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