The road ends, but the journey continues...

Giving Voice: Walkout Wednesday (The Rise of the Next Generation of Change)

In an effort to reflect solidarity with students in today’s walkout, I am pubbing this post at 10AM local time on March 14th.

ash wednesday 2018 parkland school shooting

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)


Just one month ago on Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday 17 students and faculty members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were violently killed by Nikolas Cruz with an AR-15-style rifle.
war is not healthy for children and other living thingsAs with the Manchester Shootings, teen aged ‘children’ were victims but unlike Manchester, this is an internal ‘war’ waged by American citizens against itself.
I am proud of the students of Parkland – but not proud of the reasons behind this desperate need for change. They have somehow been graced with the gift of channeling anger and grief into a rational and highly visible form of social activism.
Finally, a palpable ‘changing of the guard.’
Hubby says this is their Vietnam…and I’d say they’re rising to the challenge.
 

The following are snippets of articles gleaned to read as a single narrative (sources are referenced in highlighted links) to document this living history of a rising “Next Generation of Change.”

Call them “Generation Columbine.”

Born during the first few years of the 21st century, our youngest Americans, from high schoolers on down, have never known a world without school shootings.

The 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., took place before virtually all of them were born. These students have grown up in Columbine’s shadow, with locker searches, locked schoolhouse doors, bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills.

Just as their grandparents feared polio and their parents feared nuclear war, these young people arrive at school each morning fearing death by high-powered rifle.

By one estimate, this generation has attended class through more than 200 school shootings since Columbine, which have effectively altered their sense of safety — psychologists would call the collective dread of rampages a “threat to your assumptive world.”

And now there is Parkland.

Don’t look now, but here comes the post-millennial generation.
Americans are just growing accustomed to the impact of the massive millennial generation as consumers, workers and voters. But now the crusade for gun control led by survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting is heralding the arrival of the younger generation rising behind them.
More specifically, Parkland – a highly educated, affluent, white-collar enclave—tends to produce the kind of self-confident, socially aware, media-savvy youth who believe that they can change the world. These are teens who’ve been raised to know their value, to expect their voices to be heard—and who have the cultural resources and know-how to navigate the system. “We are equipped because of our amazing teachers and the education they have provided for us to now use,” Fernandez explained.
There is a generational element at work as well. Millennials and post-Millennials are often ridiculed as having an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. But yes, Parkland’s teens absolutely feel entitled not to see their friends murdered in their school. And having experienced such horror, they feel entitled to demand answers from their political leaders and to push for reforms to gun laws that they now see as deeply inadequate. The system is FUBAR. They want the so-called grown-ups to cut the crap and get serious about fixing it.
These students are not naive. They have watched the nightmare of mass shootings play out on the public stage often enough to know the drill: The nation is overcome with sorrow and outrage for a couple of days, after which comes the pushback from gun-rights forces, the shifting of the political discussion from guns to mental health or bullying or terrorism or violent video games or angry young men, the drifting of public attention, the lack of action by lawmakers (who know better than anyone how quickly the pressure for reform dissolves), and, finally, the quiet realization by all that nothing is going to change.
This is the precisely cycle that Fernandez and her classmates are determined to break.

22 Comments

  1. Deborah Brasket

    I turned on the TV for a moment and happened to catch one of the Parkland speakers at the march in Washington DC. Two hours later I was still watching, riveted by their eloquence and passion. An amazing moment in history. For the first time in a long while, I have great hope and expectation for the future.

  2. Andy

    I too thought of the Vietnam era when following the news of the student protests over on this side of the Pond. The students are proving inspirational, and I hope their efforts gathers momentum. People in the UK look at the gun laws in the US with bewilderment. Here the only comparable gun massacres that come to mind are Hungerford in the 80’s and Dunblane in the 90’s. After Dunblane (similarly to your tragedy an attack on a school) we rewrote our gun laws, and these attacks are notable for their rarity.
    But I don’t think we (or I) should be telling the people of another country what they should or shouldn’t do. Change has to be internal-my hopes are with the kids.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I’m happy to say that I’m ‘with the kids’ and this emerging ‘younger generation’, too.
      I’d heard of Dunblane…I think they reached out across the pond to Columbine after that shooting.
      Andy, I’m a bit bewildered myself – going out to ‘shoot some game for supper’ with a hunting rifle is a lot different that ‘allowing’ military-style weapons to be gotten by ordinary citizens…regardless of intention.

      • Andy

        I agree. Over here, (like him or loathe him), Piers Morgan is always banging the drum, taking to task pro-gun campaigners via video link, comparing the ease his son could get hold of such weapons with the difficulty he faced in getting served alcohol or even energy drinks (I think, my memory is sketchy).
        But I still think it’s not for us to dictate to other countries what they should do.

        • laura bruno lilly

          I agree it’s not for us to dictate to other countries what they should do…
          (BTW: in my next post, I have to let you know, that’s a classic ‘southern’ accent and opinion and I am not ‘southern’ in any way shape or form just living here for awhile.)

  3. Sue

    I’m another of the Vietnam era teens-early twenties. I’ve been watching these kids and feeling hopeful — hopeful that change will happen, hopeful that the tide will turn against the stranglehold the NRA holds on so many legislators. I honor the second amendment, but I don’t believe there is any legitimate reason private citizens need or should have weapons created only to kill as many of the enemy as possible in the shortest time possible. I fully support commonsense gun legislation. Why not treat owning and using guns the same way we treat owning and driving cars? Mandatory training, registration, and licensing.
    The future seems brighter when I think about these kids as voters and candidates. Maybe they’ll carry their ideas with them into adulthood and the highest levels of our government.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh Sue! As always, you articulate so well what I feel! Thank you for chiming in and summarizing my thoughts exactly even if my actual post kind of took the long way around it all!
      peace
      😎

  4. Jennie Fitzkee

    Excellent post, Laura. As a teacher, the tragic events hit me particularly hard. I still have nightmares about Sandy Hook. Giving voice is important.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Jennie.
      I can understand about the nightmares…you are so close to the ‘front lines’ and care so deeply.

  5. Anne leueen

    I am also very proud of these students. I am of the “Vietnam” era and I am heartened to see that the young people have the same sort of strength and resolve to Resist! I am Canadian but I am with these young people in spirit and would be honored to march with them.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hello Anne, thanks for dropping by.
      Yes, it is refreshing to see a new generation go forth with that strange mix of idealism and realism that is called ‘youth.’

  6. Anna Scott Graham

    My hope is that through this new generation novel notions will emerge. My grandchildren will be amoung those demonstrating on the 24th. I’m hoping to join them as well. 😉
    windsofchangepeace

    • laura bruno lilly

      We plan on joining others in a local march…how lovely to share the demonstration with members of your own ‘younger generation’.
      carrythetorchforandwiththempeace

  7. Janis

    I am proud to say that students from the schools in my area, including my alma mater, turned out en masse today. We’ll be there in support for the march on March 24.

  8. Jill

    Although I do support the second amendment, it’s definitely time for some major changes. These children are inspiring!

  9. L. Marie

    Great post, Laura! Enough is enough. So very true!

    • laura bruno lilly

      ‘The times they are a changin’…’

  10. Jane Chesebrough

    I feel very proud of these students and think they are not going to be bullied into submission. For that , I am grateful and think there is a lot of support from this country , too. I feel a sense of hope.
    I found myself wondering if I would stand with them in solidarity, and yes, I would.

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