Friday, February 15, 2019

What a difference a year makes


     This week marks the first anniversary of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.   Last year at the "March for Our Lives" I had a chance to talk with some of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School before they started to march to the stage.  I often take a small note pad with me to write down information that I might use in this blog. I have recently gone totally digital and now do it on my phone.  I had just taken the note pad out of my pocket when a student walked up to me and started taking.  I am sure she thought I was with the media of some sort but she never asked.   I asked her how many students from her school were at the March and she estimated 150.  In just a short time 3 or 4 other students had moved into the discussion so I decided to probe a little more on how the shooting had impacted their lives.  I can't imagine having an experience as a teenager where you feared for your life.   One student talked about how many of her fellow students still had nightmares and the absentee rate at their school showed that many students were still having trouble dealing with the trauma.  It is remarkable to remember how quickly this March came together only a little over a month after the shooting.  At this point the students started to march toward the stage and I can still hear their chant of "we are students of MSD."
       I have mentioned to many people back here in Howard County how much these students reminded me of the young people of that age in Howard County.  I did a little research on Parkland Florida and then I saw why I had that feeling.  Parkland is demographically very similar to Howard County in many ways.  It is an educated, high-income community.  It doesn't have the racial diversity of Howard County which I could clearly see from the students at the March.
      I clearly heard that day how these students were turned into activists that day.  I only felt sorry that it took a traumatic event to bring this about.  I have heard many commentators express the feeling that the actions of these students will not impact the gun debate in our Country.  To that, I would mention that the social media savvy of these students shouldn't be underestimated.  The NRA has a different kind of opponent in these students.


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