I hear a lot about these Parkland kids that are standing up for themselves in the face of both the horrific gun massacre that slaughtered so many of their classmates, and the Republicans’ continued appalling failure to act to prevent more like it. I hear that they are courageous and visionary, and that they are going to rise up and fix this problem. People say this like it’s a good thing.
Are they courageous? Absolutely. Visionary? Certainly.
But I feel like this calculus ignores that they are also terrified. That they were dragged into this fight, literally, at gunpoint.
I love these kids, but I hate that they have to do what they’re doing. They never should have come to this point, because we—YOU and I—should have solved this problem long before it shot their friends to death.
Claiming that “they will solve this problem” is a copout. It is just another way to wait around and hope someone else fixes it. Do they need our support? Yes, absolutely, of course, but the fact of the matter is that WE SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN DOING ALL OF THIS. They should be getting our backs, not asking us to get theirs.
The fact that we claim a bunch of teenagers in Florida are now responsible for solving this problem is ghastly. They aren’t. They are children. Our continued and abject failure to demand change has resulted in a massacre that has altered the course of their lives forever. That is not a cause for celebration. It is a reason for shame.
After Columbine, we should have demanded change—of our laws, of our legislators, and of ourselves. And certainly after Sandy Hook, we should have refused to accept inaction as a possibility; we should have staged a die-in at every state capitol, barricaded doors, swarmed the news, and demanded better laws that would actually protect our children. We spent far too much time waiting to get angry, and we cannot now allow these kids to pick up our slack. We need to pick up our own slack.
Post. Donate. Protest. Call your rep, call your rep, call your rep.
Don’t leave these kids carrying this god-awful burden alone. We failed them once. We should be carrying them now, not the other way around.