Politicians, ignore these children at your peril

Students chant protest slogans outside the Florida House of Representatives chamber inside the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. on Wednesday.
Students chant protest slogans outside the Florida House of Representatives chamber inside the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. on Wednesday. AP File

Our children are sending a clear message: Do something.

Put party politics aside. Listen. And come up with a plan to end school shootings.

Lead or step aside and let someone else lead the discussion. The discussion that is long overdue.

We failed our children after Columbine. And again after Sandy Hook.

The aftermath of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School has been different. The nation’s young people have found their voice. In their mourning, they have found inspiration. They have learned the best way to honor the friends who were gunned down is to do everything in their power to prevent it from happening again.

They are not making any unreasonable demands. They are not talking about banning all guns. They are talking about limiting access to certain high-powered guns and high-capacity magazines. Killing machines.

America should listen.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students arrive at Leon High School in Tallahassee Tuesday night, Feb. 20, 2018 to huge crowds of students welcoming them. Students are preparing to flood the Capitol pushing to ban the assault-style rifle used

They are a generation accustomed to active shooter drills. To lockdowns. And all the whys. Why did they survive when their friends died? Why can’t the adults keep their schools safe? Why won’t they put partisan bickering aside and listen to their children as least much as they listen to the gun lobby?

These are our children. They deserve better.

If any good comes of these horrendous acts, it will because of this generation of children who came together and saw that together they could make a positive change.

They should be our inspiration. They should not be the subject of adult disdain and wild conspiracy theories.

Their parents should be thanked for standing with their children and giving them the courage to look their leaders in the eye and unflinchingly tell the truth.

At a town hall held by CNN in Sunrise, Florida, on Wednesday night, thousands of angry students, teachers and parents booed Republican Sen. Marco Rubio when he indicated that he would not support an assault-weapons ban

Our elected leaders should have such courage. So far, they have shown all the resolve of a flag in stiff breeze. If they don’t get this job done, and can’t stand up to the NRA, then the solid majority of Americans who favor action should vote them out.

There is another discussion the adults need to have, a discussion with their children. Too many children on the Coast and across Mississippi are posting threats to schools via social media. Every parent should calmly remind their children of the harsh consequences of such ill-advised behavior.

These threats cannot be brushed away as if they are pranks. There is no joke there. There is nothing funny about it.

There is, however, a danger that if those threats proliferate, they may no longer be taken seriously.

We cannot let that happen.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.