‘You shouldn’t have to be doing this’
The United States is no stranger to mass protest marches. One need only think of all the marches against the Vietnam War, the Women’s marches in Washington, The Million Man March to unite the black community, the annual March for Life, and countless others. But the nationwide marches that took place March 14 were different: participants were primarily high school students.
In the wake of yet another school shooting, this one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS a month ago, students in nearly 3,000 schools across the nation left their classrooms to send the nation a message.
At Liberty HS, participation in the March was optional, so there was no way of knowing how many students would take part. Shortly before 10 a.m., students began pouring out of the building and kept on coming. By the time they were all assembled, the track surrounding Liberty’s football field was filled with students. In the center of the field, the brief program in memory of the victims of the shooting was conducted by students.
For this reporter, seeing this crowd of teenagers, some grim-faced and others carrying signs demanding that meaningful action be taken, made me painfully aware of the vulnerability of these young people because of our failure to protect them, and the realization moved me to tears. I turned to the student who had handed out ribbons to her fellow students and said, “You shouldn’t have to be doing this.”
On the positive side, I came away with the feeling that the tide is turning. I have the sense that more and more people are realizing that we need to enact much tighter gun regulations. After seeing and hearing high schoolers responding to the latest mass shooting, I think that if adults fail to take the necessary action, young people will.