Following the tragic murder of 17 individuals on Valentine’s Day at the Marjory Stoneham Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, there were those of the”older and wiser generation”( baby boomers? ) who declared that this was not a good time to talk about gun control. No suggestion was made as to when that time would arrive.
The leadership of the courageous youngsters who attend the school started a discussion that was heard by a number corporations. Said corporations are enforcing tighter rules for gun purchasers. The state of Florida, which is famously gun loving, has made moves to change their gun laws. The NRA is not happy and is now suing the state.
There are many points of view as to what will help. The fact is that no one has a surefire answer. As a result of the killings at Parkland some are now willing to take action to attempt to mitigate the horror that accompanies this type of carnage.
There is a good deal of common agreement that the young are more audacious because they have not spent a lifetime accumulating property and power. In other words, the young have less to lose. The problem is that youngsters are losing their ability to learn what life is about when they are murdered at school. Loss of life, by any measure, is paramount in importance to loss of property.
State senator, Linda Stewart (D Orlando) stated that the welfare and safety of the citizens of Florida is the responsibility of the State legislature. She echoed a sentiment that arose after the massacre at Columbine in 1999 — “how can we just let this happen?” This is the question that was asked after Sandy Hook, the Pulse nightclub shootings and the murders of concert-goers in Las Vegas. No answers or concrete efforts have been brought forward.
As the adults froze in indecision the students, in a rational and appropriate manner, demanded that something be done. They underlined that the time for only talk has expired. The opinion of these youngsters as well as individuals of all ages across the country, is that at least an attempt to solve this problem would be preferable to the maintenance of a life-destroying status quo.
If the children are annihilated, how can there be a future? How does life on this planet continue if the “grownups” do nothing? Any number of responsible adults have been demanding action. Now the courageous students of Parkland, Florida are joining in the rallying cry for school safety. They mean business.
The so-called millennials have used social media, blogs and youtube to lobby for the protection of the environment. They have expressed outrage at shameful, life-destroying worldwide poverty. Now thousands of youngsters have gathered to protest school killings. A huge demonstration has been planned for March 24th on the National Mall. The kids understand that schools are meant to provide a safe environment in which they can learn, grow and decide who each of them want to be as they move along in life.
The millennials don’t buy into how their elders believe things should be. They want to know why? Why can they not embrace a different point of view? What is the evidence that the accepted norms still hold true? The millennials are part of what appears to be a national sea change in terms of genuine equality. They ask the questions that a growing new cycle in human behavior has brought along with it. They insist on having a voice and participating in the metamorphosis that will be theirs to deal with in the future.
One of the student leaders, Emma Gonzales, has paraphrased Gandhi as she has called on her fellow survivors to be the change they wish to see. As the adults rely on prayer, the millennials are demanding action. They are self-confident and unafraid to spar with their elders. Through their mastery of social media, they have brought an end to false claims that some of their spokespeople are “hired guns”, actors.
The millennials have understood that they do not have time to wallow in their grief. Although the magnitude of their loss echoes the losses suffered in war zones, the students understand that without a call to action they will get more of the same. They recognize the need to keep the outrage right up front and pertinent.
Those in power, the lawmakers, have missed the boat in their refusal to take youthful protests seriously. The response to the Parkland shootings has forced politicians to pay attention. Parkland is the latest in a long series of these types of events that have gone on since 1999. There are those who have felt and expressed outrage that the killing continued, unchecked, for19 years. Youngsters have experienced trauma of magnitude and amplitude that, at one time, would have been impossible to imagine emerging from the public school system.
The March11,2018 issue of the New York Times has two pages of the first section dedicated to the Parkland students. The students founded a movement entitled “March for Our Lives”. This is the name under which they will protest at the March 24th event.
One page is a thank you to the companies, such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods which have changed their rules around selling guns out of concern and respect for the students. The March for our Lives has raised over $3 million on their GoFundMe page. They go on to request that those who wish to help adopt a school that wants to attend the March rally but have insufficient funds. Help is needed to finance travel to the event and other affiliated costs.
The second page is an article entitled “The Social Media Warriors of Parkland”. Governor Scott of Florida is quoted as saying, “You made your voices heard…”. The students have made good use of Twitter as they exchange and respond to information. They have not shied away from confrontation with conservative opinions in general or Senator Marco Rubio and the NRA in particular.
There has been no violence associated with the March for our Lives. Tweets are well thought out before they are made public.
There are many compelling reasons the Baby Boomers should step aside and allow the Millennials to take the lead in school safety. One generation’s deficiency may well lead to the next generations immortality.
Humans only embrace change when maintaining the current position becomes too painful. Uncounted numbers of individuals believe that time has arrived. To be continued…
Cottle, M. (2018, February 28). How Parkland Students Changed the Gun Debate. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from theatlantic.com
DeWitt, C. (2017, November 6). Lawmakers Fear the Power of Youth. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from teenvogue.com
Gonzales, S. (2018, March 2). Parkland Shooting Shows Power of Youth Political Engagement. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from queens journal.com
Murray, E. (2013, May 24). Why Young People Are The Best Change Makers. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from yourcommomwealth.org
Social Media Power Youth Political Participation. (2012, June 26). Retrieved March 11, 2018, from eureckalert.org
This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of Theravive.