We Have Failed Our Children. Now Let's March Behind Them

By Dave Holmes, Esquire Now we're getting somewhere. This Saturday, roughly half a million people are expected to descend upon Washington, D.C., for the March For Our Lives, a student-led demonstration to curb gun violence in America. There are over 800 satellite marches being planned in cities and towns across the country. As the gun control and school safety issues reach a critical mass, the teenagers who forced the conversation will make their voices heard. And their voices are furious, clear, and absolutely correct. We have marched before, but this one feels different. This one feels like we've reached a tipping point. The National Rifle Association is on the ropes. Just one year ago, 45 percent of Americans viewed the NRA positively, with 33 percent viewing them negatively. According to a poll taken earlier this month, now it's 40 percent negative to 37 positive. Maybe it's because they've chosen as their public face one Dana Loesch. Maybe it's the apocalyptic overreach of NRA TV, in which the world is a bullet-riddled hellscape that can only be survived by stockpiling military-grade weapons. Or maybe it's just that the truth can't be ignored this time: we are the only country on Earth where mass shootings happen with anywhere near this frequency, and that fact is directly attributable to the NRA's influence on our government. They are shoveling money toward our politicians, while our kids and their teachers go through active-shooter drills and wonder whether they'll be next. God help us. It is not like we're incapable of action. Just this week, Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie announced new security measures, which include identification badges which students will be required to wear at all times, and—I swear to God—government-issued clear backpacks, which will be the only backpacks students will be allowed to use. In a letter to students and their families, Runcie said, “We want to assure you that the safety and security of our students and employees remain our highest priorities.” Think about that: prioritizing kids' safety and security means requiring clear backpacks, which incidentally are too small to house an AR-15, before lifting a finger to limit access to assault weapons. That's where we are right now. The image is almost too perfect: We are literally forcing our baggage on these kids. In an op-ed for NBC News this week, Bill Murray compared the Parkland teenagers to the college students who led protests against the Vietnam War: "It was the students who made all the news,” Murray wrote, “and that noise started, and then the movement wouldn't stop.” And he's right: sometimes it takes the petulance and moral clarity of a teenager to make an adult see the truth. That we are still, in 2018, openly debating whether there should be more or fewer guns in schools, while we force privacy-obliterating luggage on them, stands as proof that the adults in the room have dropped the ball. We can move this thing, but we all have to start pushing. Show up this weekend. To find out where your local march is taking place, put your zip code in here. We've failed our kids for long enough. Now we have to get in line behind them.

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