Most of the protesters drove by in cars.
But this guy stood on our side of the street. Since we were walking on the sidewalk, he was standing in the bushes, inches from the marchers.
“WE NEED OUR GUNS” he yelled. “WE AREN’T SAFE HERE.”
Then, strangely “IF YOU DON’T LIKE GUNS, GO TO MEXICO.”
A grandmother in front of us stopped. She spoke softly: “We don’t mind guns. I have guns.”
“THEN WHY ARE YOU MARCHING?” he yelled in her face.
“Because I don’t think teachers should carry guns.”
“YEAH, YEAH” he yelled, “TEACHERS NEEDS GUNS. GUNS TO KEEP THE KIDS SAFE. MORE GUNS!”
Gabriel turned around and looked at me with a raised eyebrow and a laugh. “Mom, what the HECK is that guy talking about?”
Sweet bud. I’m glad you think it’s laughable. It was odd and laughable to me too. But I was proud of you, and your sister, who asked me why he was yelling. I told her that he disagreed and that he gets to disagree. She said “Yeah, but why is he yelling?”
I think that’s what makes this pack of kids so threatening to the “pray, pay and obey” crowd. They have demonstrated remarkable ability in a couple key ways: 1. They are inherently geared toward consensus 2. They tolerate disagreement and 3. They aren’t scared. They don’t give a rat’s behind for who’s against them. They care about who is with them.
This makes their momentum hard to control and predict. They threaten the status quo because they show what the status quo could be. Should be.
The grown-ups who make their money in destruction instead of building won’t be able to stop themselves from trying to make these kids get in line.
It’s already started, with the photoshopped picture of Emma Gonzalez tearing up the Constitution. They were willing to take a 17 year old trauma survivor and make her a villain.
And Rick Santorum? I can’t even. Marie Antoinette. He was Marie Antoinette, times about a hundred.
But it didn’t matter. The kids were not distracted.
The kids laughed. Then they got back to work.
This is why I think they are the answer and not just for the gun control problem. They are the answer to the nastiness, the kitchen sink fighting that has become the norm in our national discourse. They remember the lesson that we, their parents, taught them when they were little and scared of the dark:
The monster under the bed lives on fear and darkness.
Don’t feed the monster.