On March 24th, hundreds of thousands gathered in cities spanning the United States and countries around the world to partake in the March For Our Lives. The purpose of the event was to promulgate the desires for gun control by survivors of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and Americans in general. As the gathering was set to take place just half of a mile from my home, I voyaged with a friend to the city park, where over 5,000 had gathered. They planned for an hour of speeches to be followed by a march.
Upon departure from my apartment, I squinted to see four figures standing adjacent to the sidewalk a few hundred feet from the building. I walked towards them, anticipating a group of teenagers or young adults conversing regarding recent events. Bearing shirts with the March For Our Lives logo, I was quite surprised to find that four much older women (between 65 and 70 years of age) were chatting about what was to unfold in less than an hour and orchestrating the protest. It struck me as odd that what was supposed to be an event spearheaded by teenagers was being overseen by those in a significantly older demographic.
When we arrived at the demonstration, the fury in the air seemed palpable. Despite reassurances from the leaders of March For Our Lives that the platform does not call for a cessation of firearm purchases, or the confiscation of those that are possessed by law abiding civilians, quite different beliefs were on display throughout the sea of signs and shirts that called for bans on guns. “Repeal The Second Amendment” was prevalent throughout conversations of attendees that I overheard, and it seemed as though the youth were more likely to support such a notion. What seemed equally disturbing was this: not merely the copious number of high school students, but those as young as 4 or 5 holding signs displaying advocacy for gun control. A mother had attached a sign to her baby’s back that read, “The NRA Is What’s In My Diaper.”
This was the most repugnant part of the event, my peer later said. Polluting the minds of toddlers with slogans and chants such as, “Hey, hey, NRA how many kids have you killed today?” when it is likely that the children don’t know “NRA” stands for National Rifle Association. What it revealed was a greater truth in current American discourse; morality comes second to the advance of a political agenda.
The speeches began with fiery rhetoric, vociferously denouncing the NRA. Blame was allocated to the organization comprised of 5 million law abiding gun owners and politicians who were deemed as complicit. Notably, there was not a single mention of Sheriff Scott Israel, or the Broward County Police Department’s failures. Despite the event’s supposedly “bipartisan“ purpose, Republicans were exclusively targeted throughout the monologues.
Many of the speakers blasted the Second Amendment as antiquated, laying claim to the idea that only muskets were truly protected under this addition to the Constitution. My friend turned to me and remarked, “Didn’t they type these speeches on their phones? By the logic they’re using, what they’re doing is unconstitutional.The only thing they could use in 1800 to jot notes was a quill.” Chuckling, I focused my attention to the speaker once more.
“Do not engage with the dissenters and protesters here,” a woman announced from the stage. “They are only in this for attention. Don’t give them what they crave.” As someone who wanted to have a genuine conversation with people in attendance, including my schoolmates and even teachers who I saw were in attendance. I found the promulgating of such a policy to be quite depressing. If the intent of such a gathering was to “start the conversation on guns,” why do precisely the opposite?
Upon the start of the march, there was an array of distasteful chants and signs. A handful of the latter evoked laughter from me and my peer, as SpongeBob memes and other popular Twitter trends were in abundance throughout the sea of handheld posters. Chants would occasionally arise such as, “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go,” and “This is what democracy looks like.” A boy who looked as young as 6 or 7 led a handful of these; my friend commented that imposing a specific worldview on a child so young for personal gratification was “not right.”
Roads were shut down, and much of the city remained off-limits until the late afternoon. The attendants dispersed after making a full rotation around downtown.
Ultimately, what my classmate and I took away from it was that the March For Our Lives was an event for youth and adults alike to express antipathy towards those who support the Second Amendment, and paint those who hold disagreements on gun policy as either ignorant or ill-intentioned. The desired legislative reforms put forward by the Parkland survivors who thought up the event were moderate and reasonable when juxtaposed with the general sentiment present at the demonstration on March 24th.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.