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  • Writer's picturePenny Sterling

Generation Target Practice

This April will mark the 18th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre. This means we've raised an entire generation that has had training on how to survive being shot at for no god-damned reason other than some angry (primarily) white dude with a gun has decided to not give a fuck anymore. And they're watching and listening as they see other angry (primarily) white dudes with guns go on TV and Facebook and Twitter and Youtube tell them that keeping guns away from angry (primarily) white dudes won't solve their problem.

In fact, they're telling these kids is what they need is MORE angry (primarily) white dudes with MORE guns around them.

Need I remind you that there were two police units on the premises when the most recent shooting occurred.

And kids are still being killed for no god-damned reason.

And a lot of these kids are saying bullshit.

it's been going on for 18 years now. 18 is an important age in this country. It's the national voting age.

History note: there was no national voting age in this country until the 14th Amendment was enacted after the Civil War, which set the minimum age to 21, but gave states the ability to set the voting age lower, but not all did.

This was changed in 1971, when the 26th Amendment, which stated "The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age" was ratified.

The driving force behind this amendment was the large number of 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds who were being sent to fight and die in Viet Nam. The rallying cry for this amendment was "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote."

At least those kids had some sort of idea of who the enemy was and where they were.

That's not what's happening today. The killing fields are classrooms, concerts, and movie theaters.

These kids are tired of being part of Generation Target Practice.

I'm tired of it for them.

When discussing positive social change, the best practice is to find the people with the least power, the least amount of options available to them, and listen to them.

And believe them.

The kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are speaking. I'm sure the survivors of Columbine, Red Lake, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Oikos University, Sandy Hook, Santa Monica College, UC Santa Barbara, Marysville Pilchuck High School, Umpqua Community College, and every other place where kids are drilled on the best way to not die and decide who will be the closest to the door while hiding behind desks and in closets (which is everyplace, btw) will likely start speaking too. If not with their voices, then with their votes.

Image Courtesy CNN

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