Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Protests spark opposition

I’ve been hearing about a nationwide push to get students to skip school in protest of unsafe campuses. I wondered who started this, because if it was really “grass-roots”, it would have “sprung up” naturally, in response to a genuine local need. Instead, I heard that The Michael Bloomberg Foundation has put quite a chunk of change into this little act of civil disobedience, in order to push for stricter gun laws.
To him and all the other grown-ups compelling American children to go out and do their dirty work, I say “shame on you!” You’ve taken an emotionally charged incident and capitalized on it for political gain. That shouldn’t be how laws are made or even considered, and it certainly should not be the way to amend our constitution.
To all you students out there, I ask what will a protest do for you? I contend that protests and marches get you nothing but opposition. Sure, you might meet some like-minded individuals. You might have a couple rounds of “Heck Yeahs!” But you’re really just preaching to the choir. You’re accomplishing nothing.
Might I suggest starting where you are, at school? Student councils are just the place for this issue. Yes, those dusty bastions of student rights and protocol, the student council is the ideal way to help you enact change in policies. Seek out information, encourage feedback and ideas from students, leaders, parents, etc. Use your mouth, minds and manners to communicate and debate. Don’t use this tragedy (or any other) to justify uncivil behavior, or to demand special considerations.
To have a sincere conversation about your fears and wishes requires you to also respect the fears and wishes of those who you think you oppose. In doing so, you might be surprised to learn that most of us want the same basic things: peace and security to live our lives. A simple concept, but we each have our own ideas on how to achieve it.
One thing I do know is that creating more gun laws will do nothing. We already have too many laws on the books.
Criminal behavior isn’t curbed by stricter laws, especially in this area. Making it harder for law-abiding citizens (including 18-year-old adults) to purchase or own firearms is actually just another step toward total gun confiscation.
Please don’t be a pawn. Do your research. Study history. Think rationally, not emotionally. We’re counting on you to run this country someday!
And please, a student walkout is just a get-out-of-school-free card! You can’t pull the wool over the eyes of this former student and master skipper.

-Audrey Steinfeldt
Reed Point