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Letter: Young people may serve as catalysts to end the epidemic of violence in US
Student survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School bow their heads as the names of the victims are read, at a rally for gun control reform on the steps of the state capitol, in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The resolution to one of our most devastating national crises may lie in the very institutions bearing the brunt of the attack. Students of our public schools today are the future national leaders of tomorrow.

The public school students of Parkland, Fla.’s, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School may well be the example that leads a student movement to accomplish what a group of voters and politicians have been unwilling to attack because the National Rifle Association has poured money into their political campaigns. They may not have to wait the few years until they can vote.

I have been impressed with the skill and determination that these young people exhibit. I expect they will persevere. First, they are capable of marching in unison on governmental capitals demanding immediate sensible gun control legislation and enforcement.

Second, they have in their hands, every day, the tools that they know how to use: smartphones, tablets, notebooks and computers give them new tools to make known their feelings about legislators’ failures to take any action on a crucial nationwide issue of public school shootings.

Third, I firmly believe these students will use Facebook, Twitter, emails and organized marches to accomplish a task that Washington, D.C., has been unable or unwilling to address.

Fourth, I believe high school and junior high students, including those in Georgia, are intelligent and astute enough to discover how much money the NRA contributed to our senators and representatives to assure Congress does not pass significant gun-control legislation. That includes banning attack weapons such the AK-47 and AR-15. A vast majority of U.S. citizens, 65-80 percent, are in favor of returning to an earlier time when assault weapons had been banned. Therefore with the general public’s support, students will demand we do so.

Betsy DeVos’ suggestion to arm teachers and train them to defend their students, closely akin to one promulgated by Newt Gingrich, is an idea that has no intelligent thought behind it. More capable minds must step forward and lead.

I further believe that these brave young leaders will “tweet, sing and march” until others act or they will soon be successful new political candidates who will refuse to allow money to be the voice of our great democracy.

Paul C. Smith


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