We mourn. Offer thoughts and prayers. Speculate about the motives. And then – even as no developed country endures a homicide rate like ours, a difference explained largely by pervasive accessibility to guns; even as the majority of gun owners support commonsense reforms – the political debate spirals into acrimony and paralysis.
This time, something different is happening. This time, our children are calling us to account[.] ... [T]he Parkland, Fla., students don't have the kind of lobbyists or big budgets for attack ads that their opponents do. Most of them can't even vote yet.
Seared by memories of seeing their friends murdered at a place they believed to be safe, these young leaders don't intimidate easily. They see the NRA and its allies – whether mealy-mouthed politicians or mendacious commentators peddling conspiracy theories – as mere shills for those who make money selling weapons of war to whoever can pay. They're as comfortable speaking truth to power as they are dismissive of platitudes and punditry. And they live to mobilize their peers.
The NRA's favored candidates are starting to fear they might lose. Law-abiding gun owners are starting to speak out. As these young leaders make common cause with African Americans and Latinos – the disproportionate victims of gun violence – and reach voting age, the possibilities of meaningful change will steadily grow.
Our history is defined by the youthful push to make America more just, more compassionate, more equal under the law. This generation – of Parkland, of Dreamers, of Black Lives Matter – embraces that duty. If they make their elders uncomfortable, that's how it should be.