Editorial: In students, including Park City’s, gun reform movement has finally found its voice
Time and again, it followed the same script: A mass shooting, an outpouring of thoughts and prayers, no meaningful action from lawmakers to curb gun violence. The outrage from the left spurred indignation on the right. Until the next next news cycle diverted our attention elsewhere.
Rinse and repeat, with no progress toward preventing the senseless slaughters or furthering the conversation about gun violence.
Until this time.
Led by the courageous teens in Parkland, Florida, who have taken the national spotlight after a gunman killed 17 of their classmates and faculty members last month, students across the country have united to deliver a forceful message: Their generation will not abide the status quo.
Park City students are among those raising their voices. On Wednesday, hundreds streamed from the halls of Park City High School, Treasure Mountain Junior High School and Ecker Hill Middle School to participate in walkouts in conjunction with student protests around the U.S. demanding action on guns.
Some carried signs that read, “I could be next.” Others delivered speeches aimed at Utah’s congressional delegation, with one student demanding to know why a person’s right to own a weapon is more important than her right not to be murdered. Another declared that now is the time for change. All were clear about the power they and their peers will wield when they are old enough to enter the voting booth, some in time for this fall’s midterm elections.
After years of stagnation, the movement for stricter gun laws finally has found leadership capable of moving the needle: young people tired of the neverending threat of carnage at their schools and who reject the notion that massacres like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are the price we pay for freedom.
Their actions have been inspiring, providing hope where at times there has been none. Parkites should be immensely proud that our students have taken on the rallying cry, not only participating in Wednesday’s walkouts but organizing a march on Main Street scheduled for March 24.
They seem committed to helping their generation change the world. And the job of adults is to let them — because, after years of mass shootings with no end in sight, perhaps they’re the only ones who can. We must foster their idealism and their belief in the power of a collective voice.
Adults who can’t do that, or refuse to, are better off moving aside. Because if the activism on display Wednesday and in the weeks since the Parkland shooting has made anything clear, it’s this: When it comes to gun reform, young people in this country, and in this city, aren’t going to let anything stand in their way.
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While one cyclist will earn the title of Tour of Utah champion on Sunday, Parkites doing the responsible thing and ditching their cars in favor of other ways to get to Main Street will make us all winners.