During the 1960’s and 1970’s, students were the key to stopping the Viet Nam War. Young males were being drafted to go and fight in a war that had nothing to do with the safety and security of our nation. Defense contractors were making millions off the war and they were a powerful lobby in our capital that supported keeping the war going. There was a struggle in Washington D.C., but not much headway was being made to stop the war. Then came Kent State…
Four students were shot by the National Guard and died at Kent State while protesting the war. That tragedy rocked our nation and became the turning point in public opinion against the war. It took the deaths of only four students in order to rally the needed support to build a large coalition of people. Students, veterans, adults from every walk of life, and politicians began to work to stop our involvement in the war. Eventually the war ended, and a look back shows that it was the student protests that had the biggest influence on how society viewed the war in Viet Nam.
Here we are several decades later with another national tragedy on our hands. Last week 17 students were killed in the Florida shooting. This, of course, was not the first school shooting, they have been going on for over two decades. Every time it happens, there is a national outcry and outpouring of grief, but the noise subsides and people go about their business as usual.
This time it is different. Students have begun to rally and protest in order to keep their schools safe. They have a right to safe schools and they have the power to begin a movement to put pressure on the government to make our schools safe. Again, at its very core, the issue is about money. Money is usually at the bottom of most of these issues, and those that have the most to gain will be protesting the loudest against changing the laws.
It took the deaths of four students to shock the populace of the United States and force them to take a serious look at the issues involving the Viet Nam War. A lot more than four students have been killed in our schools and we, as the populace, should be shocked and outraged that this kind of carnage continues to happen in America.
I stand with the Florida students in the their protests and hope that in every state students will rise up and demand that they be kept safe at their schools. They, and only they have the power to change the opinions of the public, and their voices should be heard. After all, they are the ones dying, and their only crime is that of attending a public school.