life or death March for Our Lives

(Hartford, Connecticut) - It is difficult to watch a child stand silently, with adult determination, holding a sign declaring he has no future.

Across the United States on Saturday March 24th, thousands of children stood with signs, their classmates, their teachers, and their parents demanding government action on gun violence. Most are not old enough to vote. They came together in reaction to the school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida which took 17 lives. In Connecticut, there is a special connection to the issue because of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012.

Before the rally children listened carefully to instructions. They want their effort to matter.

Mass public shootings have been a part of their life, but the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School called them to civic duty and caused them to say as one, we know this is not how it is supposed to be. Dying of a gunshot wound should not be part of the risk of going to school.

Students see the gun issue as a question of life or death. Not a philosophical debate.

In moments of crisis, leaders are pre-positioned by fate.

The adults who can vote are responding in a way that suggests gun violence is only a symbol of the political moment. The March for Our Lives crowds were dotted with messages aimed at President Trump and those running for re-election to the House and Senate.

Guns are the path to other issues.

It is impossible to know whether the nation’s leaders see the public reaction to Marjory Stoneman as a true movement, or a social media spasm. The Florida legislature and governor did react when pushed, but there has been no sign of a move toward tougher gun laws in Washington, D.C.

The movement, if that's what it is, has a deep bench.

It is a matter of time before this generation of leaders gets its way assuming they do not give up. A survivor told a reporter last month he is undeterred by the sense he is being ignored by Congress, because he intends to “outlive” those who hold power.

Speaking in Washington Saturday, another survivor of the Parkland shooting explained the political reality every elected official must consider. “If they continue to ignore us, to only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts,” she said. “We will take action every day in every way until they simply cannot ignore us any more.”

In the arena.

Words and photos by Dean Pagani.

Copyright 2018 - Hartford, CT

Created By
Dean Pagani


Dean Pagani, Dean C. Pagani

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