EDITORIAL: Stay angry, kids, and fight for saner gun laws

High school students demonstrate against gun violence in Frederick County, Va., on Wednesday. (Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star via AP)

They will trash you, kids, but don’t back down.

They will patronize you. They will say, yes, good lord, something must be done, but they will do nothing.

EDITORIAL

They will use you. They will stand beside you and cry fake tears for the cameras. When the lights go off, they will walk away.

They will savage your character. They will attack your parents. They will call you a pawn and a puppet, a Democratic stooge and an FBI plant.

Welcome to the world of adulthood, kids, where all that stuff they taught you in school and at home — respect facts, argue honestly, don’t lie, love thy neighbor — is about to go out the window.

But don’t back down.

You were there in Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, when a young man walked in with a semi-automatic rifle and blew holes through the heads and hearts of your classmates. You know what you’re fighting for.

You will never forget the bodies and the terror.

Here’s how it works, kids. Thousands of you — thousands of students from dozens of high schools — turned out for a rally on Wednesday outside the Florida Capitol to demand saner gun laws. Some of you even met with your state’s attorney general, Senate president and House speaker.

They talked a good game, right? They were so very concerned.

But what did the Florida Legislature do just the day before? It refused even to discuss a proposal to ban the sale of assault weapons. How hard should that be — to ban a gun designed for nothing but wholesale human slaughter?

And what will the Legislature do now? At best — and honestly, kids, don’t hold your breath — it will set an age limit on who can buy the kind of gun the killer used, an AR-15, and impose a waiting period on sales. Which will accomplish next to nothing.

Here’s a prediction: Once the anger subsides and the heat is off, the Florida Legislature won’t even do that. They are playing you, kids. They are waiting you out.

Stay angry.

Some of you and your parents also met with President Trump on Wednesday. He talked a good game, too, but not really. We bet your little brother or sister in middle school could see right through it — catch the utter lack of conviction — when the president talked about doing “something.”

Trump called the meeting a ‘listening session,” which sounded good, but take it from us, kids. A “listening session” is what politicians do when they want to do nothing. It’s a way to tread water until things blow over and they can go back to playing golf.

The smear campaign against you has already begun. It is despicable, but stay strong. Be the young men and women of character that your opponents are not.

A conspiracy theory online says some of you don’t even exist. You are not really high school students, the nutters say, but “crisis actors” who travel from mass shooting to mass shooting, stirring things up.

As if an entire school would fail to notice the fraud. As if the killing of 17 people couldn’t stir things up enough.

Another crackpot theory says that one of your more outspoken leaders, 17-year-old David Hogg, is an FBI plant. The thinking is that Hogg is calling out the Trump administration for its lack of action on gun control because his father is a retired FBI agent and Trump hates the FBI.

Got that?

Hogg was in his environmental science class when the killing started. He ran for his life. He had friends who did not make it. His fury now is entirely understandable and entirely his own.

But vile people, including Donald Trump Jr., are peddling the theory that Hogg’s old man put him up to it. Trump Jr. liked a pair of tweets that said just that.

The trashing goes on.

Rush Limbaugh says the media is using you to destroy the Trump administration. Another radio goof says the whole massacre was staged as part of a plot to confiscate every American’s guns.

An online theory getting traction says you are the hand-picked puppets of left-wing billionaire George Soros and the Democratic Party, who are feeding you every word you speak.

As if you have no minds and no fury of your own.

Stick with this one, kids. The world of your fathers and mothers has failed you.

In every high school in every town, stay angry and fight the fight.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com.

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