It’s Walkout Day!
Today, all across the country, students will march out of their classrooms in order to . . . something. Presumably, they’re protesting violence with guns, which is somewhat like protesting violence with hands: both of those things are quite horrible, but unless you have some sort of solutions, you’re merely posturing.
Which is, of course, the point.
This walkout is all about posturing. It’s not about change any more than the Women’s March was about change. Attendees at the Women’s March had a bevy of clashing agendas, none of which materialized into a program for change; the only point of the Women’s March was to label those who didn’t support the march enemies of women. Now it’s the Children’s March, designed toward the same end.
Advocates for this new march say that there is an agenda: gun control. But that’s not the real heart of the march. Students feel compelled to walk out by peer pressure, lest they be labeled uncaring about their fellow students. I’ve received dozens of letters from students expressing exactly this concern, and wondering why only one side of the political agenda is being handed credibility by the media.
Here are some of them:
- From a high school junior today: “honestly it’s like the Women’s March. There is no single consolidated argument, just a loose collection of rants that obscure the main point).”
- From a 16-year-old high school girl: “I was planning on not participating in the walkout. I do not see the point in leaving class to simply walk outside, stand and talk with peers for 17 minutes, and return to class. The act of walking out of class to ‘protest school violence’ does not seem to have a target audience, even though they may have a news crew, it is doubtful that the students in Florida will see the actions of our school’s walkout as a stand with solidarity. I also support the 2nd Amendment and see this walkout as another opportunity for students and their parents to attack that amendment and my support of gun control…I do see that my refusal to participate may be seen as unsympathetic or cruel. My brother, who is a freshman, is being pressured in class to participate.”
- From a 17-year-old high school student: “tomorrow my school is having a walkout at 10:00 ‘for the 17 students who were killed in the Parkland, Fl shooting.’ The walkout, however, here at my school, is not really about that. It is being promoted by an anti-gun/leftist political agenda that I just don’t and can’t support, especially using the 17 kids that were MY AGE as a platform. I was wondering what you would say to people who want to call me ‘insensitive’ and ‘a terrible person.’”
- From another 17-year-old high school student: “The reason I am emailing is because my school is having a walkout on March 14th. They say in an email that this walkout is to advocate for gun reform but they also say that we are walking to honor the victims of the parkland massacre. I am in favor of walking to honor the victims, but not in favor of promoting gun reform. I feel like I have to choose between going against my political values or looking like a bad person. I need help. What do I do?”
- From another high schooler: “My high school is participating in the walkout on Wednesday, and I am unsure what to do. I am very against gun control and don’t want to protest congress for something they are doing right, if that makes sense. However, I don’t want to be singled out by students as someone who ‘doesn’t care about the students who died.’ Should I participate and conform to avoid humiliation and honor the students or should I remain in class alone? I don’t know if the walkout is more about gun control or honoring the students.”
I’ve received dozens more emails just like this. Students are rightly concerned that they will be ostracized by their peers and humiliated by school administrators for failing to be used as props in a leftist-organized march.
There’s always something troubling about school walkouts as a strategy for change. Our educational system is awful enough without students spending less time in class, encouraged by their teachers, so that the media can use pictures of children standing up for a gun control agenda. And there’s something even more troubling about the eagerness of the Left to use children as its spokespeople, without any hint that the kids in question have studied the issues enough to actually attain any level of expertise.
Then there are students who want to do something to counter the propaganda, and who will be ignored by the media:
- From a 16-year-old high schooler today: “It is ignoring the fact that most gun violence is against blacks with handguns. Ignoring that fact is by definition racist. A nation-wide walk out for a majority white 1 percent is real white privilege and ignorant of the real problem, most gun violence is against blacks with handguns, not assault weapons, and ignoring that would from its core be racist and ignorant.”
- From a high school senior: “Please let me start by saying that I respect the Left’s position on the walkout tomorrow, but I do not agree with their solution. I have decided to organize my own walk out to push Right wing beliefs on how to stop school violence…Respect other’s opinions and others will respect yours. ‘Here to save lives. Pro-Second amendment.’”
These students will not be featured by the media. I’ve recommended that they walk out alongside their classmates, but carry signs reading, “Protect My Life — Arm Law-Abiding Citizens!” Presumably, they’d be ignored even if they did. But like the Women’s March, this walkout is a form of social pressure designed for a photo-op. And that’s too bad. If its advocates want gun control, they ought to call it a gun control march. To suggest that anyone who doesn’t support gun control doesn’t support children — even pro-Second Amendment children themselves, who choose not to support the agenda — is vile bullying.