What the Parkland shooting survivors are doing is both different and heroic. Just days after the most traumatic event in their young lives, they’re speaking truth to power. They’re in Tallahassee pressing Florida lawmakers for tighter gun laws, and they’re coming to Washington, D.C to lobby and to march. They are the adults in the room. The politicians are the children.
This role reversal in the wake of tragedy feels biblical, echoing the Old Testament verse “A little child shall lead them.” For generations accustomed to watching social and cultural movements play out over decades with civil rights and women’s rights, do we dare believe that these young students are on to something? It certainly feels that way. And we don’t have to look so far back for evidence that it’s possible: Today’s debate has notable parallels to the recent and rapid shift toward the acceptance of gay marriage.
The personal is the political. This has long been a rallying cry for women. And it applies to the transformation of attitudes toward same-sex marriage as more people came to know gay people as their neighbors and friends, and their sons and daughters. The same kind of awakening is occurring around gun violence. There are some 150,000 students—members of the post-Columbine generation—who have directly survived a mass shooting and want the rest of us to know what it’s like. Read more via Daily Beast