Carnes: At which point did we allow ‘activism’ to become a dirty word? (column) |

Carnes: At which point did we allow ‘activism’ to become a dirty word? (column)

Knowledge is generally accumulated in two ways, education and experience. You can have the latter without the former, but the other way around is much more the norm.

This applies even further for those old enough to be murdered but not old enough to vote.

Last week’s national walkout by high school students to protest the government’s lack of ability to do anything — anything at all — about gun violence was met with the type of pathetic and highly inappropriate personal attacks that we normally would only expect from vindictive, insecure, psychotic individuals not really in charge of anything, like, say, our president.

And some of these attacks were from our own Happy Valley neighbors.

Students at Battle Mountain had a lot to say, but none as articulate as sophomore Troy Rindone, who gave a short but powerful speech full of words heard across the nation, yet none more poignant than, “We want to be fighting for ‘A’s’, not for our lives.”

And how did some local adults respond? (These are all from comments made on the Battle Mountain Facebook page.)

The kids were condemned for supporting gun control but not standing up for the kid being bullied in school, for being pawns in a national agenda, for having a feckless teaching staff, for having the nerve to tell adults what to do when they “don’t even know how to make their own lunch.”

They were slammed for being sheltered, knowing nothing of the world and not deserving the right to “spew their defective and exceptionally moronic garbage” because they have never been deployed to a war zone or helped children in a starving country.

And they were verbally thumped for being insulated because they live in the privileged Vail Valley, where apparently none of them have any hardships whatsoever and therefore don’t deserve the right to lecture anyone on anything.

Besides, we should not be “basing public policy on the whims and ideas of little children.”

Yeah, local adults actually wrote this nonsense, and they can breed.

From what I saw, no one shouted for a ban of all firearms.

No one shouted for a repeal of the Second Amendment.

No one shouted for weapons to be confiscated.

No one marched with the demand that their rights be taken away.

They simply want things to change.

The mere mention of “gun laws” or “gun regulations” makes some jump to the immediate conclusion that the evil government is coming to take their guns away, when in actuality it was a bunch of kids using the First Amendment to evidently scare the hell out of a bunch of paranoid Second Amendment-extremist adult ignoramuses (ignorami?).

At which point did we allow “activism” to become a dirty word?

It’s merely advocating for a change of some sort, usually at a grassroots level, and it doesn’t get more grassrootery than teenagers.

They see their own being slaughtered and the grownups doing nothing but fighting over abstract definitions of historical documents.

The very next day, headlines returned to Russia, Russians, porn stars, March Madness and revolving doors in White Houses.

And therein lies the lesson: We, the so-called adults in the room, will continue to hopscotch from issue to issue, never staying on one long enough to make any changes out of fear of being beat to some nonexistent finish line.

Young Rindone, and the thousands across the nation just like him, will need to do it.

No pressure.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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