A Composer's Adventures

Save Our Children

Students stage a "lie-in" outside the White House. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Students stage a “lie-in” outside the White House. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Craig Kielburger was only 12 when he started an organization to end child labor worldwide. Now 35, the Canadian activist speaks around the world about unfair labor laws. He has collected thousands of signatures to petition the prime minister of India and raised millions of dollars through the international organization Free the Children that he formed with his brother, Marc Kielburger. “The most important thing I’ve learned is that kids can make a difference,” he tells high schoolers.

More than ever, America needs teenage heroes like Kielburger to take the lead, with a focus on the urgent need to save children from being machine-gunned in their own schools.  US lawmakers have continually refused to ban ‘assault-style’ rifles like the AR-15 used to murder 17 students last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. We still hear that new gun control laws would violate the Second Amendment’s guarantee to “keep and bear arms” — arms that are far more dangerous than any the Founding Fathers could have imagined. This stalemate makes lawmakers and the NRA complicit in the deaths of our children.

Student organizers have already planned at least two nationwide school walkouts to protest political inaction on guns, but if I were a teenager today, I would lead my fellow students directly into Congress and yell: “Ban the AR-15! Demand background checks! You work for us, not for the NRA. We are tomorrow’s voters.”

Organized protests are growing, and not just by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. They demand an end to mass murder and the unchecked spread of weapons.   A student group started a “Never Again” campaign on Facebook to share stories and perspectives from those who survived this rampage. “Ideas are great and they help you get re-elected and everything,” said 17-year-old David Hogg to politicians in the Washington Post. “But what’s more important is concrete action … that results in saving thousands of children’s lives. Please, take action.”

I see a wave of gun control demands fueled by teenage energy moving across the country. Even Donald Trump is taking notice of it, maybe because a group of high school students lay flat on their backs in protest outside the White House, while their friends held up signs like “91 gun deaths a day.” It is time for a new day.

Michael Colgrass

One Comment

  1. Let’s hope that these amazing kids can be heard by the deaf ears in Washington. We are not so safe here in Canada. These shootings can foster copycat episodes. To be shocked is natural – to take action like these kids is divine.

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