob Gatty: Okay. All right, Gabrielle it's been great talking to you, and I appreciate you joining us on Lean to the Left. It's nice to to hear the perspective of someone from your generation and you're, a bright young woman with a lot going for you.

[00:48:33] Gabrielle Zwi: Thank you so much. 

[00:48:34] Bob Gatty: And, I wish you all the best. 

[00:48:37] Gabrielle Zwi: You as well. 

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