Column: Pretty soon now, the kids are gonna get older
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through
— David Bowie, Changes
The great Bowie wrote the song in 1971 as a symbol for kids then and how they were the future. It made sense since it came at a time when there was growth in how teens viewed politics, race, Vietnam, etc.
The lyrics surfaced again with the counterculture movie – “The Breakfast Club,” when teens of different home-life backgrounds came together to find they aren’t that much different after all.
The song works on many levels.
And here we are in another frame of life with gun violence as the subject.
Wednesday’s walkout around the nation didn’t escape Aiken County as many of the schools participated. At Aiken High, the planned morning demonstration went on as scheduled at 7:30 a.m.
Then something else happened. As schools across the nation walked out for 17 minutes to represent the 17 students murdered one month ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida, so did Aiken High.
The 10 a.m. walkout started as an impromptu, unscheduled plan on Wednesday morning.
“I first found out about it this morning when I walked in from the early demonstration,” said Richard Dorman Jr., a senior at Aiken High. “Word got out on social media. There was well over 100 people.”
That is their right and they should be applauded, all kids who participated should be applauded.
They stood for what THEY believe in.
The Aiken Standard’s Facebook page drew comments this week on how kids should be commended and others said how they should stay in class and be quiet and not participate.
Well, maybe, for the ones who stayed in class, there is an underlying statement they made, too.
The walkout called for an end to gun violence, and students said they want changes.
Many stayed in class as a statement they do not agree with those who walked out.
There were some who did leave class and counter protesting during the 10 a.m. walk out.
“Which is all right, it’s good,” Dorman said. “They fought for their right. They have concerns, as well.”
And that’s what THEY believe in.
It is a division, yes. But the adults, the ones in government especially, are also divided on the issue.
Why should the kids be any different?
This division among the country started with all the shootings in public places – theaters, churches, nightclubs, concerts, airports and, of course, schools.
And now the final straw is what Nicholas Cruz did last month.
The shootings have changed kids. Jahleel Johnson, a junior at Aiken High, who claims he’s “working his butt off” to go to Harvard, admitted he’s very pro Second Amendment – the right to bear arms.
“We need stricter laws, and at first I thought that’s not good,” Johnson said. “I don’t think we need our guns taken away. But you look at the statistics, the deaths we have are mainly being caused by guns; and it’s not just one person getting shot. With assault weapons you can kill multiple people like Vegas, the Pulse nightclub shooting and Parkland.”
C’mon, the worst thing we had to worry about when we went to school was if our homework was done right and maybe the “dog ate it” was a good excuse. Or what actually was contained within that “taco shell” at the school cafeteria. Or how in the heck you figure out an algebra equation.
While reporters with the Aiken Standard were waiting to talk to the students about the walkout Wednesday afternoon in the school’s front office, there was even an ask for the upcoming Aiken High prom on April 28.
That’s the way it should be.
“Not trying to bash on our older generation, but the older generation hasn’t done much,” said Catherine Orlowski, an Aiken High senior. “We’re still having these problems, Pulse, 49 people died; and Las Vegas was 58, including the shooter; 59 then 17 at Parkland. For the next generation coming up, we’re going to be entering the real world. Our voices need to be heard, and I honestly believe our generation is the next generation that is going to change everything.”
We are hearing from the kids and they want to take action. Don’t squelch what they have to say.
“We have millions of young people across the United States putting their foot down saying, ‘Enough,’” Dorman said. “And these young people are going to register to vote. These are concerned people, they are engaged in what’s going on. They will be the next generation of voters.”
On Wednesday they truly were immune to consultations.
And they definitely are quite aware of what they are going through.