Ever since the horrific events of Parkland, we’ve seen countless stories about the youth’s involvement in gun control. Young people want to restrict guns and they’re tripping over themselves to tell anyone who will listen that they want to restrict them.
To be fair, young people have the right to voice their opinions all they want. That’s kind of how rights work, after all. You don’t have to use it in the manner I approve of for you to actually have that right.
But it doesn’t help that the media acts like their opinions on the matter represent some great wisdom. It was really bad after Parkland, but it’s still happening, such as this editorial.
What a failure it is that we have to keep writing these articles. That we keep having to decry the same lack of action. That nothing has changed. That more and more people keep dying because of the American obsession with guns.
At least now it seems obvious to say that change is coming — not from our legislatures or our leaders, but from our youth who are rightfully tired and angry from living in fear and who overwhelmingly support gun reform.
We hear about gun violence — mass shootings and murders and suicides — so frequently that it has become normal. Nearly accepted. And humans, for all our flaws, are good at adapting. So we have, in a heartbreaking way, adapted to this unnecessary toll. We have learned to live our lives in the face of constant tragedy. We are resilient. But our resilience has allowed the destruction wrought by guns to become the status quo.
Thankfully, our youth have the vision and imagination to see through this and recognize the folly. They know that it should not be normal to be afraid at school. And they are getting angry that they must constantly live in fear.
Earlier this month, students around Boulder County participated in a national walkout to demand gun reform. The walkouts weren’t huge, just 200 schools nationwide, but they sparked headlines and showed that the younger generation is finding its voice politically.
“We shouldn’t be afraid to go to school and get killed,” Boulder High School sophomore Eliana Monahan told the Camera. “We had a scare a few months ago where we thought there was going to be a school shooting … and that shouldn’t be a fear that we have, that our friends and teachers are gonna get shot.”
Again, these kids have every right to voice their opinions.
Yet I find it amusing that the same people who think these young people are far too young to exercise their Second Amendment rights due to the fact that their brains aren’t fully developed, thus leaving them prone to irrationality, somehow think we should take the opinions of these irrational people seriously.
In the editorial, the writers cite a statistic that claims that in 2022, 349,000 students were in a school where a shooting took place. Not a mass shooting, they’re quick to point out, but a shooting nonetheless. That, of course, is a terrifying number.
At least, it is until you realize that there are 49.5 million students in the United States, and that’s just in public schools from pre-K through 12th grade. It doesn’t touch on the additional 19.5 million students who attended college.
When you look at the numbers, you start to see the stark reality that the odds are actually in these kids’ favor.
The problem, however, is that these kids don’t realize it. They don’t understand that the odds of them being killed in a shooting are still ridiculously low. Why don’t they? Because people like the editorial writers won’t tell them.
See, easing fears doesn’t sell newspapers. It doesn’t draw eyes onto television or computer screens.
So why should we listen to kids with incomplete information who are also supposed to be inherently irrational on the subject of guns?
The issue isn’t that they’re young or that they disagree with me, it’s that they’re not actually saying anything that has any bearing on reality.
“We’re scared we’ll be killed!”
You should be more scared of dying in a car accident, which is a lot more likely unless you’re involved in criminal activity, but that doesn’t stop any 16-year-old I know from tripping over themselves to get their license.
That’s because they don’t find the media telling them the dangers of teenagers driving cars.
Since they cannot or do not do any risk analysis of their own, their fears are largely manufactured by an anti-gun media, which then reports those fears as if they had no part in creating them and as if they’re wholly justified.
So no, we shouldn’t listen to kids on guns, not because they’re incapable of speaking on the subject, but because so many of them have been manipulated.