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Students make a reasonable plea for their lives

The nation’s schoolchildren are pleading with us to take care of them.

Students from Benjamin N. Cardozo High School participate

Students from Benjamin N. Cardozo High School participate in the national walkout for gun control outside of their school in Bayside, Queens, on March 14, 2018. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

The nation’s schoolchildren are pleading with us to take care of them. They are asking not be massacred.

Thousands of students across NYC and across the country walked out of classes and schools Wednesday morning in a coordinated and grass-roots protest of gun violence.

At Brooklyn Technical High School, students in front of the school read the names of the 17 people shot to death at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, along with details about each victim. The walkout will count as a cut class for these students. Raising a voice in protest is a political right, but often it involves negative consequences, especially if rules are broken or authorities disagree with those views.

That, too, is a lesson well learned. Doing what seems right is not without costs.

For years, as killings have rocked campuses and communities such as Columbine and Newtown, adults have done very little. Yet there are legal changes that might have helped.

Were it harder for mentally unbalanced people to buy weapons, Nikolas Cruz, 19, might have been stopped in Parkland. Were it illegal for 19-year-olds to buy weapons, Cruz might have been stopped. Were it illegal to buy such powerful weapons, Cruz’s spree might have been less deadly. But after every incident, sensible gun regulations have been beaten back by the National Rifle Association and the politicians who do its bidding. They wait it out.

This time it feels different. The generation that soon will raise its own children wants change. If the emboldened students and their supporters keep up the fight, the NRA cannot wait them out. Soon enough, if our children cannot persuade us to give them a safer, better nation, they will make one for themselves.

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