Today at 10:00 a.m., students across Arizona will walkout of their classrooms for a 17 minute vigil in remembrance of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Philip Boas of The Republic writes, Why every adult should support students’ March 14 walkout:
If you believe young people shouldn’t be walking out of their classrooms on Wednesday to protest gun violence in America, if you believe this is a waste of precious classroom time and only encourages chaos and defiance …
… you are wrong.
The kids are right.
These young people are citizens of this country, and every citizen has the right to commit acts of civil disobedience in the face of great wrongs.
We’ve failed for decades to solve this
There is great wrong in this country right now. Adults are committing a soaring sin of omission. They have been failing for decades to solve the problem of rampage shootings, and in particular, school rampage shootings that first yanked us awake 18 years ago when two deranged teens carried rifles and bombs into Columbine High School and never walked out again after killing 12 students and a teacher.
Columbine came and went with little change.
And then came more campus shootings.
2007: Virginia Tech, 33 dead.
2012: Newtown, Conn., 28 dead.
2015: Roseburg, Oregon, 10 dead.
2018: Parkland, Fla., 17 dead.
Turns out, those shootings meant something
Perhaps the biggest mistake we adults made was concluding they all amounted to nothing – no important controls on gun access and usage, no meaningful restraints on the mentally ill and only marginal improvements in school security.
No matter how bad the carnage, no matter that 20 small children were slaughtered in their classroom at Sandy Hook, no matter that an eccentric retiree could train his makeshift machine gun on a Las Vegas concert crowd and kill 58, the American public remained unmoved. Or so we thought.
In the media we decided Sandy Hook and Las Vegas and Virginia Tech came and went without meaning.
Teens wouldn’t let us move on
But we were wrong. All of this has been cumulative.
And the proof is the children of Parkland, Fla. – those students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who two days after a crazed teenager killed 17 of their own, gathered at a park and decided their school wouldn’t become just another stat on America’s bloody gun register.
In two days they were already seeing the old familiar patterns. Interest was dying.
“I was getting worried, like this is over, people do not care,” said 17-year-old David Hogg to the Wall Street Journal.
“I started live-streaming so people could see, to reignite the interest.”
And a national youth movement was born.
How you can show your support
In the way that young people are adept at social media, Hogg used Twitter’s Periscope app to broadcast himself and his fellow students to a country that had seemed to lost faith in its ability to solve its tough problems.
Since then the Parkland kids have been saturating national television, staging and inspiring protests across the nation. The youth arm of the Women’s March drew from their fire and organized a national school walkout on Wednesday.
People who want to show their solidarity with the students can wear orange or walk out of their workplaces for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Other national demonstrations will include the March 24 procession on Washington, D.C. and the April 20 remembrance of the slaughter at Columbine High School in Colorado.
Why schools shouldn’t quash protests
Many schools are supportive of Wednesday’s walkout, giving kids permission to demonstrate for 17 minutes and providing them security. But others have threatened their kids with suspension and other penalties if they participate.
They’re making a mistake.
This problem directly impacts American school children. Many of them may be naïve about the ins and outs of the gun problem and all the nuance of the Second Amendment, but they are right about one large thing:
The adults in this country created our gun culture with its 300 million-plus weapons. And they’ve left it with so few restrictions that a fevered teenager named Nikolas Cruz could easily purchase a semiautomatic assault rifle and kill 17 students and faculty.
Not only should the kids protest.
We should all burn orange – with the same righteous anger – about this problem.
Maybe schools today should be teaching Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and by Mohandas Gandhi. Make it a teachable moment in the First Amendment right of free speech, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Students and teachers participating in today’s walkout should feel free to send Blog for Arizona photos of your walkout. We may be able to post your photos in a later post.