Students Protest Violence and Guns

Don’t imagine in any way that this is a disrespect of our young people. Their emotions have every right to be respected. Their intellect has every right to be respected. Their concerns have every right to be respected. And yes, there is a “but” coming.

America has placed a chronological age on what might be considered progressive adulthood. At age 18 you are now capable of making your decisions irrespective of your mother and father or guardian, but with some restrictions. You cannot purchase and/or drink alcohol. The first time I could vote in any political election I had to be 21, now it’s been lowered to 18. But at what age does maturity begin? By maturity in this instance I mean the ability to rationally think through issues and find reasonable answers, the ability to not be limited in your search for knowledge and understanding, to understand the multifaceted points of any issue so you can see and understand all points of view. It means leaving behind childish ways and behavior. Personally, it wasn’t until after I was 21 that I became mature. The best driver for maturity is experience, but even this must come with the ability to rationally understand what you are experiencing in a broader scale than the experience itself.

Maturity does not come as a finished attribute, maturity is constantly growing. There are some young people we say, “They are really mature for their age.” Quite honestly, these people are the exception and not the rule. Most young people cannot reach this kind of maturity even at age 18, and some might at age 21, but that depends. This is not to say that before age 18 you cannot have real concerns about your life and what is going on around you. You rightfully will. But at the same time this is not to say that you have the maturity to fully understand all the implications of those concerns to reach workable answers.

As adults we know what we were like, and our friends were like during those teenage years. As parents we see it in our children. And I find sometimes a lack of maturity in we adults, myself included, that it’s almost disingenuous to question the maturity of our young when we adults so often lack expressing it.

I intend to respect the concerns and emotions of those especially caught up in the tragedy of one youngster brutally murdering other youngsters at their school and especially of those who had to walk over or around those dead bodies of their classmates. They certainly have earned the right to be concerned and to speak out. I respect the right of others in other schools who feel concerned about their safety at their respective schools.

But let’s also be real at the same time. I as a youngster, we all as youngsters have lived in a bubble with much of life outside our bubble. We know things in a limited way. We see the news on television, we have friends who talk about sensational news stories, we understand in a cursory way the vicissitudes of life going on in our nation, in the world, but it’s always in cursory ways like looking at one point on a star when there are four others that make it a star. Look, we just don’t have enough experience and broad experience at that time in our life to imagine that our answers are the best answers, the only answers. And yes, this is the sad point of many of we adults who also don’t have enough broad experience to think we have answers. But that doesn’t stop us from making our point as the only real point when it isn’t.

This all comes up because after the Florida school massacre high school students are walking out of school and in protest to the school murders want to make only one issue the answer to their concerns; gun control. I understand their emotions and I support their wanting to express them even when I believe they don’t really know all the points of this issue that makes it more than a single answer. But I’m not going to give in to further gun control because they earned the right to emote when I know they are missing the broader points of why what happened did.

And what they don’t understand is how they are being used by the liberal progressive movement that wants to ban guns which is using them as poster children for their ideology. Their natural lack of full maturity betrays them into believing the simple answer is the only answer when it isn’t and  contributes to finding no real answers to our violent ways. It’s not your fault that ideologues are using you, but you do make it easy. It’s really on us, the adults who are not mature enough to see the other four points on a star who focus exclusively on just one.

So you will understand, youngsters, that while I respect you and your concerns and your emotions, and I will listen to you, you’re not going to trap me with your single, simple, non-answers. I’m going to ask you to find the maturity I spoke of in the beginning, then you and I can dialogue on the whole baskets of causes.