What others say: Young people take the lead on gun debate

Wednesday, students in schools around Lane County joined others across the country in a peaceful protest to demand action to end gun violence.

The protest began at 10 a.m. It lasted 17 minutes — one minute for each of the 17 students and adults killed one month ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Lakeland, Florida — the latest in a too-long list of school shootings.

The students have a right to be heard.

Adults have failed them and will continue to fail them each and every day that passes without effective gun safety measures.

Students are tired of live shooter drills. Tired of looking around their classrooms to see what they could use as a weapon to try to defend themselves against a shooter. Tired of plotting potential escape routes from a classroom. Tired of seeing pictures of students like themselves, bloodied and terrified, fleeing from a school shooter. Tired of reading about the latest school shooting and wondering if it could happen, if it will happen, at their school. Tired of seeing the fear in their parents’ eyes, and feeling the hollow in the pit of their stomachs each time there is another school shooting.

There is no comfort to be found in thinking “It can’t happen here.” They know it can.

Twenty years ago, Thurston High School was the site of a school shooting; two students were killed, 25 wounded. A great many people still living in the community were there, or have friends or family members or co-workers who were there.

Two-and-a-half years ago, a shooting at Umpqua Community College left 10 dead and eight injured. A great many people here grew up in Roseburg, went to UCC or know someone who did, including those who knew one or more of the victims.

After each school shooting, people in communities all across the country grieve and shake their heads and think: This will be the one that prompts our leaders to do something. They will do something not just to end the mass school shootings that make headlines across the country, but the deaths, both accidental and deliberate, that generate only a few lines of type in the local newspaper.

But it has never happened, not even when the deaths included 20 tiny 6- and 7-year-olds at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Young people have grown tired of waiting for adults to do something. They are tired of “thoughts and prayers.” They are tired of adults — including their president and their elected representatives — who promise to do something and then never do.

So they are leading the way, led themselves by the students of Lakeland, Florida, who refuse to accept the platitudes that are poured out like oil after every school shooting.

They are holding their president and their elected representatives responsible.

They are pointing out the easy availability of weapons and accessories whose defining characteristic is the ability to kill many people quickly, the gaping loopholes in gun laws that are supposed to protect the public, and the outsized influence of the National Rifle Association on elected officials.

They “call b.s.,” in the words of Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez, on the argument that the Second Amendment precludes any and all laws designed to stop senseless massacres.

They are using the rights guaranteed to them under another amendment, the first, to make their case. They are leading the way, and they are not going to go away.

Adults, including elected officials, can either follow or get out of the way.

—The Register-Guard, March 14, 2018

More in Opinion

The official ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Division of Elections)
Voices of the Peninsula: Check out the ballot before you vote

This kind of ballot is not something you have seen before.

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy)
Opinion: UAA’s career certificates are helping to fill Alaska’s workforce pipeline

At UAA, we are announcing a new suite of certificate programs responding to some of the state’s most critical needs

Opinion: Remaining vigilant after 30 years

Exxon Valdez spurred both federal and state legislatures, the industry, and the public to come together