From the editorial pages of the Goldsboro News-Argus

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Not to be deterred: These teens aren't talking back, they are taking charge

Should we not discuss it?

Should we give in to the fear that any conversation about gun control will result in the U.S government resorting to Gestapo tactics ---- bursting through the doors of unsuspecting, law-abiding citizens and seizing their legally-owned firearms?

None of us are for that. Nor are any of us for a repeal of the Second Amendment ---- which despite Facebook and other social media-based propaganda, no credible person has proposed either.

What we are seeing and hearing, however, is a wave of tech-capable and very vocal young people who, after watching their friends and teachers get shot down before their very eyes, are fed up with inaction in Washington, D.C. to enact tougher background checks and pass more stringent laws regarding how people are able to purchase guns.

We know the subject is sensitive. We are gun owners and supporters of gun rights. We are also Americans. Parents. Neighbors.

We have as much to worry about from a potential mass shooting as anyone else in the country.

But these kids ---- who will soon be voters ---- want answers. They want action. And the verbatim regurgitation of "thoughts and prayers" and "good guys with guns" isn't going to satisfy them.

They have heard that before only to see months go by and another shooting ---- at a school, at a workplace, at an open-air concert, on a busy street ---- takes place and they hear it yet again.

And these sentiments aren't restricted to those kids in Parkland, Florida either. There were walkouts in schools across the country Tuesday ---- including in North Carolina ---- staged by students who are as fed up with school shootings as their peers in places where these incidents have occurred.

We are even beginning to hear about groups of students right here in Wayne County planning to attend the "March for Our Lives" in Washington, D.C. on March 24.

We had our own scare over the weekend with a supposed threat ---- which law enforcement says was investigated and unproven ---- of a potential mass shooting at a school right here in Wayne County.

The conversation isn't being prolonged any further, folks.

The conversation is being had and it is our own kids who are leading it. And why not? Wasn't it the youth-driven movements of the Freedom Riders, the college campus demonstrations that protested Jim Crow, or Vietnam, apartheid, the Berlin Wall that helped shape a lot of the public discourse that led to those issues becoming what they are now ---- history?

Again, no one is coming for our guns. Nor should they or could they. We are not advocating that. We aren't advocating anything.

We are sitting back and observing what looks to be a groundswell forming that will either bring about some sort of significant change or end with a generation even further disenfranchised than the last if nothing comes of it.

And whether you are of the Greatest Generation, a boomer an Xer or a Millennial will likely shape your view of what has and what will unfold. But one thing history teaches is that youth-led movements such as this one always result in some sort of shift, for better or for worse, in government, in society and in history. 

Published in Editorials on February 21, 2018 10:03 AM