Students face steep hill on their upcoming march

I am delighted in the extreme to hear about plans for Texas Panhandle students to take part in a national “March For Our Lives” event.

As I understand it, Caprock High School students are leading the organizational effort. They hope to be joined by students from throughout the Panhandle on March 24. They’ll gather at Ellwood Park and will march to the Potter County Courthouse.

They’ll stand on the courthouse grounds and read names of shooting victims and will demand action from our political leaders to do something about the scourge of school-related gun violence.

They have been spurred to hit the streets by the Valentine’s Day massacre of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The slaughter has produced some student superstars who have emerged as spokespeople for this young people’s crusade against gun violence.

However …

Let’s not sugarcoat the difficulty facing the Panhandle marching delegation. They won’t exactly be preaching to a choir with a history or tradition of heeding calls to enact legislative remedies to curbing gun violence.

Amarillo is represented in the U.S. House by Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, who has been virtually mute on the issue of gun violence. He doesn’t speak with any passion about how Congress can act. Thornberry recently spoke about considering what he called “common sense” measures … whatever the hell that means.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the state’s senior senator, is pitching legislation that would streamline data collection about military personnel; Cornyn’s bill stems from the Sutherland Springs church massacre in 2017. He has lined up behind stricter background checks. His Senate colleague, Ted Cruz, hasn’t signed on.

The March For Our Lives is intended to let lawmakers know that young Americans who aren’t yet of age to vote will become of age soon. These students say they intend to exercise their vote to support candidates who want to become more proactive on this gun violence crisis.

The majority of the Texas congressional delegation so far isn’t lining up as a receptive audience for the concerns that these students are conveying. I am certain that students who march in two weeks in communities represented by more sympathetic politicians will have a direct impact.

As for what the students here get … they have a steep hill to climb. They need to shout it loudly and clearly what they intend to do once they arrive at the Potter County Courthouse grounds.

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