Gun control: The teens demanding change
America’s gun lobby is “facing its greatest threat yet,” said Sebastian Murdock in HuffingtonPost.com: “Generation Z.” Two weeks after the deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla., survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High are refusing to let the issue of gun control drop out of the headlines. In Florida, students have traveled to the state capitol in Tallahassee to demand better background checks and other measures, and thousands of schoolkids in other states, including Minnesota and Colorado, have staged class walkouts. Over the next month, there are plans for more rallies, a nationwide school walkout, and a march on Washington, D.C. Spearheaded by “impassioned, articulate” Stoneman Douglas students who know how to harness the power of social media, the budding #NeverAgain movement has a simple message: Don’t let us die in our schools. Young people have driven “nearly every major social movement” in recent history, from the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter, said John Blake in CNN.com. Can America’s high schoolers do the same for gun control?
These “traumatized” teens are “entitled to their rage,” said Jonah Goldberg in NationalReview.com. The conspiracy theories being floated about the Parkland students—including that they are “crisis actors” paid by anti-gun activists—are “reprehensible.” But it’s worth remembering that fury is “the enemy of reason.” Liberals rightly caution that we shouldn’t allow anger to cloud our judgment after terrorist attacks; likewise, Parkland’s emotional survivors aren’t the best people to drive complex policy discussions. We can’t expect teens to fully understand an issue as multifaceted as gun control, said David Harsanyi in TheFederalist.com. What’s “cynical” is Democratic politicians and the liberal media using these “grieving children” to push their agenda. Would the kids be afforded so much praise and airtime if they were backing policies less acceptable to the gun-control crowd, such as arming teachers? Of course not.
We shouldn’t “romanticize” these teens,“for their sake and ours,” said Bill Scher in Politico.com. The gun debate has had countless “‘this time is different’ moments,” from the Million Mom March after Columbine to the push for reform after Sandy Hook. Each time, nothing changed. Gun control is “an issue that divides this country at its roots,” and any meaningful legislative action will take years, if not decades. Rather than talking up Parkland’s survivors as “angelic saviors,” we should “prepare them for the long slog ahead.”