Take time to listen

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Protests took place nationwide yesterday. Students across America walked out of their classrooms Wednesday morning to show solidarity and memorialize the 17 victims of the school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida.

The local participation was minimal. Southside High School reported having some students that went to the school gym during the scheduled time, which was during a flex period, to discuss school safety with teachers and members of the administration.

Almost everything surrounding this topic for the last month has been contentious. The left is arguing for stricter gun control. The right is continuing to embrace Second Amendment rights and even advocating for teachers to be armed.

It’s an issue that encompasses so much more than gun control. Mental health needs to be addressed. Local and federal law enforcement failed in many aspects of their jobs, which also needs to be discussed.

The answer isn’t going to be found among left-leaning or right-leaning opinions. It’s going to come from somewhere in between. Each side has propositions that make sense. Would stricter background checks help keeps guns out of the hands of lunatics? Maybe. Would tighter security at schools help prevent events like this? Maybe.

But to get to the point where solutions can be proposed, there first needs to be conversation. Children’s safety is not a partisan issue. Each side needs to listen to the other, which is no easy task these days. Divisive party politics combined with the culture surrounding the internet and social media lend themselves to people shutting out differing opinions.

In the end, that’s all these kinds of demonstrations are trying to accomplish. It’s a way to peacefully bring attention to an issue and get people talking. However, that talking goes nowhere without others taking the time to listen.

Otherwise, it’s only more noise.