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Voices of a new generation (Opinion)

Start listening to young people about gun policies

March 5, 2018

The students speaking out in light of the Parkland shooting have brought more than gun control to our attention — they have shown us that some adults are in need of a desperate education on what it means to be a young person growing up in 2018.

Growing up in 2018 means that we never have a peaceful, worry free day at school. It means lockdown drills. It means hearing about a new shooting almost every week. It means being taught that all voices may matter but not yours, not until you’re older and “more educated.”

When our lawmakers hear something from a kid that they don’t like, they generalize us as a generation made up of self absorbed screen addicts. In reality, many of us are bringing up valid, educated points as to why we need change. Change is desperately needed — the CDC says gun violence is the leading cause of death in the US and the government isn’t doing anything to fix it. In fact, because of federal funding restrictions, the CDC is not allowed to even research the issue of mass shootings. Up until now, we kept hoping that the lawmakers who were supposed to be working for the good of this country would step up and do something about these unnecessary deaths, but the Parkland shooting symbolizes the end of that waiting and the beginning of action.

The simple fact is that many of the government officials that oppose gun reform or have proposed flimsy solutions like arming teachers have not stepped foot in a school for 20 years or more. They are either stuck in their ways or busy counting their “donations” from the NRA. It has become increasingly clear that politicians against gun reform are motivated mainly by their own self interest and not the interests of their constituents. This is why the voices of the younger generation are so important. If we call them out, vote them out of office, and organize protests,  the government has no other choice than to change.

Young people are more powerful than people realize; we’re a force to be reckoned with. If we continue to arm ourselves with our First Amendment rights, people will have no choice other than to finally listen to what we want. So, participate in walkouts and protests, make your dissatisfaction known. Join the movement and scream through both actions and words that our lives are worth more than any NRA payout.

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