The response to our youth in recent days is not one of our prouder moments

Published 9:00 am Monday, March 19, 2018

Our history as humans has been documented and passed along through the generations in a variety of forms, from hieroglyphics to storytelling to the written word.

My fear is one day far into the future, people will look back on this time period using memes posted on social media to learn what life was like in this century. They’re going to think we’re all idiots.

Sure, some are funny and I’ve been guilty of reposting them myself from time to time and in most cases, they’re harmless. However, the ones that pop up during elections, and more recently, over gun control, can only be described by a meme of someone doing a facepalm.

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What are we thinking? Or are we?

Opinions about gun control fall along a huge spectrum, from those who want no control at all to those who want to ban them all together. Most people understand that the far ends of this spectrum aren’t reasonable; however, finding where to meet in the middle on the subject of gun control is where we, as a country, are stumbling all over ourselves.

My views fall somewhere along that spectrum and I can debate my stance with anyone who wishes to talk about it. I can respect most views on the matter and understand the reasons for views that oppose mine.

What I cannot understand, however, is the anger aimed at our youth who are trying to have their voices heard.

Shortly after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the students who survived took their grief and fear and instead of sitting around getting stoned and drunk, they rallied and marched and took on Washington, D.C. And what did they get in return? Memes claiming that because some teenagers do dumb things like the Tide pod challenge, they should just “shut up and let the adults handle it.”

Yeah, because that’s gone so well.

These students were hurting. They just lost 17 classmates. How many people know the kind of fear they suffered being locked in a school, seeing people shot and killed just feet from them? And instead of supporting them, people decided to call them names. Nice job.

Then, when other teens wanted to show their support by planning a peaceful protest, more memes popped up insulting our youth. Most of the “protests” were memorial services and very few were just students walking out on a whole day of school. The services generally lasted 17 minutes, for each child killed.

I am sure there were some students who used the “walkouts” to simply miss class. However, the movement was met with such hostility and some of the most hypocritical statements I’ve seen yet on social media.

People I went to high school with, who I know spent many days skipping school for no other reason than smoking pot all day, trashed the students on Facebook and Twitter. It took all of my efforts not to remind them of those times on a public platform.

Last week, thousands of our youth were simply asking adults to help them and respect them and we turned our back on them because it didn’t fit in with some peoples’ agenda.

Hopefully, in 300 years from now, that is not what shows up in our history books.