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Student protests are valid

By Trevor Wilson

Staff Writer

The March for Our Lives recently happened; and, if you have been living under a rock, let me fill you in on what the March for Our Lives movement is. March for Our Lives is a student protest against gun control.

This all started after a school shooting, as students should react in some way to such violence. The students who survived set up a march, and several of the survivors became leading figures in the protest.

March for Our Lives is a school walkout where people abandon school and walk in protest. Now, this is different from other protests because students are the main protesters, so, for some critics, that calls into question the validity of the march.

This is a large talking point about March for Our Lives: Does the fact that these people talking about gun control are children make the march invalid?

On one side, these children have lots of experience with this topic because it actually affects them, so they should be talking about it. On the other hand, they are children, so they could be considered be less mature, experienced, etc.

First, the arguments against these children being activists: The possible reasons that critics give for teenagers not to protest revolve around maturity.

One reason is that since teenagers have not been around as long, so they would not be as knowledgeable and might not be as effective at protesting.

Second, teenagers are just less mature than adults. The fact that teenagers are less mature might make them less effective at protesting.

The fact that teenagers are less mature might muddle the message. Their immaturity might lead people who oppose them to wrongly present their message.

Third, many believe teenagers cannot research the problem they are protesting against. For example, they might not research the specific modifications needed to make a gun fully automatic and the implications of stopping the circulation of certain models of guns.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the arguments for why children should be allowed to protest. This is important because not allowing people to address problems that affect them would let those problems continue.

First, preventing young people from protesting is not in the law. The right to protest still applies to people under 18 because of the First Amendment. 

What if the students do know what they are talking about? Teenagers are less likely to truly research their topic; but, if they do know about their topic then they should be able to protest.

The fact that people do not research their topics thoroughly is applicable to adults too. Adults are able to go into a situation with knowledge or blind, and so are teenagers.

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Teenagers do not have the same experience as adults, but teenagers do have access to adults. For example, one of the leaders had help editing her speech.

So teenagers are less likely to be prepared to defend a serious topic, but they are able to. Like the people who survived the school shooting that started March for Our Lives – they have first-hand experience of their topic, so they are extremely motivated to learn about gun control and to prepare themselves to defend gun regulations.

So what does this mean for age constrictions? Should they be raised? Well, it depends.

Lowering the voting age might be a viable option, because 18 does not necessarily mark maturity related to how people approach or research political problems. 

However, changing other age-specific regulations would not be a viable option. For example, driving or drinking.

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The age at which someone is allowed to drive is based on how much experience you have with driving and that limit should not be changed.

And the age at which people are legally allowed to drink should not be raised because of many of the same reasons. Namely, at young ages, your body is not ready for alcohol.

Yes, the students can defend a point and protest. They can research a topic and be mature enough to defend their arguments.

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