In the tail end of a snowstorm on the morning of March 24th I participated in the March for our Lives that took place in Mankato Minnesota. I was amazed how many people showed up in the really awful weather. I was amazed at the number of people who drove by who gave us a “thumbs up” sign or other sign of encouragement (yes we did also get flipped the bird twice, but we just laughed at those folks and they were VERY much outnumbers by our supporters). I was amazed by the creativity of the signs folks made (I did not make a sign, partially because mine was a last minute decision to participate long story- and partially because I cannot draw stick people or even write legibly free-handed).
But what amazed, and humbled, me the most was the passion of the high school girls who were the organizers and leaders of the event. These are teen aged girls who should be worried about mid term grades or getting a prom date, but instead they are worried about being shot during math class and they decided to actually do something about it.
I regretfully did not get their names, but their poise and leadership skills were well beyond their years. They spoke with conviction. They spoke with authority. They were doing what young people have done for generations in our country- protesting the status quo and the very notion that their youth means they don’t have the right or even the ability to have strong, smart opinions on the current “hot button” topics facing our nation. I could NEVER have done anything like that at 17 years of age. Hell, I’m not sure I could now! It was a real eye opening experience for me, and one I’m so grateful I got to be a part of.
I assure you that the girls I met last weekend, or my 6-year-old niece, nor any other kid, wants to have to go through metal detectors or walk by “good guys with guns” to go to school. We live in a civilized society, not a war-torn third world nation. There is no reason why, we as a civilized people, cannot see and understand that gun violence IS about the availability of guns more than it’s about mental health or bullying (although those are important causes in their own right). And it’s very very sad that we need kids too young to vote to point it out the obvious truth to us adults who have failed them so badly.