In Morristown (And Everywhere) the Revolution Within the Revolution

Morristown, where Washington, Hamilton and Lafayette all trod, played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. And so it was perhaps symbolic that passionate students from throughout New Jersey descended upon this historic Morris County town Saturday aiming to start an uprising of their own.

Students, said Randolph High School senior Caitlyn Dempsey, “have become a force to be reckoned with.”

Mia Paone, a sophomore from Chatham High School, said her peers just may be starting another revolution.

Times have changed since the 1770s,

A war of independence fueled by primitive weaponry has been superseded by the goal of stopping the spread of today’s powerful firearms and the damage they wrought.

A little more than a month after 17 students were killed at a high school in Parkland, Fla. demonstrations were held Saturday throughout the nation demanding more gun control.

Morristown police initially estimated the crowd at 6,000, but within a few hours, authorities said there were at least 10,000 people marching through the streets and attending a rally at town hall.

Students were the organizing force.

Bella Bhimani, a lead student organizer and sophomore at Mendham High School. sized up the frustration. When a problem arises,”We are taught that the adults will handle it.” she said.

But there has been no adult handling of gun control. After the Parkland shooting, President Trump boasted that he wasn’t afraid of the NRA. However, when the huffing and puffing died down, the president had backed away from all meaningful gun control measures.

“It’s not easy to live in a society where our leaders turn their backs on the easiest thing they can do to protect children,” Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, a Democrat, told the crowd.

The students and their supporters may differ in their rhetoric, but some of what they want is clear.

They want to raise the minimum age for buying some firearms to 21, better background checks and a nationwide ban on semi-automatic weapons, or so-called assault rifles.

New Jersey has such a ban but advocates want to extend it nationwide.

Dozen of signs being waved in the air conveyed the message. They said such things as, “Protect me, not guns.” “Ugh, where do I begin” and “Ban assault weapons.”

Immediately after Parkland, there was some anticipation, or perhaps it was merely a hope, that “this time would be different.” Unlike such school tragedies as Columbine and Sandy Hook, Parkland would be the event that finally forces action on gun control.

Or so it was thought.

So far that has not happened in Congress

But there are things happening in the streets, as Saturday’s marches demonstrate. Rather than actually lead, it is human nature for many politicians to go along with a growing movement when they see one.

Democrats, who traditionally have favored strong gun control laws, are doing that now. Judging from the size of the crowds we are seeing, this truly is something for Republicans to worry about as the midterm elections near.

Mikie Sherrill, who is the perceived leading candidate for the 11th District congressional nomination, looked over the crowd from the steps of town hall and noted how meaningful it is for young people to be energized. She said the phenomena is similar to how marches the past two Januaries have energized many women.

Sherrill was accompanied by a national figure, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the second-

ranking Democrat in the House. Hoyer attended a Bergen County event for Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th, earlier in the day before making it to Morristown.

“These kids are so articulate, so powerful,” Hoyer said. “This is such an important statement by young people.”

Sherrill speculated that there might even be a few Republicans among the masses congregating on Morristown streets. Maybe a few. However, there were no visible elected Republican officials.

There was a certain – and understandable – unanimity among students as to why they were marching. If people of a certain age recall air raid drills in school, these students said they’re familiar with mass shooter drills.

In the wake of Parkland, Dover High School junior Danilo Lopez said, “It relates to me and a lot of people like me.” Rather than worry about mass shooters, Lopez said he’d rather worry about taking a math test.”

Fern Wolkin, a co-leader in the group, Moms Demand Action, said before the march, “These children are the voters of tomorrow. If the politicians don’t listen, they will vote them out.”

In fact, she warned, some students will be old enough to vote this November.

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One response to “In Morristown (And Everywhere) the Revolution Within the Revolution”

  1. Good observation: “But there are things happening in the streets, as Saturday’s marches
    demonstrate. Rather than actually lead, it is human nature for many
    politicians to go along with a growing movement when they see one,”

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