AP Photo/Morgan Lee
In the gun debate, we now have a major influx of student-activists. People like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez have spurred on a slew of new anti-gun activists from the ranks of people who are also trying to study for their geometry tests (in theory). Like many people their age, they struggle not just to find their own identity but to be taken seriously.
And there’s no way to be taken more seriously than by throwing a temper tantrum and calling it a protest.
High school students say they will stage a “die-in” at the New Mexico capitol to call attention to school shootings as state lawmakers debate a handful of gun-control measures.
The students from schools in Santa Fe say their T-shirts Friday will bear the names of children who have been shot and killed.
I’m sorry, but “die-in” protests are idiotic. As I said, they’re temper tantrums parading around in protest-drag. That’s not because they’re kids, either. It’s true of adults doing these kinds of stunts, too.
Protests like these aren’t about debate. They’re not advancing an idea. They want to make a pain of themselves and call attention to themselves, not their cause.
Yes, people die from gun violence. Yes, it’s all very sad. That’s not glibness, either. It’s very sad to lose someone to gun violence. I know, I have.
But vastly more people are still alive because of guns, so that argument is invalid.
Regardless, at least that’s a debate. It’s an exchange of positions that allows both sides to be heard by one another.
Instead of doing that, these students are going to put on some special clothing and just lay there.
Actual protests do a couple of things. One is they let people know that there are a number of people who hold a given position. They let lawmakers know that there’s support for that position. They also let other people who share that position know they’re not alone.
Right now, none of those are needed in New Mexico. Believe me.
The thing is, I don’t think it’s about that. After all, a die-in type protest is nothing more than flopping down so people have to pay attention to you. There’s no exchange of ideas. It’s silent preaching, it’s a lecture sans words. More than that, it’s an attempt to try and sway people through emotion and shame, rather than reason.
That’s understandable, now that I think about it. The students have to use emotion and shame because facts aren’t on their side. They never have been, so students who are far more likely to be driven by emotion than an adult is–I sure as hell was at that age–decide to flop on the ground and say “look at me!”
Consider me unswayed.
And it’s not really about saving lives. If this student protest were about saving lives, the students would be willing to discuss other options to stem gun violence. The fact that they’re not willing to even talk about it tells you all you need to know.