Our country has gotten so accustomed to public demonstrations for or against some issue, that regrettably many of those events come and go with no long-standing impact. But in the case of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, their protest movement may wind up being a chapter in every school history book on how a dedicated group of youngsters changed America’s political landscape.
The only marches in recent memory that changed the way America was thinking were the 1960s civil rights demonstrations. Those battles caught the attention of people throughout the nation who realized that the U.S. Constitution’s protections didn’t apply to every citizen. Thanks to the courage of Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others, Congress eventually passed laws to extend justice to all Americans.
Fast forward to 2018 and I am convinced that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students have harnessed an energy and awareness about the need for rational gun control laws that no adult could have accomplished. Over the past 10 years, Americans became tired, yet frustrated, of the daily stories of gun deaths. One would have thought that the massacre of innocent children in Connecticut or the carnage in Las Vegas would have sparked successful national campaign for new gun laws.
Shortly after the Florida school shootings, the leaders of the NRA thought that they could either remain silent or portray the survivors of the event as a bunch of young kids who will eventually be forgotten. Some NRA supporters even tried to smear the students as the product of some left wing conspiracy. Happily, the slander campaign failed.
The stories of the school shooting survivors have kept the cause alive and it has been proven that it can punish naysayers economically. Fox television commentator Laura Ingraham decided to make fun of the failure of shooting survivor David Hogg to be accepted by some colleges, even though he had acceptances from other schools. Hogg fought back and caused multiple advertisers from her show to drop their sponsorships.
The results of the upcoming November elections may be impacted by the efforts of these brave young people. It is estimated that 3.8 million high school students will be able to cast their votes this year for the first time. Many high school students are currently conducting voter registration drives. In addition, a surprising number of Americans, who support the Second Amendment, are saying its time for better background checks and stopping gun sales to minors.
As an older citizen whose peers haven’t been able to change our archaic gun laws, I thank the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting for trying to make our world a lot safer.
Former State Assemblyman Jerry Kremer is a partner at Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.