Remember summer vacation when you were a kid? Growing up in the suburbs of Oklahoma City, I’d ride bikes with my friends, maybe hang out at the community pool, or play Nintendo until late into the night. If you were really lucky you might find a parent who’d drop you and your buddies off at the mall or the movies.
I don’t remember having to go on any activist-driven gun control marches though.
Hundreds of children marched on the State Capitol in St. Paul Wednesday demanding an end to gun violence.
Pro-gun control legislators say these young voices are being heard, and that next year could be the year for new gun control laws. The kids and adults who marched say they are angry that more is not being done to prevent gun violence, and prevent young people from becoming victims.
The children are enrolled in summer “Freedom Schools” sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund. Along with academics, they learn the impact of social activism.
Do the kids get a choice in what they want to be active about, or is that directed by the Children’s Defense Fund and the adults running the program? What exactly are they teaching these kids anyway?
“It’s super important to teach them to advocate for themselves,” said Emmanuel Donaby, director of the Stem Freedom Schools. “We have a horrible gun epidemic, killing and deaths that are happening.”
This march took place in Minnesota, where the crime rate is at a 50-year low. The state’s homicide rate in 2016 was 1.8 per 100,000, well below the national average. The overdose death rate in Minnesota, on the other hand, is about 4x higher. In fact, in 2016 there were more heroin overdose deaths than homicides in the state. Not only is Minnesota not in the midst of a “gun epidemic”, it’s safer to be a kid in Minnesota now than it was when Emmanuel Donaby was growing up. It’s shameful that this “Freedom School” is miseducating their students when it comes to their safety.
These marches weren’t just happening in Minnesota. In Waco, Texas, the CDF-run “Freedom School” took kids to the county courthouse to advocate for gun control laws, which is kind of weird since the program bills itself as a “summer literacy enrichment program” and not “activist summer camp.”
The sad fact is that anti-gun adults are using these kids to advance their own agenda. The founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, believes that the United States should ban and confiscate semi-automatic firearms and even handguns. What a bitter irony that this is the ideology found in something called a “Freedom School”.
A real “Freedom School” for kids would involve things like learning about the War of Independence, the civil rights movement, the failures of Prohibition, the internment of American citizens during WWII, the Heller decision, and other highs and lows of American history in terms of individual freedom. It would teach the value of protecting and promoting freedom, not teaching kids how to advocate for giving up their constitutionally protected rights.