Those of you who know me know that I come from a royal-blue county in North Jersey that is cycling through more than its fair share of far-left mayors and councilmen. So it was no surprise to me when I found out that my high school is going to be participating in the nationwide school walkouts tomorrow afternoon, in what the left and the media tell us will, alongside the so-called “March for Our Lives” on Washington, be a moving display of the sheer power that we teenagers have assigned ourselves in the wake of the Parkland massacre.
But truth be told, I’m not buying into that. Here’s why.
First and foremost, the very basis of the teenage angst-filled protests is one which is deeply unethical and rooted more in knee-jerk emotion than reality. The message of the protestors is simple: we feel unsafe in school because of the number of school shootings that take place in America. The only way we can have our safety assured is if we pressure Congress into making radical, sweeping decisions regarding gun control. And anyone who dares question our intentions is purely evil and doesn’t care about us or the kids who were brutally murdered in Florida. For proof of this, watch this Parkland survivor say that looking Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the eye is akin to staring down the barrel of the shooter’s gun.
This is utter stupidity and a useless bullying tactic that does nothing but polarize both sides of the gun debate. I refuse to associate myself with this degree of intellectual thuggery – even if one were to cast aside my support of the Second Amendment.
The second aspect of the protests that I disagree with is (most obviously) the cause in and of itself. I do not believe that stricter gun laws are the answer to public mass shootings – this is an argument completely ignorant of most statistics that are out there. As the number of gun laws in the United States has increased, so has the number of public mass shootings. And out of these, upward of 95% have taken place in gun-free zones. Meanwhile, violent crime in general has gone down in the US, directly coinciding with an increase in gun ownership. If anything, those concerned about public safety should be supportive of more civilian access to firearms, not less.
The final gripe I have is that of the moral authority we have given teenagers in general in the wake of the Florida shooting. Shortly after the attack took place and people like David Hogg were being paraded around mainstream news networks, I knew that the left’s focus would be on giving minors the right to dictate how we treat public policy decisions – and this is only being done because people like Hogg are saying what they want to hear. The same CNN town hall that brought us Rubio-is-just-like-the-shooter boy also brought us the revelation that the network was likely granting airtime only to opinions that they wanted to hear, and was scripting questions for students who dared express support for the right to bear arms. In a sense, the left is using young people as political props and disguising it as giving them a voice.
Of course, this isn’t to say that people my age aren’t entitled to put their opinions out there – if I believed that, I’d be out of a job. It only becomes problematic when we use their collective, rehearsed sentiments as a moral compass to decide which parts of the Constitution we abide by and which parts we ignore completely.