March for Our Lives
When I walk into the band room of the school where I volunteer, I am struck to see instructions for what to do during a live shooter event posted on the wall. We did not have this when I went to school. Today’s students see these instructions daily. In schools across the country, they have live shooter drills. These exercises prepare students and teachers, but they are also traumatic because they make a potential shooting seem so real. At least one school (in Anchorage) uses real gunfire to make the simulation even more real.
Today’s high school students were all born after Columbine. Most were in elementary school when 20 of their peers and 7 others were killed in Sandy Hook Elementary. School shootings have become common to them, as have mass shootings in many other venues. Their school experience has been shaped by these shootings.
No wonder they are saying loud and clear, “Enough!” They are fed up. They do not want to be killed and they do not want to have to continue to live in fear.
We, American adults, have let them down. We have taught them to live in fear and prepared them to minimize casualties if they are shot at. We have taught them that protecting the ownership of weapons that kill many of them fast is far more important than their own lives. Even those of us who have contacted our representatives, rallied, posted, and have otherwise tried to change gun laws have failed them, because the laws have not changed and they are not protected.
More than preparing them for what to do once the shooting starts, they want the shooting to not start in the first place. Other countries have changed their laws to prevent mass murder. It is past time for the U.S. to do the same.
Survivors of the Parkland shooting have been through the hell-on-earth of someone trying to kill them. So when the NRA and Internet trolls mock, belittle, and even threaten them, they have not given into the fear and they have not backed down.
These students are impressive. They are getting it done. They are standing up to the gun lobby and they are showing real leadership. The least we can do is to show up, support them, and follow their leadership. They have invited us to join them in the March for Our Lives on March 24. Let’s help them succeed where we have failed.