A few thoughts on the past week
One of the hardest things to recognize when you're living through it is the moment history turns. It happened on 9/11. It happened in 1989. And it happened in the middle part of February of 2018.
The Parkland tragedy has engendered something not witnessed after every other atrocity: a movement to finally tackle the gun epidemic. And I consciously use the word "epidemic", as our thralldom to guns and gun culture is a public health issue. In a way that even Sandy Hook couldn't, the kids of Parkland and high schools around the country are mobilizing forces to counter a threat to their very lives. Parkland was the 18th school shooting of the year—18 shootings in six weeks. These kids finally realized that the adults who have the power to stop the bloodshed just don't care. So now they're taking it into their own hands to replace those decisionmakers with ones who will stanch the wound.
The Parkland Movement has erupted with such force and vigor that it strikes one with the weight of historical urgency. Yes, it reminds me of the organic mass protests in Eastern Europe in 1989, where put-upon peoples would no longer tolerate their oppression. Kids across the country are equally oppressed, not certain if they will make it home alive, worrying about violence which no other child in any other developed country has to worry about. In this we're almost like one of the "shithole" countries against which the Right inveighs. A teenager in Stockholm is worried about his marks on exams, not about whether he will survive the day.
In every tragedy there's the possibility of renewal. This country has suffered innumerable tragedies. This one—livestreamed, the gun shots audible on televisions across the nation—was the one which finally cracked the dam. It's early days, but the usual tools of repression aren't working. These kids are articulate and media savvy. The student body spans economic and ethnic strata. The student body is emblematic of America. And they're not afraid. Why should they fear the likes of Dinesh D'Souza and Jim Hoft when they literally stared down the barrel of a gun and survived? After that, nothing else is as frightening.
It's early days, and anything can happen. This movement won't change the hearts and minds of the 30% of Trump voters who see them as crisis actors. That's not their goal. It's to get the vast majority of this country which backs gun regulations motivated and out to vote, to hold the powerful accountable. If it can do that, it will go down as one of the great movements of human rights.
Like what you read? Chip in, keep us going.