It’s High Time the Rest of Us – In the Adult World – Help or Get Out of the Way
“Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.”
– from the Bob Dylan song, ‘The Times They Are A Changin’’.
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted February 19th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Consider those lyrics from a 1960s Dylan anthem that helped inspire a generation of you people back then to action, to the following quote from Cameron Kasky, 1 17-year-old student from the Parkland, Florida high school where 17 of his classmates were slaughtered in the latest mass shooting in America this past February 14th.
“My generation won’t stand for this,” Kasky told a cable news network in the wake of this blood bath committed by an estranged 19 year old with the help of some of the weakest gun laws in the developed world – making it possible for a person that young to easily purchase a military style AR-15 assault rifle in a state where he could not yet buy a bottle of alcohol or case of beer.
‘‘We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,’’ Cameron Kasky said.
Young people from Kasky’s ill-fated school, with the support of growing numbers of others across the country, have planned what they are calling a ‘March for Our Lives’ to take place in Washington, D.C. and in communities across the United States, with the possible support of rallies taking place in communities across Canada too, this coming March 24th on a Saturday that will hopefully mark the beginning of the end of the National Rifle Association’s power as a lobby for the weapons industry in America.
Hopefully March 24th, 2018 will also mark the launch of a continent-wide youth movement in the United States and Canada that reaches beyond just the gun issue and takes the “march for our live” theme into other areas, from fully funded, universal health care and land, water and wildlife preservation to addressing poverty, climate change and ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
On so many issues that potentially have life and death consequences, 17-year-old Cameron Kasky’s observation applies – ‘‘We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around.’’
I am one of those adults, old enough to remember the 1960s when a number of us engaged in our own youth movement until too many in our generation sold traded off our ideals for the false promise of the bright and shiny objects in the commercial ads.
And look at the mess these young people have been left with compared to the opportunities older generations had in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Then they have to listen to this big bulge of aging baby boomers demanding more tax cuts and entitlements for themselves at the same time, while they are coming out of college and university with monster student debts and having a hell of a time finding good-paying, full-time jobs.
So it is great to see so many of these young people wanting to get engaged and take matters into their own hands for the sake of their lives and a better future. It is just too bad it takes something as horrible as another gun massacre to light the fire.
I hope that as many people – 30 years old and down into their teens – across this continent and beyond keep it up.
Older generations had their chance to build a better world, and we can see how that turned out.
Now it is their turn, and we should all do whatever we can to support them and wish them the best.
Before I end this post, let me leave you with some of the responses student survivors from the Florida school delivered on Twitter to a Tweet the U.S. president, Donald Trump, fired out this past September 17th, three days after the mass shooting.
First, here is Trump’s tweet –
“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. … They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion.”
Now, here are a few of the responses, starting with two from a teen age student from the school, Liz Stout – “Oh my god. 17 OF MY CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE THIS ABOUT RUSSIA???!!,” Morgan Williams, a 16-year-old junior, tweeted in response to Trump’s message. “HAVE A DAMN HEART.” .. and – “STOP BLAMING EVERYBODY ELSE BUT YOURSELF. STOP TWEETING. GET OFF YOUR PHONE. ANSWER THE PUBLICS’ QUESTIONS REGARDING GUN CONTROL INSTEAD OF WALKING OUT OF THE ROOM LIKE THE COWARD YOU ARE”
Now from another student from the school, Sarah Lerner –
“There IS collusion, you clown. Get your head out of your ass & do something about what happened AT MY SCHOOL. This is the REAL NEWS. You came to Florida & didn’t talk to me, my students or my coworkers. You had a photo op & played golf. YOU are a disgrace to MY country.”
Then finally, from student Aly Sheehy – “17 of my classmates are gone. That’s 17 futures, 17 children, and 17 friends stolen. But you’re right, it always has to be about you. How silly of me to forget. #neveragain.”
Finally, I leave you with a video clip featuring some directly related commentary from John Oliver, host of the HBO cable TV program, Last Week Tonight, on the Parkland, Florida school shooting. Just click on the screen to watch and listen –
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders