Can the students of Parkland High School do what others have failed to do in the wake of mass shootings? Can they shake a nation from paralysis and despair? Can they change the debate? Can they create sufficient political pressure that politicians stop singing the same old, tired tune? “Gee, if someone really wants to kill people, they’ll find a way.”
Past experience does not encourage optimism. There is always, as there should be, a surge of pain/ outrage, and commitment, following a mass shooting, especially a school shooting. Lord knows, the parents of Newtown, Ct. have tried. Many have done heroic work. And they had the help of the man in the White House. But, at least so far, little has come of it.
Is this time different? Maybe. Just possibly. Let’s hope so. Parkland student are calling BS on the politicians tired rationalizations of inaction. And they are saying — quite correctly — it is their lives that are on the line, while politicians diddle. And it’s about time. The difference from Newtown is that kindergartners don’t advocate their own cause on television. Incensed high school students do — at least these do.
And isn’t it interesting? They are not following the lead of Donald “It’s- Always-Someone-Else-Who-Is-To-Blame” Trump by going after the FBI. No, they are calling for gun control. Nor are they buying into the Trump/ Republicans sudden interest in “mental health.” Funny, the Republicans haven’t given a damn about mental health care for all the years since Ronald Reagan brought us “de-institutionalization” of the mentally ill — without the promised back-up community services.
So, I pray, that these students may not only be sustained, but joined by many other students and many of the rest of us, who are sick-to-death of this carnage. Sick-to-death of students hiding in closets, doing lock-down drills, and listening to politicians offer “thoughts and prayers,” while doing nothing, absolutely nothing.
The Parkland students are planning a march on Tallahassee, the Florida State Capitol. And talking of national marches. I hope it happens. I’ll be there.
In the meantime, “CALLING BS” would be an excellent name for the political/ spiritual movement this nation so desperately needs.