I’m like everyone else watching these teenagers from Florida doing what has yet to be done which is take the bull by the horns of Common Sense Gun Reform. I am sickened for every school, teacher, parent, and child who has had to endure a similar fate, and I am with these young people because they are making it so clear what they want: they want us to DO something meaningful. They are telling us in the fiercest and plainest terms that they are terrified and tired of it and they want assault weapons banned. As a parent of teenagers I am familiar with how difficult it can be to get a teenager to put into words what they want, but these young people are making it abundantly clear. They have a vision and it means changing what has been.
This gun control debate is old. I am so sick of it. I don't want anyone's guns. I don't care if you hunt. And I don't see how banning assault weapons is going to change a single life of any gun owner I know. But if banning them means wackos have fewer choices, it seems pretty ok to me. And if banning them means you have one less pretty in your gun arsenal, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you navigate this potential loss in your gun collection. And because we are an evolved society, we can work on TWO things at ONCE. We can continue to push for better and more thorough mental health initiatives WHILE limiting the number of military-grade weapons available to the average person. It is long past time to turn this whole conversation around to those most affected. As quick as we are to blame the I-phone on a wealth of anxiety in our teens, I think we'd be hard-pressed to refute what it is like to attend school in the last twenty years, worried about mass shootings with assault weapons. Thinking about managing school shootings has become so normal our society has become numb.
But these young people are far from numb, glory be! And if you don’t want to pay attention, if you don’t want to listen, if you don’t want to be held accountable, then I’d strongly suggest you make way for those of us who do. The tenacity, grit, and grace of these survivors is worth all the fight we have in us and I want to show up for it.
Let them lead. Listen to them and then DO whatever it takes to support their efforts because we have failed. If you can’t, please step aside because quite frankly, this is not your time to speak. It is THEIR turn to SHINE and I will gladly follow their light and burn a bridge if I must. This is so not about me. It's about listening to what is being said by those who have been directly affected. And who are we kidding? Haven't we all been affected? It is well past time to ACT on it.
Sometimes, it's ok to take a stand and burn a bridge. We've been tested mightily since well before the election on this front. I've worked hard in my own life to really dig deep and listen to people I do not agree with and that hasn't stopped. But the rally cry of these kids screaming at the top of their lungs for help is my call to answer and that might mean I lose a few "friends" and burn a few bridges. I have decided I am totally ok with this. My hope is the light from the fire these young people have created burns brighter after the dust settles.