Hoping this march leaves big footprint

One might be able to expect a big turnout for what’s coming at the end of the week in places such as Berkeley, Boston and Austin.

My strong and sincere hope is that the event that will unfold at Ellwood Park in Amarillo, Texas, will rival what can be expected in those more progressive-minded communities.

Students from throughout the Texas Panhandle are going to “March For Our Lives.” They’ll parade through downtown Amarillo and conclude at the Potter County Courthouse. There, they will read the names of the 17 students and staff members who were gunned down on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Fla. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has become the latest “name” of tragedy related to gun violence.

Columbine, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Orlando. And now it’s Parkland. They’re all scarred indelibly — along with too many other sites — by the horror of gun violence.

The students want their collective voice to be heard. They want politicians to listen to them, just as politicians from an earlier era listened to young people who marched against the Vietnam War.

Those earlier young people who now are grandparents of today’s youngsters had “skin in that game.” Many of them did not want to serve in a war with which they disagreed. They marched, chanted and occasionally battled with law enforcement.

Today’s young people believe — correctly, in my view — that they are in the line of fire of another battle. It’s being fought here at home. The gun lobby has lined up one side; these students and many millions of members of the American public are lined up on the other side.

The students want change in the laws that govern the sale and purchase of firearms. They want stricter controls on those who can obtain those weapons. The gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association, traditionally has opposed those tighter rules and regs, contending that they threaten the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Will the students here in the Texas Panhandle, a place known as being extremely friendly to the gun lobby, be able to have their voices heard as clearly as they’ll be heard next Saturday in other communities? Time will tell us plenty.

Our nation’s young people are frightened. To their credit, though, they aren’t cowering. They are taking their message into city streets and rural roads from coast to coast.

They want to be heard.

Let them be heard while they “March For Our Lives.”

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