With the Korean Olympics ending on a triumphant note, not only in style and fantastic beauty, but with rumors floating about that something positive just  might be going on between the two Koreas and Trump, the question of the day quickly became, “Will they or won’t they make nice?”  Reporters and military in all three countries were seeking these answers.  Rumors dominated both continents when Trump appeared agreeable with a face to face meeting.  All three leaders reiterated a willingness to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula! Skeptics remain among republicans and democrats, wondering if this is a smart move.  Trump, looking quite satisfied, says, “Time will tell.”

But the Parkland survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting Feb 14 in Florida, continue challenging politicians, pundits and the NRA. These remarkable teenagers have amassed a Twitter following of more than 150,000 students.  They decided it was time to go after Florida’s U.S. senators for taking donations from the National Rifle Association.  One student commented  “We should change the names of AR-15s to ‘Marco Rubio’ because they are so easy to buy”.  With l7 of their classmates and faculty shot to death, they have become celebrity activists embraced by many as the new leaders of the nation’s gun control movement.  These students speak in the language of their generation.  In past mass shootings, it was common for family members of victims to be the outspoken gun control advocates.  But in Parkland, “It’s as if all of the students and faculty agreed immediately to focus on stronger gun laws.

Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart took steps to restrict gun sales; Dick’s adding it would stop selling assault style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21.  Delta and United Airlines cut NRA ties in reaction to the latest shootings.  Some car rental companies and big banks are not renewing co-branded credit cards with the NRA.  As more students in more states are making their views known that schools should not be places in which they should fear for their lives, they make the point that their generation is unique in having experienced “a lockdown” culture throughout their entire school years. 

In my years as a student in small town Iowa, then later as a principal in a big city school, I recall no comparable experiences except for the ‘duck and cover’ drills of the Cold War era which my daughter experienced in first grade during the showdown between our President Kennedy and Russia’s leader over placing bombs in Cuba threatening our security.  Many of today’s threats directly target schools.  Talk of arming teachers creates more controversy across our country.  It is much too soon to tell how these issues will be resolved.

About 3.9 million Americans will be turning 18 this year.  The Parkland survivors have made this news that won’t go away.  They and their followers are the future of America and they  plan to vote!

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