The country’s latest school shooting (as of the publication of this editorial) in Parkland, FL, evoked all of the usual emotions associated with our all-too-common mass-killing incidents—there was horror, fright, anger and, of course, plenty of partisan debate about the cause of this incident and the many incidents that preceded it.
But something is different about this particular school shooting and it’s something that makes one believe—or more accurately, hope—that change will finally manifest from this brand of American tragedy. And that something is the loud, angry, fed-up voices of the survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; teenagers whose young eyes have seen enough blood to last them a lifetime.
In the hours after the massacre that left 17 dead, students spoke out against the inaction of elected officials in the face of shooting after shooting, volleying back their empty offerings of “thoughts and prayers” and demanding real answers as to why this keeps happening and how the next shooting can be prevented.
The older generation of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers might scoff at the idea of Millennials and those younger actually banding together to initiate meaningful change in this country. Most adults over the age of 30 think that the so-called Millennial generation is comprised of weak-minded, self-involved, social media-obsessed drift-abouts with entitlement issues, who wouldn’t know a hard day’s work if it jumped up and bit them in the SnapChat.
If this is your core belief about that generational cohort, I’ve got some news: You are dead wrong. Our youth—those who came of age during and after 9/11—have seen a measure of terror once thought unimaginable in America. Time and time again, they’ve seen people their age killed in school while politicians sat on their hands. And now, the latest tragic moment has become the students’ hopeful call to action.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Think about the never-ending pop culture phenomena of movies and novels featuring teenagers leading the uprising in a dystopian world. Rather than fiction, it seems that was a dress rehearsal for reality.
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