February 19, 2018

Why March for Our Lives could be very important

Sam Smith- Change can’t always be predicted. In February 1960, four black students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College sat down at a white-only Woolworths lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. Within two weeks, there were sit-ins in fifteen cities in five southern states and within two months they had spread to fifty four cities in nine states

Are we experiencing something like that now? Are the post Millennial students of March for Our Lives the Greensboro the long awaited changers of our time? Stay tuned.

Philip Bump, Washington Post- This is the first premeditated mass shooting at this scale that involved people who both grew up entirely in a world in which mass shootings were common and which targeted people old enough to have a voice. They are at an age at which political awareness blooms

Not only are they old enough to be heard, those in their late teens are also at an age when politics surges in importance.

Voter turnout increases as people get older, a function of greater personal stability (moving less often), and that voting tends to be habitual. But there’s evidence that those who are newly able to vote do so much more heavily than people even slightly older, in part a function of the novelty of being able to do so.

More broadly, the events experienced when you’re 18 are three times as powerful as events experienced at age 40 in terms of forming political views, according to analysis conducted by Catalist in 2014. The ages from 14 to 24 were found to be the most formative years.

Young people are also more likely to be politically liberal, although they’re only slightly more likely to be supportive of gun-control measures. They’re not cynical

At ProPublica, Alec MacGillis writes that pessimism among liberals after years of seeing no significant changes to the nation’s gun laws can be self-fulfilling.

“This world-weary defeatism is self-fulfilling in its own way,” he writes, “and helps explain why Washington hasn’t taken action to address the killing.” Those pushing for change are dismissed as quixotic, he argues, and those who oppose new laws aren’t forced to defend their positions.

The teens in Parkland haven’t been part of the political discussion and don’t show that same defeatism.

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