Sandy Hook was just over five years ago. The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas were mostly between the ages of eight and 13 when Sandy Hook happened – old enough to be horrified and scarred by it. The shooting in Florida follows on the heels of a shooting in January at Marshall County High School in Kentucky, three school shootings in 2017 where more than one child died, and a total of 63 school shootings where at least one child was injured since Sandy Hook. Add in shootings at places where older teens hang out (like the Pulse nightclub and a country music concert, for example) and high school students today have literally grown up on reruns of Columbine.
Depending on who’s doing the polling, how the questions are worded, and the exact question being asked, between 66% and 94% of Americans support some level of stricter gun laws – bans on assault weapons, stricter punishments for crimes, denying the mentally ill access to guns, universal background checks, waiting periods, etc. Yet none of those things have yet happened.
Instead, we have the President of the United States relying on a reminder card to show empathy, to say “I hear you” to the living victims of the latest school shooting, of Sandy Hook, and of Columbine.
Instead we have Dana Loesch, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, demeaning the mainstream media by alleging that “many in legacy media love mass shootings” because “crying white mothers are ratings gold.”
Instead we have the likes of Ted Cruz, NRA President Wayne LaPierre, and the President all calling for more guns in schools by way of arming teachers.
Well, the kids have had enough. In Florida, students marched on the state government and forced Governor Rick Scott, a pro-gun Republican, to cower in his office for hours before finally relenting to listen to small groups of students fed up with lax gun laws.
Student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting and the organizers of the Women’s March are pulling together a national student walkout for gun control on March 14.
I don’t know if this is finally the inflection point the US needs. I hope so. I thought it would happen after Sandy Hook, but the adults were too jaded or too tired or too corrupted to get it done. Maybe we needed the kids most scarred by that event to grow up some, to become active on social media, and then to realize that they. Have. Power.
What I do know is that people in power never give it up without a fight, and that they’ll fight dirty to keep their power. The NRA has power, the Republicans they support have power, and only by disrupting normal life will their power be taken from them. Protests are a good start. If we’re very lucky, we’ll get through this with no more violence than the Civil Rights era had.
I also know I’m done putting up with lies and willful ignorance from people who are unwilling to be logical.
I’m done being reasonable with unreasonable people.
And I’m done being polite about kids dying.