Students, the main targets in school shootings, for the most part can’t vote, can’t choose their school officials, can’t make the police actually protect them, can’t change laws.
They can’t do much of anything in school shootings but be shot at.
Last Wednesday students at something like 2,500 schools, including many in the Carolinas, peacefully exercised their right to protest, to say, “Enough,” and to demand action.
They haven’t gotten much action but they’ve gotten plenty of reaction. A sampling:
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“They are stupid.”
“How about they look at how they are treating each other? Look at the ways they isolate classmates, bully them, make them feel so alone that they are that desperate?”
“They are being manipulated for political gain.”
“It was a good civics lesson for sure, but keep in mind these are the same kids who were eating Tide Pods last month.”
Those are comments I’ve seen and heard directly through my radio show and Facebook page. I’ve left out the ones flinging four-letter words.
It’s no wonder the students are frustrated.
Do these kids in fact seem stupid? They haven’t to me. Most of those I’ve seen interviewed have been intelligent, coherent and respectful.
As for bullying - yes, it can be a real problem in schools. But there is no evidence the accused shooter in Parkland, Fla., was bullied to a breaking point by the students he shot and killed.
What about being “manipulated for political gain”?
There will of course be special interest groups trying to latch onto the movement these students are spawning. That happens all the time, and not just when those voicing their opinion are young. An idea cannot be responsible for all of the followers it attracts.
The most clear-cut case of actual manipulation I’ve seen was of a student appearing on the CNN Town Hall about the shootings, whose father claimed had been told by the network not to make comments of his own thinking, but to “stick to the script.” After CNN denied the charge, the father admitted editing an email from CNN that he had forwarded to Fox News, which made it appear CNN was trying to control his son.
Fox made hay of the “manipulation” until the truth emerged.
The quip about Tide pods was clever. But is there proof the students who protested have been popping them?
Most of these comments were made by Baby Boomers. Grouchy, “Get off my lawn” Baby Boomers, typically of a particular political persuasion, who’ve become the epitome of the “What’s The Matter with Kids Today?” grousing of their parents that was mocked in song in the Sixties.
I’ve got news for some of you Baby Boomers – your reaction to these kids says more about your state of mind than theirs.
Boomers knock the kids to cover for themselves because the kids, in their call for action and the attention it’s getting, are knocking them. It’s Baby Boomers and other like-sounding adults, typically of a particular political persuasion, who can vote, can choose school officials, and can change laws — but have failed miserably on the school shootings front.
They knock not merely the points the students are making but the kids themselves, in sweeping, demeaning ways. If they can invalidate the students, the adults don’t even have to consider what the kids are saying.
Some Boomers need to listen to a different song from their youth.
The one that warns in three-part harmony about parents needing to be taught well by their children’s hell.