A pawn or a player


As the Astroturf Planeteers’ fifteen minute clock runs well into overtime and more sensible voices like Kyle Kashuv push them from the spotlight, we’re moving into the final phase of the usual gun control narrative song and dance–the audience participation segment.  I understand there’s a march of some kind scheduled for March 24 while there are walkouts planned by for students to take place at various times between now and then.  Around here, it’s supposed to take place this coming Wednesday, the 14th.  Way to ruin Pi Day, gun grabbers.

I have noted previously that I have two stepchildren.  A couple weeks ago this subject came up at the dinner table, and I told them that if they want to go out with all their friends and stand around the flagpole, I would not stop them or even tell them they should not, but that we should talk about what went on and what they think about the Parkland shooting and guns in general.  I told them they ought to know what the walkout stands for before they participate in it.  I won’t say what they decided to do, but I will say we had a very long and very calm discussion about a lot of things.  I’m proud of both of them and I completely support what they decided to do.  I’ll also admit that I intend to reward them because I approve of what their decisions were, but hey, it’s Pi(e) Day, so pie was in the offing anyway.

I’m bringing this up because if you’re reading this, if you have kids or know people who do, talk to them.  Talk to them before they get swept up and used as pawns for something they don’t understand, before they get given the choice between “you can sit in here and do fifty algebra problems or you can go out on this nice warm spring day and protest school shootings” or find themselves just drifting along with the rest of their peers.  I did not push or bribe my stepkids but in all candor I fully believe in and support the right of a parent to do either.  If they want to go out and stand up for fascism and gun restrictions, they at least ought to know that’s what they’re being trotted out to do.  They ought to give it more consideration than just “everyone else was walking out and I don’t like algebra class,” even if they arrive at the wrong conclusion.

Frankly, the kids who will actually remember what this event is and what they did, are the ones who give it some thought rather than just going along.  Never underestimate the power of one person going his own way.  The kids who trudge out to the flagpole to listen to an aging hippie yell into a bullhorn about how they need to feel bad about guns will go home and tune out what happens on Wednesday, or whenever it happens in your area, but the one who stays at her desk and refuses to be a pawn, she’ll remember the day she stood up for herself and what she believed in for the rest of her life.  The opportunity to decide whether you’re a pawn or a player is incredibly rare.  Don’t let any kid you care about miss it.

one man with courage


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