Thousands and thousands of high school students in our country did something amazing a few days ago. On March 14, exactly four weeks after the tragic killings of 17 people, 14 of them high school students, at the Stoneham-Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, there were pro-life marches and rallies across this nation. There was a large demonstration in Washington, D. C. There were similar marches, rallies, and demonstrations in cities large and small across the country. They were uniformly peaceful.
Some high school administrations understood this concern and allowed students to walk out of their classes for about 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed on February 14 at the Stoneham-Douglas High School. Some high school administrations did not cooperate and threatened students with detention if they walked out for that purpose and that time. Many students in those schools walked out anyway. I hope those schools have large detention halls.
These marches and demonstrations were peaceful and stood in the long American tradition of peaceful public protests for justice and human rights. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects such activities:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
These assemblies were truly pro-life. Thousands and thousands of students stood for the protection of human life, especially young human life. Many of them called on the government to pass laws for reasonable and sensible control of guns in private hands, and to make our schools safer, something the majority of Americans support, but which our congress seems unwilling to do.
I consider myself pro-life and that includes life after birth, not just before. When there was the annual pro-life rally in Washington D. C. in January 2018, the president (remotely) and vice-president (in person, I believe) spoke to the public protestors. Our highest elected officials commended the peaceful public protestors for their pro-life concerns. If pro-life concern ends with birth, it is empty and hypocritical. If pro-life concern isn’t troubled about the alarming death rate of American citizens by guns every day, including but limited to our schools, then it has a huge blind spot.
But on March 14, with thousands of young people gathered near the White House and then the Capitol, the president and vice-president were silent. I wonder why.