The first is our ludicrous anti-gun control policies (boldface mine):
“I’ve been told these protocols for years,” she said. “My sister is in middle school — she’s 12 — and in elementary school, she had to do code red drills.”
This is life for the children of the mass shooting generation. They were born into a world reshaped by the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado, and grew up practicing active shooter drills and huddling through lockdowns. They talked about threats and safety steps with their parents and teachers. With friends, they wondered darkly whether it could happen at their own school, and who might do it.
Now, this generation is almost grown up. And when a gunman killed 17 students this week at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., the first response of many of their classmates was not to grieve in silence, but to speak out. Their urgent voices — in television interviews, on social media, even from inside a locked school office as they hid from the gunman — are now rising in the national debate over gun violence in the aftermath of yet another school shooting.
While many politicians after the shooting were focused on mental health and safety, some vocal students at Stoneman Douglas High showed no reluctance in drawing attention to gun control.
They called out politicians over Twitter, with one student telling Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.” Shortly after the shooting, Cameron Kasky, a junior at the school, and a few friends started a “Never Again” campaign on Facebook that shared stories and perspectives from other students who survived the rampage…
No matter how rare school shootings are for the vast majority of students, they have grown up in a world so attuned to these threats that high schoolers are now more conversant in the language of lockdowns and code red drills than their parents.
At some point, they will start to vote, and this will be an important issue for them.
The second issue is also school-related: high-stakes testing (and, no, I’m not equating testing to mass murder). Students hate it, and when they start sending kids to school, they won’t want their kids those tests either. The key point is that these are things today’s children experience; they are not hypothetical, but very real, experienced things with consequences.
Unfortunately, there will be more damage until they help us get to a more sane place.